Oh London, I love you!
I spent Summer of 2014 in Oxford, England studying abroad. While studying abroad, we spent as much time as we could in London. Needless to say, I love this city and it brings back so many memories of that summer.
After landing in the UK at 10am, we hit the ground running for a full day of site-seeing. Our first stop? Nando's for lunch, of course. I don't understand why we love it so much, but Nando's was a go-to during the summer I spent in England. Afterwards, we hit the tube and headed straight to Westminster Abbey. It was so cool to tour where William and Kate got married. Westminster Abbey is also home of The Coronation Chair, the chair that royalty has used for coronation ceremonies for over 700 years! No photos are allowed inside, and when visiting historic sites, especially churches, I am a rule follower. If you ever visit Westminster, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online before. It not only saves you a couple of pounds, but also spares you from the misery of a long queue.
I couldn't wait to take in the beauty of Parliament and Big Ben and all it's glory. Instead, this is what we saw...
Big Ben being under major renovation was such a bummer, but we carried on. I told Andrew that it being under construction just meant that we have to go back!
We finished out our day walking around St. James Park, visiting Buckingham Palace, and topped it off with delicious Thai food from Churchill Arms. (Pro Tip: If you sign up for their site prior to visiting, you get a free drink coupon!)
After being awake for over 30 hours, we passed out early. Sunday, we hopped on a train to visit Oxford, slightly refreshed after sleeping as much as we could before our 9am train. I was so excited to show Andrew around my old Summer 2014 stomping grounds!
Hey, that's where I lived!
The Radcliffe Camera, where I spent more hours than I would have liked studying and writing papers!
Visiting New College, where I was an associate member. New College was founded in 1379 and is one of the oldest colleges. I was able to sweet talk the guard into letting me show Andrew around.
Delicious Fish and Chips at the Turf Tavern.
Even US Presidents approve of Turf Tavern...
And Andrew definitely approved of the beer.
Oxford is a small town, but it is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of London. My favorite stop in Oxford is the Covered Market. The market has cute little stores, fresh food, and also a delicious ice cream shop, Moo Moo's! Andrew especially loved the Eagle and Child, a pub where C.S. Lewis used to frequent.
We ended the day visiting a few more sites in London, including the house from The Parent Trap, Harrod's, and Covent Garden. We topped off the evening with dinner at Savini at Criterion. The restaurant is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever seen (Batman was even filmed there!), but the views were better than the food we both agreed.
The Parent Trap is one of my all time favorite movies! I loved getting to see the house used in the film. Fun fact, we did a quick Google search to see how much buying this baby would set us back. It apparently sold for 12 million pounds in 2011 and is now valued at over 17 million pounds- that's over $22 million!! Wow, Annie lived in no ordinary home!
Being typical and photographing our food...
Monday, we set out for a full day of London site-seeing, beginning with the Tower Bridge and Tower of London.
How cute is he?!
If you ever make it to the Tower of London, we really recommend the Beefeater Tour. It's free with the price of admission, and the Beefeater's offer a lively tour full of jokes! The Tower of London is also home to the Crown Jewels. They never allow pictures of the good stuff, but it was an awesome exhibit!
The Churchill War Rooms was another favorite stop of ours! This is the underground bunker below Westminster where Winston Churchill led the British government during the German bombing raids. You learn so much about the life of Winston Churchill, and it was amazing to get to see where history was made. This is another place that I definitely recommend buying tickets for in advance!
You can't go to London without having afternoon tea! We enjoyed a lovely tea at The Wolseley.
We ended the night on the West End seeing Les Miserables. This was one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip, maybe even my whole life? If you know me at all, you know that plays are my thing. We were able to snag front row seats and seeing the actors up close was incredible!
PRO TIP: The two middle front row seats in the Queen's theater are discounted to the same price as the balcony because the conductor "obstructs the view.." Don't believe a word of it. Seeing the conductor's arms twice during the show did not hinder the play at all in our opinion- it's the best steal in London if you ask me! Amazing experience!
London, thanks for the memories! Is it too early to start planning another trip? Cheers!