I typically write about my travel experiences as they happen but I’m really lacking on this trip. I’m going to break it up into two parts: London and Brussels.
This was our second trip with Icelandair and I really have nothing but good things to say about them. Yes, it is true they don’t give you food but let’s be honest, who really likes that crappy food the legacy airlines give you on international flights...yuck! They have food you can buy on board. On the flight out to London I didn’t buy anything. Secondly, the flight to Iceland is only 5 1/2 hours. It is almost like flying to California so I don’t have a problem with the no food thing. Thirdly, they basically own the Iceland airport so the layovers are short and the distance from one gate to the next isn’t that far. We literally had to walk 25 feet for our next flight.
Juliette sat in the middle seat to begin with but her screen wasn’t working so I volunteered to switch with her. It made for a long flight but I was happy she could watch movies. I had my tablet which had movies on it. The second flight from Iceland to London was uneventful. I got a really good nap on that one.
Customs, Tube, Hotel and the First Night
Customs at Heathrow was a breeze. Thankfully we didn’t have any problems! We gathered our luggage and got our tube tickets and were on our way (an hour long tube ride) to our hotel. We checked into the hotel and it was really nice. Our room was fantastic…huge by European standards. Juliette and Katelynn’s was really small…European standards.
Our first trip into London was to Leicester Square to pick up our London Passes. Next we walked to Trafalgar Square and hoped on the Original Tour. It was a very long ride but it was an excellent introduction to London for the girls. We saw all the major sites and they got a bit of history too. After our tour, we ventured over to the London Eye for our “flight.” By this point we were starving so we had some fish and chips along the river before heading back to the hotel for the night. I’m very proud at how long the girls lasted on the first day with very little sleep!
Buckingham Palace, Changing of Guard, Harry Potter Market, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe Theater & London at Night
Our first morning we let the girls sleep in a bit. Our first event of the day was the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. There were a ton of people there so we didn’t get a very view of the events but the two bands played many songs. The one group even played Sing, Sing, Sing. I love that song! I think the girls were bored with it.
We walked down to Westminster Abbey and hopped on the river cruise to the Tower of London. We walked to the Leadenhall Market (used in the Harry Potter Movie). We stopped at Pizza Express for lunch. It was delicious! After that we walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral and toured the inside. The girls wanted to go up into the dome so we hiked up 528 steps to the top. This is the third time I’ve done the steps now…I’m a pro!
After St. Paul’s we hopped on the tube to Earl’s Court to see the Doctor Who police box. We recharged our engines with a stop at Starbucks before heading to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater for the performance of As You Like It. It was a good play…a bit long but what do you expect with Shakespeare! Katelynn loved it as she recently starred in it at her high school. Thankfully we bought nice seats as it poured during the performance and the people in the yard got soaked. I could never be in the yard…stand for 3 hours in the elements. Yikes! Since it turned into a nice night after the rain, we walked around St. Pauls’ Cathedral and the Tower of London to get night pictures. It was a late night!
Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, Summer Breeze 10K & Platform 9¾
Our first stop on Saturday was at Westminster Abbey. It was nice to see the inside abbey, I think that was the first time I was inside and not at an Evening Song. There are a lot of people buried there! It was nice to be in the place that Will and Kate got married. It was cool. We got caught up in the Trooping of the Colour parade. Well not the actual parade…that was still 2 hours away but the crowds of people waiting for the parade. We high tailed it out of there and headed to Kensington Palace…boring as usually. We ran out of time and had to stop at Starbucks for a quick lunch for the bus on our way to the Summer Breeze 10K. More about the 10K in a different post but I will say it was fun but VERY HARD! After the race we take the bus, train and tube to Oxford Street. First stop was the Angus Steakhouse. Sorry Juliette…I needed a steak! We did some shopping on Oxford Street before heading back to the hotel. First we stopped at The Harry Potter Shop at King’s Cross Station. There was a line for the platform 9 ¾ thing so we went back to the hotel to shower before heading back to Kings Cross Train Station around 10pm to take our pictures at Platform 9 ¾. It was a relatively early night. We FaceTime with Katelynn’s family. Day three was successful!
Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Hyde Park and Abbey Road & London at Night
Our last full day in London was busy. We started out at the Tower of London. I love the Tower of London. There is so many fun things to see there including the Crown Jewels. We spent the whole morning covering the tower. We headed to the Tower Bridge for the next stop. We got to go up into the bridge and walk across the top. They have a new glass floor that opened late last year or early this year. It was cool but if I had paid full price for the tour I’d be disappointed as it is a bit boring. The glass floor now makes it somewhat worth it.
After a quick stop on Fleet Street for a photo op, we headed to Harrods’s and Hyde Park. Hyde Park is so nice. I also like Holland Park but unfortunately we didn’t get there. Anyways we walked through the park to Princess Diana’s Memorial fountain. I really like the fountain. Eventually we made our way to Abbey Road. We got the classic pose of the girls walking across the street. I’m quite impress with the picture. It only took one take. We hurried to Westminster Cathedral for the 7pm Mass. A very short mass…no singing!
After Mass we stopped at the Albert Pub for dinner. It was a great meal but the service was horrible…so bad that we were there almost 2 hours. But that is ok as it was really dark when we got done for the last night of pictures at night. We did Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye and Piccadilly Circus. It was another late night.
The Doctor Who Shop
After checking out of the hotel we hopped on the tube for our last trip to West Ham. A very interesting part of London…very! We did some shopping at the Doctor Who Shop. I wasn’t overly impressed with the shop and its location was horrible. Oh well, we got back to the hotel and grabbed our luggage for the next part of our journey on the Eurostar…