Way too long I know
So, maybe I’m a little long winded. Or, maybe I just can’t make up my mind how to cover this trip. Or maybe I’m having fun writing about it so I’m dragging it out for my own enjoyment. Who knows. Regardless, I’ll be wrapping things up now hopefully, if nothing else, you've got some London points of interest from us in case you plan your own trip. I covered the planning of the trip before and what my itinerary for the first three days was. Here, we’ll just cover what the last few days entailed. In as brief a manner as I can I’ll try and get to the good, the bad and what I may have missed. Not necessarily in that order. We've provided you with a little music to enjoy while you read as well in case I'm not as brief as promised.
Why Was Day Four Unplanned?
When I first began planning out the itinerary for my trip there was some talk of not spending the entire week in London. I considered trips to Southampton, Stone Henge or Bath but most of those were tossed out the window. There was just more and more I felt like I wanted to see in London. However, when I noticed that Paris was only a three hour (I know that's even further. Shut it.) train ride from London I did not toss that out completely. Because of that I left the fourth day purposely free with the intention that I would hop on the train and spend the day in Paris while my friend worked and still have time to come back and hit some pubs with him later that evening. When Thursday finally rolled around, however, I was just not feeling it. I slept in a little late, had breakfast at the hotel (a far inferior breakfast than any I had had all week) and then just sort of stumbled out the door of the hotel and made my way to the tube station knowing full well I would not be making it to Paris that day but not entirely sure what I would do. As it turned out I still managed to fill the day up pretty well but there were some highlights and lowlights. So, Here they are.
Lets just get the negative stuff out of the way. Not having planned anything I was again a bit of a shiftless vagabond as I made my way out the door. That lack of planning came back to bite me a couple times.
1. I got on the tube just heading into the city that morning. I had some thought of going to the London Dungeon tour so I just got off at the Westminster stop and walked across the bridge but when I got there it just looked way to cheesy and I didn't bother going in.
2. I had wanted to visit the City of London Distillery so I headed over there from Westminster. Unfortunately, because I hadn't planned ahead I hadn't bothered to check their hours. I did just wander in when they weren't open and they were extremely polite. They even gave me an impromptu tour and some Gin samples before finally letting me know that they were actually closed. Big points for them as it was a beautiful bar and they were awesome about the dumb American just ignoring their hours but I left with the intention of getting back there at some point during the trip and never made it back.
3. I met my Cousin later that evening for drinks and, again, because of my lack of planning we tried to have dinner at the Shard. I think they actually laughed at us when we asked if we could get into any of the restaurants at the top without a reservation. We did get to go up and take some pictures but if that's something you'd like to do get a reservation.
1. The day still filled up quite well. I was starting to really know my way around the city at this point so wasn't too flustered by any momentary setbacks and I did have my google map with a ton of other stuff on it.
2. Leaving City of London Distillery I went over to the Tower of London. The self guided tour took quite a bit of time and was really interesting. There was a lot to see there including the crown jewels.
3. Made my way up to Camden Market where I gorged myself on beer and street food. Nothing else need be said. Beer and street food. That is all.
4. Even though we struck out on the restaurants at the top of the shard we were able to get into Roast which was probably better anyway. Never pass up the opportunity to ask if a place has an available table. I had multiple people recommend roast but tell me I wouldn't be able to get in without a reservation. I guess we just got lucky.
The plan for day five
On day five we knew we had plans with my friends coworkers in the evening hitting some pubs and other establishments. So, knowing that we would be doing that later in the night I headed out that morning. As usual there was a loose balance between planned things and just sort of winging it.
While the company was fun and the night started off well, the lamb pub was great for instance, where we went from there I cannot recommend. Things not to do in London, apparently, would be as follows.
First, visiting a tiki bar in London. Not a great idea. Or at least the one we went to. It was a strange mix of crappy cocktails, body odor and house music. To quote a friend this place was, “a sweaty, hot, sausage factory.” Not the way you’d like to spend your St. Patrick's Day but we made the most of it.
Second, casinos in London. Also, not a good idea. If you have been to Vegas or really to any North American casino going to one of the casinos in Piccadilly is just going to be a disappointment. London does a great many things well. Casinos and tiki bars are not one of those things.
Also, St. Patrick’s Day in London. For some reason, probably because I’m an ignorant American, I expected there to be more going on for St. Patrick’s Day. We considered heading to Dublin for the day but didn’t. There were a few random people donning their green but other than that there was next to nothing going on.
Borough Market: Having been there the night before, Roast is in Borough Market, when it was empty I decided to head back in that direction around breakfast. The intention was to hit up Duck and Waffle first but I just headed straight for the market. While if I ever go back I’ll be sure to visit Duck and Waffle, I’ve read great things about it, I can’t say just heading over to Borough was a mistake either. The shredded Duck sandwich, the meat pie, the various other treats I consumed may have left me feeling sleepy at the beginning of the day but it was well worth it.
Buckingham Palace: From there I headed up for the obligatory visit to Buckingham Palace took some pictures and just poked around and then back down to Covent Garden again (not quite sure how I ended up spending so much time here)
London Film Museum (Bond in Motion): Or as I just refer to it as the James Bond museum where I met back up with my friend and we went up to check out the British Museum.
The British Museum was enormous and really a great experience. To top it off they had an exhibit on America going on so their restaurant had “American food” on hand which we did not order at all. How typically American would it have been of us to fly all the way to London to order a cheeseburger? Again, I’ll reiterate that the Lamb pub was great and highly recommend it as well. Overall a great day
Starting to fade at this point. Walking around town was starting to wear me down. We were able to visit some really cool places but I definitely was more open to just grabbing an Uber to where we wanted to go. I also had intended to hit up the Britannia or Scotch of St. James after leaving Shakespeare’s Globe but we were both just too worn out. All in all that’s the mark of a good trip you’ve just done a lot and are able to say you left tired and ready to go home but it would have been nice to have hit up one of those two places.
Churchill's War Rooms: The self guided tour was crowded and a little hot but fascinating and immersive. Highly recommend.
Handel and Hendrix: People may not realize this but both Jimi Hendrix and George Frederic Handel lived in the same house. At different times of course. Our next stop after Churchills War Rooms was to catch a ride over to Handel and Hendrix in London.
Mr Foggs Residence: We had to get afternoon tea at some point while in London. Didn't really know what to look for but found this place online. Tipsy tea at Mr. Foggs residence was fun. This place is tucked away in a small alley almost feels like a speakeasy. It's a themed bar, Mr. Fogg being Jules Verne's fictional character from around the world in 80 days, and they definitely play this up. The drinks and food were good. Got to hangout by the piano and chat with the musician. Guys, be prepared to be vastly outnumbered. Can't possibly imagine why that would be an issue but I'll throw it out there anyway. Killed a little time after poking around the neighborhood, grabbing some food and wandering around the Rolls Royce dealership nearby.
Tate Modern: My friend and I parted ways briefly. He had some things to take care of and I had some time to kill between leaving Mr. Foggs and heading over to Shakespeare's Globe later in the evening and since Tate Modern is right next to it I decided to check it out. Tate Modern was great and I really could have spent a lot more time there. I only had about an hour to kill though so it was a brief visit. The next time I come back I'll definitely devote more time to this.
Shakespeare's Globe: Met back up again with my friend at Shakespeare's Globe where we saw The Taming of The Shrew. The show itself was a great adaptation and really funny. We were in the pit which put us relatively close to the stage and was an amazing way to see the show although I do recommend if you do that you make sure that you wear more comfortable shoes than I did as you'll be standing for quite a long time.