HONEYMOON EDIT: London Calling
London is always a good idea.
It's true what they say - it's always raining in England. Flying in from Rome, we landed on a gloomy + wet Thursday afternoon. Crossing the street to catch a taxi threw us for a bit of a loop - adjusting to roadways being reversed.
We were staying at a hotel in West Brompton, which was a 2 minute walk to the tube (I love their nickname for their subway). Your best option to getting around the city is the tube because London is pretty expensive. When converting to Canadian dollars is about double! Our cab ride from the airport to our hotel was way more than expected. Also, don't let the map of the tube overwhelm you - it's not as complicated as it looks. Most of the tourist attractions are in district 1-3; though, if you get extremely lost there's always uber or taxis.
Gloomy + wet
London, December 2019
We had two and a half days to trek London, which actually isn't a lot of time to take in the plethora of sights! Our first order of business - food! Well...shower, unpack and then food. Thankfully London is littered with pubs, you'll never run out of a place to grab a bite and pint. Restaurant customs differ slightly than what we're used where a hostess will seat you. At most establishments, you essentially find an empty table and seat yourself.
Our first stop was at The Lillie Langtry, a casual yet homey pub. Outdoor seating was an option, except it rained earlier, so inside we sat. Their menu was small, but their beverage list was vast. We got a drink each and shared an appetizer platter. Even though West Brompton station was so close to the pub, we decided to let our feet be our guide and venture through the neighbourhood.
At Earl's Court station, we were quite puzzled at attempting to understand the map. Thankfully, we were approached by an attendant who clearly noticed our dumbfounded looks. If this is your first time taking the tube, I highly suggest you seek their help - they're very kind and patient and know the transit system can be very overwhelming. As he explains how to read the map, we were reassured that once we get the hang of it, the tube isn't all that confusing. He also suggested to buy Oyster cards to get around the city; their version of a pay-as-you-go pass you tap on all London public transits.
The Lillie Langtry
London, December 2019
To conclude our first night in London, we went to the Sky Garden situated at the top of a commercial skyscraper they nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building. (It literally looks like a gigantic walkie talkie and Londoners are not a fan of it!) The Sky Garden is London's highest public garden with a 360° view of the city. Essentially a social establishment with two restaurants and a bar; it's free to enter - just book a time slot on their website.
Word of warning: there's a security check on the ground floor before getting to the elevators. You read that correctly - security check like at the airport! You're asked to remove your coats, empty your pockets and have your belongings examined through conveyer belt x-ray machine. You also walk through a metal detector prior to collecting possessions. After all that, you're free to get into the elevator and head on up. Sky Garden is at a high altitude that your ears get blocked on the ride.
You'll be met by a staff member asking for your reservation. We opted for the free ticket to enter:
i) for the views
ii) for the drinks
iii) we also ate prior
Windows encompassed the entirety of the lounge space and a staircase surrounded by an abundance of greenery led up to the restaurants. There was also terrace, but it was too cold that they closed it off that night. Due to the glass windows and reflection of the city lights, photo ops weren't as satisfying if you were there during the daytime. Sometimes, pictures just don't it the space justice.
As usual, I sought out a table and Gavin got us drinks. He came back with a very approving smile and said to me, "these drinks were cheap! only £29!" While he was getting comfortable, only then did it dawn on me that our drinks were 29 POUNDS...
...not dollars, but Great Britain currency...
converted, our drinks were approximately CAD$60!
Needless to say, we really nursed those drinks until we were ready to head out.
We made a pit stop at M&S Food, before our hotel and snapped up drinks and snacks that were more in our price range.
London, December 2019