LONDON - DAY 1
Now that we’ve experienced Dublin in all of its splendor, it was time for us to visit their friend across the pond… London. We flew into London and landed around noon at LHR airport. We used a private limo service instead of an Uber or Taxi, but I will say any of the above are very convenient ways to get from London Heathrow Airport to city center. If you’re wanting a “white glove” door-to-door service at a reasonable price (130 GBP), definitely check out the company we used: UKLC--- and you can reach them via WhatsApp at +44 7985 154865. The driver was really friendly and provided us with many great restaurant recommendations for our stay. Anyway, the commute was roughly 50 minutes and can be better or worse depending on traffic… which can be miserable the closer you get to city center.
As for where we chose to stay, we decided on the super central, convenient, and tremendously trendy Covent Gardens--- which we couldn’t have been more satisfied with our choice in staying in this part of London. Our tip for you… if you haven’t been to London before, stay as central as possible: Soho, Covent Garden, or Mayfair are our top recommendations. Like with many of our trips, we, yet again, lodged with an Airbnb. There is absolutely NO WAY we could have been in a better spot in Covent Garden otherwise—we were literally in a three-story apartment on a road consisting of mainly high-end retail stores and walking distance to all of the fun. If you’d like to check this property out, here’s the link to our spacious (very rare for London), well-appointed, and modern Airbnb:
Once we scoped out our new home for the next several days, we immediately set out exploring Covent Garden. We quickly realized how fun, lively, and filled with things to do this area was. With it being in mid-November, there was already a Christmas Market all set-up with grandiose Christmas decorations adorning all of the shops. There is a main “hall” in the center of Covent Garden with some really great dining options. The best way to explain this part of town is that it an indoor/outdoor marketplace that’s buzzing with people day and night. Clearly were big, big, fans---- honestly, I think you’ll feel the same! Once we were finished scoping out the area, we headed towards our next destination, but along the way we made a pit stop at Mr. Fogg’s House of Botanicals for a few cocktails. Even if cocktails aren’t your thing, you should try to stop at at least one of the Mr. Fogg’s locations (we went to two). Each one has a different theme!
After taking in all of the Instagram worthy scenery of Mr. Fogg’s we headed to our planned date at the infamous Claridge’s Hotel for an afternoon tea-time. This was honestly one of the most memorable of our experiences and should be an absolute must for anyone traveling to London.
*NOTE*: you MUST book this in advance via their website (www.claridges.co.uk). The tea-room is in the main dining area on the first floor of the Claridge’s hotel and from the moment you walk in, you know you’re in an exceptional hotel. Even the “door-man” had exceptional style!
So, a couple of tips--- First, come hungry, they provide endless sandwiches, tea, champagne (if you opt for this package—which you don’t have to even ask, we did), and then an assortment of deserts. We definitely have a difference of opinion when it comes to the tea sandwiches. Jeff thinks the sandwiches were decent, definitely not better than your mothers, but good. Catherine on the other hand, could have easily eaten all the sandwiches! Egg salad, Ham, Turkey, Cucumber, Salmon... they were all delicious! But the ones that we could agree that we especially enjoyed the best were the cucumber and the salmon sandwiches. We each had the Claridge's Blend Tea which was served with scones and a lovely dessert assortment.
If you’re not into tea, still do this; as the ambiance and the experience itself are worthwhile and let’s be honest, you must do tea while visiting London. Once properly loaded up on sandwiches and tea, we decided we were full to the point we needed to check in for the night and that’s exactly what we did. Now of course, as soon as we got back to our apartment, Jeff decided he was hungry. So we went to Franco Manca For a late night dinner of pizza!