LONDON - DAY 2
Our Day 2 in London had to be started with a classic English breakfast and we found the perfect spot for you to get a “full English breakfast and tea,” which was the chain restaurant of Bill’s. Now, don’t be discouraged from visiting this place due to it being a chain, it actually has delicious food and rather quick service. In fact, we enjoyed this spot so much for breakfast, we ate here the next day.
Anyway, now that we had an adequate meal to fuel our busy day, we headed to our first planned location--- Tower of London. The Tower of London not only makes for some memorable photos highlighting this iconic London world heritage site, but it’s filled with so much history you have to set aside a couple of hours to explore all it has to offer. First, you’ve probably put this on your list of places to see because of The Crown Jewels (you must do this, as the museum has the impressive and extensive display of jewels for the world to see. Fun fact, there are a total of 23,578 jewels on display; among other valuables!). However, once you check out the Crown Jewels you want to make sure to take some time to partake in one of the guided tours where the host will give you an extensive breakdown of some of the more grim history of the London Tower, the prison within, and some of the historical scandals and happenings that have taken place. Note: the guided tours are provided a part of the admission price and happen rather frequently throughout the day. Just some things to know--- the admission price for adults was around 25GBP/person and the hours of operation varied depending on the day of week, but to make things as simple as possible, do yourself a favor and visit the website to purchase tickets in advance (who doesn’t like to skip the ticket purchasing line!) and find all the information you need: www.hrp.org.uk You’ll also find information on all of the other historical palaces at this site as well.
After about two hours, we were able to see just about everything this site had to offer and set out for a quick bite to eat. Good news, there is a lovely spot steps away from the Tower of London and offers amazing views all from your own private glass “igloos.” The name of the place? The Coppa Club. Unfortunately, we didn’t make reservations in advance (which if you want to enjoy the unique experience of having your own private igloo, you’ll definitely need to make reservations well in advance), but we still opted to eat at the restaurant inside. The food was rather delightful and there were a ton of great drink options! While enjoying some small-bites/tapas, we headed to an ABSOLUTE MUST while visiting London--- The Borough Market.
The Borough Market is about a 15 minute walk from the Tower of London (just on the other side of the London Bridge), but 100% worth it. Why you ask? Simple--- this market was incredibly lively, flooded with people lining up at the various food vendor stalls to enjoy everything from grilled sausages, grilled cheese sandwiches, to even vegan and vegetarian options. Basically, come here hungry, and regardless of your food preferences, you will find something to scarf down. Also, if you’re visiting this market during the winter months, you can find some of the best mulled wine. Surprisingly, mulled wine that’s not from a “box” is difficult to come by in most markets we’ve visited across Europe and the mulled wine from this market certainly did not disappoint! We only spent about an hour here, but you could definitely take your time and enjoy 2-3 hours bouncing around from vendor-to-vendor.
We were in a bit of a hurry because we had our friends Jon and Louise taking the train into central London to spend the night exploring the city with us. With that being said, we decided to head back towards Covent Garden to meet with them where we grabbed a few drinks at Neal’s Yard (which was VERY packed) while deciding on where to eat dinner. If you’re into Indian food, or even if you’re not, Dishoom offered some of the tastiest curry I’ve had. Best part… Dishoom is a chain and have several locations across London. The ambiance is just as amazing as the food. Again, like most places in London, make a reservation in-advance or be prepared for an hour plus wait (we went here on a whim and ended up enduring the wait--- whatever, it was definitely worth it!). Once we filled up on curry, naan, and Indian beers, we set out for drinks at a few different spots. First stop of the night was the tiki themed Shoreditch. Here, the four of us spilt a giant fishbowl drink (and by the “four of us” we really mean Jon and Jeff). After the boys finished off the fishbowl, we headed back to Covent Garden and finished off the night at the Canadian bar called Maple Leaf. As you can tell, we’re huge fans of Covent Garden and for good reason--- amazing restaurants, cool bars (especially in Neal’s Yard), and a lively market.