6 things you need to know before visiting London!
After booking our flights to London I started making a list of things I wanted to see: House of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge and so on… The usual ‘touristy’ sightseeing places. Would I recommend visiting those in London, YES! You can’t go to London without seeing where the Queen lives, but let me tell you, there is so much more to do in London!
My husband’s parents originally told us about Covent Garden because this is where they met 29 years ago. Crazy right? Covent Garden was one of my favorite places in London for many reasons. It is a large indoor/outdoor pavilion with street entertainers, restaurants, bars, boutiques & floral displays. From tea shops, holiday stores, live music & nightlife, Covent Garden is an absolute must for your trip to London.
I had several people tell me to visit Harrods while in London. When I looked it up on google I found that it was a ‘department store’ and my excitement level dropped. Why would I go to a department store in London? We decided to give it a go anyway and see what all the talk was about. 3 hours later we were still walking around Harrods completely amazed. It’s less of a department store and more of a museum. The home decor section is simply stunning, the crystal room is breathtaking & the super brands floor (Fendi, Prada, LV, Burberry) was jaw-drop worthy. I know you’re probably wondering, where do the toddlers shop? Don’t worry they have an entire ‘Mini Super Brand’ floor for them too, because why not?
More importantly, the food section in Harrods is incredible. Freshly baked pastries, sushi being rolled in front of you, a fully stocked seafood bar, a cheese display from heaven, a caviar bar, a poultry bar, a steak house and a chocolate room that is next level stuff. Everything in Harrods is done to complete perfection. Go on an empty stomach & check it out for yourself.
Transporting yourself around a big city can be very overwhelming and stressful so planning ahead is key. Once you arrive in London, find the nearest train station and buy yourself an Oyster card at an automated machine. We put $15 on our Oyster card and it lasted us our entire trip (4 days)! It doesn’t get much easier. Scan your Oyster card before you get on the train & when you exit the train station and it will deduct money from your card. Save yourself the expensive taxi charges & the insane city traffic.
4) International Food
Now for the most important part of our trip. FOOD. If you are like me, then you are always looking forward to the next meal. When we were en route to London we both agreed on trying the ‘traditional English breakfast’ and of course fish n chips, but trust me when I tell you, there is so much more to eat. London is as international as it gets. I couldn’t even count on one hand the number of languages I heard while visiting: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese … the list goes on. London has a restaurant for just about every cuisine you can think of so do yourself a favor and try IT ALL!
5) Afternoon Tea at Sketch
Sketch is an absolute MUST! It is a culinary and visual experience to say the least. We had a 10:00 am reservation in the “Glade” room. Imagine walking onto the set of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, having tea and eating Eggs Benedict. What more would you ask for on a Sunday morning. Ladies, dress cute, bring your camera and be pampered.
Sketch is also known for their famous ‘Gallery Room” but we unfortunately weren’t able to get a reservation. The Gallery room is ALL PINK EVERYTHING. Simply incredible. It is like walking into a life size Barbie house…. My recommendation: Call ahead and make a reservation!
While visiting London, the ‘Ice Bar‘ wasn’t exactly on our agenda, but how does this name not draw you in? We were so curious that we walked in and bought two tickets (£14,50/per person) which included 40 minutes in the Ice Room, 1 alcoholic drink, thermal coat & a pair of gloves. Each year, 40 tons of ice is collected near the Arctic Circle and brought to downtown London where professional ice sculptures then transform the underground bar into a unique experience! Buy your ticket, have a drink out of an ice mug and stay warm!