We visited London a couple of years ago for less than a week. A friend was living there at the time, so we decided to visit her, explore London and then continue our European adventure in Paris. We took a night flight out to London and ended up arriving at Gatwick around 10am. We had to take a train into the city, and by the time we arrived into central London, it was past 2pm. We had definitely been expecting to get into the city sooner, and were supposed to check out the Sky Garden, but we missed our 2:45pm time slot.
Instead we settled into my friend’s room, in the flat she was sharing with four others!! We would be staying there for the next few days, and although we spent most of our time out of the flat, we were so grateful to my friend and her flatmates for sharing their space with us — it helped with the costs of the trip and allowed us to immerse into the city better.
Day two started with a visit to Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. London was experiencing incredible Spring (almost Summer) weather, which is apparently uncommon for mid to late April. The temperatures were in the high 20s (degrees celsius). The garden was extremely beautiful and we got to see peacocks up close!
We followed that up with high tea at Butterscotch Tea Room. It was an extremely cute tea room and I honestly feel that high tea is a great way to catch up with friends — there are so many courses!
After high tea, we hit up the V&A, which was really pretty. There were some lovely Rodin pieces to get me very excited for our upcoming flight to Paris. After all that walking, we popped into Elan Cafe for another spot of tea. Perfect place for a photo op with all the floral decor and neon light fixtures!
That evening, I went out to Tonight Josephine with my friend, which is a really cool bar on Waterloo Road. The bar decor is inspired by Josephine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and the first empress of France. He was her second husband, and he later divorced her because their marriage didn’t produce any children. She did have children from her first marriage, who went on to produce royal lineage. What’s interesting is how Tonight Josephine has spun this woman’s life to give you an idea of what a bad-ass hustler she was. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I love neon signs; #neoninspiration!
We started day three at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, which is this giant slide located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I was super excited and then we got to the top and started to feel a little apprehensive. But going down the slide was not scary at all and was incredibly fun. If it wasn’t so expensive, we would definitely have done it again! And in case the below image is confusing, there s a thing silver tube on the left side of the image — that’s the slide you go down.
Roman and I visited Milk Train for a sweet treat after the slide and then visited famous Liberty London (so I could explore it’s many floors). We also stopped by the Lego Store in Leicester Square, which had some really cool displays.
That evening, we hopped on Roman’s first ever Double Decker bus to get to our dinner reservation at Duck & Waffles. This place is so fancy, it requires a 2 month reservation and we were lucky that my friend was able to get us this spot. It was a pricey dinner, but we tried so many different dishes (NINE!). Definitely one of the more expensive meals we’ve had, especially when you convert those pounds back into Canadian dollars, but they were so delicious. The view sealed the deal on this gorgeous restaurant.
On our last full day in London, we started with brunch at Dishoom in Convent Garden. Another friend was also visiting around the same time we were, so we spent the day together. Dishoom was a home run with all four of us, and we followed that up with the National Gallery.
We did a walking tour of Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Westminister Abbey (all of which was under construction at the time). We also discovered the Vaults, which was at once sketchy and super cool! If you have ever watched Jab Tak Hai Jaan (a 2012 Bollywood movie) there’s a scene filmed in the Vaults (before the “Ishq Shava” song). I didn’t realize it was the same place until after I had come home and was going through the images and I also did not know that it’s actually a theatre!
It was such a lovely few days in London, especially because we got to see Toronto friends in a new city. The unseasonably warm weather meant that half the things we packed were unnecessary, but we didn’t complain because we love warmth. April in Toronto is pretty cold (although Toronto also experienced some warmer weather while we were gone).
The next afternoon we flew out of Luton for Charles de Gaulle, where I found that Paris might be over-romanticized, but it deserves the hype! Stay tuned for that post, coming next week! If you’d like to see more photos, make sure to check out my Instagram highlights — I save all the pretty images from trips there!