The Birthday Tour, London

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My husband and I have headed off on an exciting vacation to celebrate his 50th birthday. We’ve not travelled together as much as we would have liked over the years, so are making up a bit for lost time.

The first leg of our journey is over, we left rainy London very early this morning after a three day whirlwind visit.

Sunday morning we landed at Heathrow and made our way into the city. We dropped our luggage at my favourite B&B, the Lynton, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. It’s my favourite because it’s located literally a five minute walk from Buckingham palace, but also because it’s run by these two brothers who are seriously entertaining hosts that make a solid English breakfast. Simon indeed gave me lessons on how to poach the perfect egg. Completely charming, and located in a traditional older British home which is code for you can brush your teeth in the sink while standing in the shower because bathroom pods are literally, pods.

We only had two nights and three days and had to navigate jet leg so our plans were realistic but ambitious. Day one was limited to wandering Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street, taking time to appreciate the Christmas decorations that were set up.

Oh my gosh London knows how to do Christmas. Lights, decorations, and holiday foods to order literally everywhere you go. The window displays in some of the shops were on a whole different level. It was beautiful to see and delicious, from turkey and stuffing sandwiches to mince pies, plum pudding samples, and holiday drinks. My husband fell hard for a Christmas cookie milk shake while I was fond of an orange hot chocolate.

Christmas Cookie Shake
Angels of Regent Street
Beautiful shop doorway.
One of Harrods display trees
The London Eye
Another beautiful tree
Yes please

It was like Christmas boot camp.

We also took the time to do one tour that covered pretty much all of the basics of London-St Paul’s Cathedral, changing of the guard, Tower of London and a Thames cruise. Some people might say tours are boring and it’s better to explore on your own, but do you want to know what you miss out on? I’ll tell you, you’ll miss the chance to see your tour bus driver get into an almost fist fight with an operator from another tour company over bus parking while you close to retirement aged tour guide tries to break them up. You can’t buy that in a gift shop!

My only shot of our tour guide, I can’t believe he tried to break up a fight.

On our last free day we hit up the British Museum because I wanted to see the famous Rosetta Stone. Our bonus find was the famous if you saw Indiana Jones 3 or read the Enquirer in the 80’s, Crystal Skull. A completely legit proven fake, my mom would have been over the moon had I been able to tell her about it. She was a solid reader of the Enquirer and Weekly World News back in the day and would have believed the skull possessed special powers. This one is for you Ma!

Rosetta Stone
Look Ma! I found the Crystal Skull.

We also got a wee bit list coming off the Metro. My fault for going left instead of right in search of the Hogwarts platform. What we did find was another bonus, the Regent canal which back in its heyday was used to ship barges of goods to the Thames and back inland. It had always been a lesser thing on my bucket list after watching a documentary, so there you go.

Not a whole lot more to say other than the fact that London is solidly one of my favorite places now where I’d happily return and return again. An expensive city to be sure, but there is no end of things to see and do and discover. And now I know how they do up Christmas, so I’m officially smitten.

Next stop: Naples

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