London is lovely. This certainly won’t come as “news” to anyone who has visited/lived there. But to this spring breaker *hand raise*, the absolute loveliness of London still hasn’t worn off! I’m in love with it! I’m trying to scientifically reason that somehow because my ancestors are from Wales, England, & Ireland, this part of the world must just call to my DNA in some way, right? That makes total sense. Moral of the trip: Tyler and I will come live here for at least a year at some point in our near lives (although Tyler DID already live in England for a semester studying abroad!)… Mark my words internet! I shall return to you lovely London town.
We stayed in London for the first five nights, and then went out to the countryside near Cambridge for the last few nights. I’m just going to share about our time in London for this post, but just you wait for that English countryside addition (spoiler alert: green sheep pastures for miles and high tea on the canal).
With a **much needed** spring break week off, I was also in the need for some reconnecting and rejuvenating my mind and spirits. Without oversharing a travelogue of everything we did, I just want to share some take aways + learning experiences from this trip along with some newly discovered British phrases!
PLANNING IS A BLOODY WASTE OF TIME
Here’s what Tyler and I had planned/booked for London: our plane tickets & 2 tickets to Harry Potter Studios. Yep. Didn’t have a single other thing on our calendars. In fact, the place we thought we’d be staying ended up not being the best for the first part of our trip, so we threw together Airbnb arrangements that ended up only adding to our experience. Tyler and I had a brief touch base every night and loosely planned our next day - but much more often then not, we ended up trading plans for something off the cuff.
The older I get the more I realize expectations lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. I felt so much more joy during the parts of the day that we just wandered without a specific destination. We discovered so many more unique places, than if we had booked out our schedule in advance. My favorite unplanned finds were:
TOURISTY STUFF CAN BUGGER OFF
A new city is so much more than it’s top 10 tourist attractions. In the beginning of our travel, I felt pressure to start checking places off my list. Tyler patiently reminded me that we’ve learned this lesson before. Determine just a few “must see” tourist places, and leave the rest for the next trip. (I like saying it that way too, because it helps me feel like I don’t need to binge travel - that I’ll return and appreciate more later!)
The best moments of the trip were spent sitting on a bench by the canal in Shoreditch, reading a book on the top deck of a red bus, casually shopping around, grabbing little bites to eat from random side streets, and laying in the grass in Hyde Park.
WALKING IS THE BEE'S KNEES:
Walking is my favorite way to get around. While we did have metro cards and used the train and bus a ton, more often we’d just walk and walk for hours to see what we could see. We clocked some serious steps this trip. My feet were killing me (in a super satisfied way ;) every night! Not only do you get way more exercise on foot, but you end up being able to see WAY more. My favorite phrase this past week was “shall we pop in here?” because it was so easy (and cheaper!) to see and do more on your two feet.
I think walking a place makes you feel more connected to in as well. (probably why we like long hikes too!) You’ve put your sweat and step equity into a city - you feel like you have part ownership, if only for a week.
LOCAL SPOTS WILL HAVE YOU GOBSMACKED:
We sort of fell into our Airbnb in Shoreditch, but that may have well been the best move of the trip. Turns our Shoreditch/Islington is basically the “Brooklynof London” (not my quote, from our airbnb host!) and as such has the coolest, hippest places around of course! We managed to land just a few blocks away from the best small storefront shopping, amazing brunch spots, and really tranquil canal. We ended up spending the better part of three days just in Islington.
We ate brunch a couple of times at a little cafe on the canal and watched the narrow boats maneuver up the locks. We walked through antique flea markets and little home decor shops. We found a delicious Sunday roast spot down by the Angel tube stop. Two nights in a row we went to a free comedy show in a bar near our place. Seriously, the most educational part of the trip. I loved hearing so many cultures from across Europe take the mike and joke about politics, their home life, and talk about relationships with other countries. I felt like I got to meet a bunch of locals and got a good glimpse into the culture (and also laughed my arse off!)
London exceeded even my highest expectations & I can’t wait to go back VERY soon!
We left London for a weekend in the countryside with Tyler's fun aunt & uncle and their kiddos. Read about our biking adventures and afternoon tea here.
Pink Blazer from All Saints
Black Hat from Free People
New Tennie kicks I got at Nike in London
Choker tie from Anthro
(Tune in soon for our adventures with Tyler's extended family in the countryside!)