For our 13th anniversary this year, Jay and I decided to cash in a few of his frequent flier miles in exchange for round-trip tickets to London. He’d been there for a workshop a few weeks before and had quickly decided he loved it, but hadn’t really had a chance to see anything besides his classroom. I was a little jealous he got to go at all, since I had always wanted to visit there too but wasn’t able to tag along on his trip. So when it was time to decide where we wanted to spend our anniversary, London seemed perfect! We packed our bags, dropped the girls off at Jay’s parents house, and said our goodbyes. What a bunch of hams. 😀
We gave ourselves three full days to explore the city as much as possible, and we are pretty impressed with how much we managed to squeeze into those few days! Jay found a great deal on a hotel right in the city (not too far from St. Paul’s Cathedral), and our room even had a view of the London Eye. (It’s the rounded shape touching the trees on the right).
The first thing we did was stop by the Tower of London and admire the crown jewels. We also enjoyed the view of London Bridge from afar. I just love those beautiful blue supports!
We knew we’d want to ride on the famous London Eye, and Jay decided to enhance the experience by booking a champagne tasting for us to enjoy while we rode. It was amazing! We tasted five different champagnes by Pommery, all described by a wine and champagne expert. The experience also included one of the Eye’s tour guides, who sweetly pointed out some of London’s main attractions from over 400 feet in the air. The added bonus was that instead of staying on the Eye for one 30-minute rotation, the champagne tasting ticket allowed us to stay in our capsule for a second rotation. One solid hour on the London Eye with a few glasses of great champagne? Now that’s the way to kick off an anniversary trip!
Of course there were the iconic red telephone booths and double-decker buses everywhere, so that was easy to check off our list of must-sees. 🙂
On our second day we decided to take a bike tour of the city. We’d found a company that could take us past many of the things we wanted to see, including the changing of the guard, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and a few other well-known tourist attractions. It was a fun way to see the city, and ended up being our favorite thing about our trip. Afterward we did some exploring and eating, and then we did some more exploring and eating. 🙂
Our last day in London was on our actual anniversary. ❤ We started it off by visiting the Sky Garden, a public garden located on the top floors of a skyscraper. The views from the garden were amazing – it was pretty awesome being in such a serene place surrounded by plants while looking over a bustling city below.
We also checked out the British Museum and went back to Buckingham Palace for one last look up close before we left. Those gates are a little too fancy for my taste, good thing I don’t live there! 😀
For our anniversary we ate at Barbecoa, an amazingly delicious restaurant that overlooks St. Paul’s Cathedral. Jay had told them why we were celebrating when he made the reservation, and they gave us the best table in the house. ❤ We seriously had one of the most memorable meals we’ve ever experienced and left a little chubbier than we were when we arrived – which we were totally okay with whenever we remembered the steak… and the garlic potatoes… and the salad… and the champagne… and the dessert….
We spent quite a bit of time walking everywhere over the course of the trip, and only used taxis or the subway (or Tube 🙂 ) when we didn’t have time to walk. All that walking gave us a chance to really get a feel for the city and discover things we might have otherwise missed. We popped into shops and diners as we liked and just soaked in as much as we could, which is exactly how we like to vacation!
We absolutely fell in love with London. Everything about the city was beautiful, but our favorite thing was how so much history was standing right beside modern civilization. Everywhere you looked there was old and new. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and there was so much to see and do that even a solid week would have been hardly enough time to really get it all in. Which, of course, means that we will just have to go back and see some more in the future – but somehow I don’t think we’re going to have a problem with that! 🙂 ❤