This time, London is the dream destination - since Shorty and M have never been! Shorty found a very good deal on airfare from LA to London and booked a week long trip, then a few more of us decided it would be a great girls' getaway. Here's what we're trying to pack into the week we'll be there - it's a mix of seeing the sights for the newbies, and doing some off-the-beaten path things for those of us who have been before!
London, with a quick overnight trip to Bath
8 days, 8 nights
DAY 1 - SATURDAY
Arrive in London around noon, go to hotel (we're staying in Shoreditch the first night). Walking tour of London Bridge and the South bank, walking up the bank from London Bridge to the London Eye. You'll see the Shard, Borough Market, the Globe Theater, and pass the Tate Modern as you walk. Stop for snacks and a beer in a pub along the way, then cross Westminster bridge for a look at Parliament and Big Ben. Walk up past 10 Downing Street to Trafalgar Square for dinner, then take the tube to the Duck & Waffle for after dinner drinks!
Night in Shoreditch.
DAY 2 - SUNDAY
Check out of hotel, rent car. Day trip to Stourhead Gardens and Bath. Stourhead Gardens has the Temple of Apollo, where parts of the Kiera Knightly Pride & Prejudice were filmed - so we are kind of excited about this excursion! Once in Bath, we'll do a Sunday roast for dinner, since there are loads of places that offer them!
Stourhead Gardens: Temple of Apollo
DAY 3 - MONDAY
Kick off the day checking out the Roman Baths when they open, then jump on the road and head to Stonehenge.
TRAVEL TIP: Leave plenty of time in your schedule for the drives! Everything takes slightly longer when you don't know exactly where you're going, or you want to stop to take photos or grab a snack!
Return the rental car, then head to Victoria. We're getting an Air Bnb for this part of the trip, and it's close to the Victoria tube station! Settle into the Air Bnb, then grab dinner and some market essentials before fancying it up at Bob Bob Ricard for drinks and desserts (hello, champagne button at each table!).
DAY 4 - TUESDAY
Shorty's birthday! A great day to kick off the London sightseeing fun! We plan to utilize a 3 Day London Pass while we're on the trip, since there are a lot of things that Shorty & M want to see on their first trip. One of the best things to use on the pass is the Hop On Hop Off bus. The bus is a great way to get an orientation of the city, especially early in your trip.
Big Bus Hop On Hop Off tour in London
TRAVEL TIP: The London Pass can be a great way to save money on the entrance fees for some of the biggest sights in London. Add up the cost of the things you'd like to see, and check out if the London Pass would work for you!
After riding around on the bus for a while, we'll also check out St. Paul's Cathedral, and then do some shopping at Harrod's before heading back to the Air Bnb to get ready for a birthday evening out. We'll also check out Platform 9 3/4 on our way to dinner! We'll dine at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, then continue the Harry Potter theme with drinks at The Blind Pig, which has an alcoholic butterbeer cocktail!
DAY 5 - WEDNESDAY
Head to the East side of London to kick off the day at the Tower of London. See the crown jewels, then check out Tower Bridge (my favorite bridge in London!) and walk across to the south bank. Lunch and shopping at Borough Market (hello grilled cheese sandwiches at Kappacasein!) Then, head over to the Globe Theater for a tour before wrapping up the day with two amazing views: Sky Garden and The View from the Shard!
Tower Bridge from the North side.
TRAVEL TIP: The Sky Garden must be booked ahead of time, but entry is free. Both Sky Garden and the Shard have some cool bars in them that you can check out if you don't get tickets to the viewing floors! Sky Pod Bar in the garden and Oblix in the Shard have some lovely looking offerings!
DAY 6 - THURSDAY
Our "royal" themed day. On the touring list: Kensington Palace & Gardens, Hyde Park, a stop by Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and then, best of all, an afternoon tea! This time, we'll be visiting Hotel Cafe Royal for tea, which sounds absolutely decadent.
Afternoon tea in London
After tea, try to sneak in one or two more London Pass items before it expires, like a river cruise! Seeing London from the Thames is a must-do, especially if you go in the evening!
Tower Bridge by night from a Thames river cruise.
For the last evening we're all together, we have a couple of fun places that we might check out. London has tons of awesome bars and experiences! Here are some we're considering:
Ballie Ballerson: Adult ball pits with cocktails? Heck yeah!
Cahoots bar: 1940's themed bar in an "underground tube station" with swing dancing and fun cocktails!
The Cauldron: A Harry Potter inspired experience where you pour yourself a pint, then concoct two magical cocktails!
DAY 7 - FRIDAY
DD heads home on Friday afternoon, so we'll hit up a couple of the things she wasn't super interested in, like the London Eye. Consider a second afternoon tea if you can't decide on your favorite one, like this pop up bakery, Butterscotch, or any number of the other gorgeous afternoon teas offered in London. And, if you're into space and time, check out The Royal Observatory in Greenwich - where you can stand on the Prime Meridian!
DAY 8 - SATURDAY
Morning flight home for me, continued adventures for Shorty and M - they're planning on checking out all the museums on this day, and are hoping to catch a theater show in the evening. The Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery are all on their list.
TRAVEL TIP: Many of the museums in London have free entry, so if you end up getting a London Pass, plan on doing the museums on a day you don't have the pass. That way, you'll get the most bang for your buck out of the pass!
Is there anything else for a London starter trip that we should try to fit in for the girls?