Wanderlust Travel: London, England
Cheerio, mates! Welcome to the second edition of Wanderlust Travel: London, England edition! This week is all about England as we watch a historical event – the coronation of King Charles III on May 6th.
I’ve put mine and a reader’s recommendations together to bring you a well-rounded guide to inspire your travels and style. One reader shared her itinerary and a wonderful Travel Agency you should look into for your next trip. Noteworthy is a team of advisors and guides that make your trip seamless and personalized to your interests. From private drivers to tours and exclusive experiences, they provide everything you need for a fabulous trip. Check back daily this week for restaurant, hotel, bar, and afternoon tea recommendations and looks!
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Day 1: City Tour
Welcome to London! From Atlanta to Heathrow airport, it’s a direct overnight flight, and upon landing, I’d recommend having a private driver ready for the 45 minute drive into the city.
Drop your bags at the hotel and grab a bite for lunch. I recommend a guided tour to get acquainted with the city. This reader did walking tours of the City of London architecture, royal palaces and residences, the street art of the East End, Convent Garden, and more through Noteworthy’s guides. After a long flight, this is a day to relax and enjoy London!
Day 2: London Eye
The London Eye is a staple for a London trip especially if you’re a first time visitor. It’s a capsule ferris wheel with views of up to 40 km away. From here, you’ll have an aerial view of the river and the sites along it, such as Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. Pro tip: book a private capsule to allow you to enjoy the panoramic view unobstructed by other people. On this side of the river you’ll find Jubilee Gardens, Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market and the Tate Modern Museum. You should consider going on a Thames river cruise, and there’s many lunch and afternoon tea cruises to choose from.
Day 3: The Tower of London and Bridge
The Tower of London is one of London’s most infamous site because of the many different roles it’s served throughout history. It’s been known as a palace and a prison, and it’s home to the Crown Jewels, a collection of 23,578 gemstones. There is so much deep history in the different towers of this fortress and so much to see. You can go inside and across the Tower Bridge on glass floor walkways. There’s not only a great view, but you can see the bridge’s chambers and historic engine rooms.
Day 4: Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey has been the coronation royal church since 1066. The gothic architecture is a must see, and the history, you must experience. The Abbey offers verger guided tours that allow special access to the Tomb of St Edward the Confessor, not accessible to general visitors. The verger will also take you to see Poets’ Corner, royal tombs, the Lady Chapel and the nave. Nearby, go visit the Churchill War Rooms to be transported back to WW2. This is where all the underground meetings and strategizing of the British government took place. Also nearby, you can tour the Palace of Westminster, home to UK parliament, and Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) should be reopening for tours soon.
Day 5: National Gallery
The National Gallery is in the famous Trafalgar Square. Discover artworks from the Middle Ages to the 20th century at the National Gallery, or marvel at some of the world’s best portraits at the National Portrait Gallery (closed until June 2023 for development), which are both to the north of the square. Wander into the spectacular St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, which hosts regular services and concerts, and has a charming cafe in its underground crypt. Grab a bite in one of the many Trafalgar Square restaurants and cafes, such as relaxed dining at Café on the Square or The National Café, and more refined meals at Bronte, The National Dining Rooms and The Portrait Restaurant.
Photo credit: Earth Trekkers
DAY 6: Little Venice
Little Venice, with its beautiful canals and waterways, can be found just to the north of Paddington. Positioned where the Grand Union and Regent’s canals meet, this picturesque neighborhood is home to cafes, cosy pubs and charming restaurants. Explore Regent’s Canal, which starts in Little Venice and passes the ZSL London Zoo and Camden Town. Walk downstream past the elegant Regency streets of Maida Vale and on to Regent’s Park. Or follow this peaceful corridor upstream to the west and enjoy the tranquility of the canals. If you’d rather take to the water, take a canal trip by narrowboat that will take about 45 minutes. Call Jason’s Trip, Jenny Wren Canal Cruises or the London Waterbus for tours.
DAY 7: West End Show
Towards the end of the trip, it’s time to have a slow morning. Get some shopping in, and go to a West End show! Bond Street and the Mayfair neighborhood has the best shopping with all your favorite luxury spots. West End is a vibrant area in central London. Enjoy afternoon tea in the beautiful Grand Saloon of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Right now, there are many amazing shows running including Mamma Mia, Wicked, Pretty Women, Six, and Grease.
DAY 8: Buckingham Palace
With the coronation happening this year, Buckingham Palace will be decked out with decorations! You can tour the palace while the Royal family is not in residence, between July and October every year. Across from Buckingham Palace is Hyde Park and the fabulous Kensington Garden. There is a memorial to Princess Diana in this garden and Kensington Palace, if you wish to tour another palace.
DAY 9: St. Paul’s Cathedral
This religious monument is particularly known for its architecture. The Neoclassical English Baroque-style elements are designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The cathedral’s most distinguishing feature is its lead-covered dome, one of the world’s largest and tallest domes. St. Paul’s Cathedral is in central London, and on the main road that would take you to Kings Cross station. Any Harry Potter fans out there? A quick taxi ride would take you straight to the famous train station and gift shop.
DAY 10: Travel Day Home
Coming back home to the US is a bit easier, in my opinion. You leave earlier in the day and land in the afternoon. If you can stay awake on the plane, you will be ready for bed that evening. As we all know, flying dehydrates your skin. I’ve included some of my favorite products to hydrate your face on your trip home.