We’ve all been there at least once right? The world is at our fingertips with technology nowadays, which might not be so good when you decide to do some online shopping after a few drinks. Some people buy shower curtains of cats flying through space or sloths on stripper poles, he bought tickets to a concert in London.
To be fair, the whole point was to see one of our absolute favorite music groups, Above & Beyond, and they are from London…. so we would be seeing them in their hometown. The concert was the second day, and so much fun, but it actually ended up being just one thing we did during our fun-packed 4-day excursion to the UK! We really made it worth our while, especially considering we had nothing planned but the concert. Sometimes the best things come from just winging it!
Excursionologist tidbit: We are not typical travelers in that we don’t always go for the highlights or typical tourist attractions. So it’s our hope that we also give you some things to do that you might not have found out about elsewhere!
Day 1: Meeting new friends, pubs and wine bars, and winning a sacred amount of money (can you call it that when you’re gambling at a casino? I say yes, obviously).
We started at Cittie of Yorke pub, built in the 1920’s and just the kind of pub you are looking to visit when you first get to London (Holborn stop and just a short walk). We met a friendly Brit right off the bat and had a pint….or two….jetlag and all (then we slowed our roll. For a minute). We took a peek at Piccadily Circus…
Definitely interesting, and worth the visit, but not quite our style. So, we hopped back on the tube and just picked a random stop, Leicester Square. That’s one of the amazing things about London by the way, there is so much to do yet it’s so easy to get around for just 12 pounds a person for ALL DAY!! We stepped right out onto the street and behold! There was casino (much to my husband’s chagrin). The Hippodrome, opened in 1900 but turned into a casino much later.
Okay, I’ve been to a lot of casinos….I mean A LOT! My mom loves them and I basically grew up going to Las Vegas for family vacations haha (that explains a lot, I know). Let me just tell you, this was seriously one of the coolest casinos I have been to. And not for the amazing grand things you see at a lot of casinos in Vegas, but because it was so unique and multi-leveled! I’m talking two levels of regular gaming, an underground casino on the bottom floor that has dancers in cages (Jason really appreciated that, sipping his drink while I was hard at work winning money at the Roulette table), and then a two-part upper level that has more tables and a rooftop bar that is open-aired.
I decided to call it quits after I realized my winnings were exactly 108 pounds (which is considered a sacred number to some). And we won’t talk about the fact that we returned on the last night and I lost a portion of that….quit while you’re ahead I guess as they say!! But, that night we left and headed to some more pubs and met some great new friends from different places who took us to the oldest wine bar in London! New friends….
And the only picture I actually took of the wine bar, Gordons, established in 1890. Hey, remember we had a few drinks and had jet lag. Cut me some slack please : )
All in all, great first day.
Day 2: Transportation vs. tours and Above and Beyond
A travel tip (at least according to us) is that you can see the sights and get a feel for the city just by taking the public transportation, especially if they have water taxis. In fact, that’s how some of our spontaneous excursions have come to be! We spent the morning riding the Clipper which was also very reasonably priced. You won’t get the guided tour, but you basically see the same sights.
We took it from one end to the other, and noticed this really cool looking ship so we decided to debark and see what it was.
It turned out to be the Cutty Sark! A really fast ship that has history and did stuff. Check out the link lol. We didn’t go in as we were limited in time. Remember our original plans for the concert. But we had a little bit of time to walk around and wandered into the Navel Museum where my really smart and astute husband realized we were in Greenwich! And off to the Royal Observatory we were.
That’s right…we’re standing on the Prime Meridian! Pretty darn cool if you ask me. Then of course we had to rush back to make it to the O2 Arena for our long anticipated show. It was a fun time and Above and Beyond always puts on an amazing display with amazing music and positive messages.
Off to bed then so we could get the most out of our last day!!
Day 3: Amazing views of the city, one last pub, and Remember, remember! The fifth of November.
We saw this building one night (outside a pub, clearly), and we were curious.
So, Google and a day later and we were at the Shard, one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe. I wish we had more time there, as they have drinks and snacks and an open-air top deck, but alas it was our last day and we had things to do! It isn’t expensive but a teeny bit pricey, but well worth the view, especially if you plan to stay awhile.
We also got up close and personal with St. Pancras, hotel established in 1873 that was also part of an old railway station. Gorgeous!!
We were actually supposed to go to Paris this day, but our tickets got messed up and trying to get one last minute was 600 pounds per person!! No thanks. So, we ended up staying in London for Bonfire Night, aka Guy Fawkes Day. We did a walk by of the palace and noticed tons of police presence, so naturally inquired about what was going on. Turns out it was the protest known as the Million Mask March. We decided to stay away, you know, being safe and all. But a few pints later and we realized since V for Vendetta is one of our favorite movies we would be remiss to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Right???
Note the mask to the left. This is Downing Street if you are curious. It was peaceful so we were ok, but I’m not sure I recommend that for everyone else!
We ended up in the last pub before having to travel home the next day, and we highly recommend it. Argyll Arms. We only had bar snacks, but they were to die for, and it was such a cute little pub with little cubbies to sit in!
Cheers to the last night!
There are plenty of things to do in London and we could have spent WAY more time there. Hopefully you’ve gotten some cool ideas if you are planning a trip there! And just because I had no more room to post but I love these pis, here are a touch extra.
What is your favorite place to go in London? I’d love to hear it in the comments below!!