Honeymoon 2017: London (Day 1)
Hello Lovely Readers,
So a few opening points. Firstly, if there’s something I think readers should absolutely be aware of, it’ll be demarked with “***A word of advice”. Be sure to read those for important tips! Additionally, on every trip we take, we download maps of the cities we’re going to be in in advance. The app is MAPS.ME. This is basically a MANDATORY app. It is SO important and useful. It’s basically the only way to guarantee you won’t waste ages of time getting lost. Please head my advice. Additionally, any photos, unless otherwise noted are my own. Please ask for permission before use. Moving on!
So, Inspyre and I left from LA to England at 8:30 in the morning on American Airlines. Overall, the flight was rather poor with no food or entertainment. There was a 2 hr layover in Philadelphia, at which point we got onto our second, international flight. There was at least in-flight entertainment this time, but the food was some of the worst food we’ve ever eaten. Neither of us could finish it. On the plus side, we did land an hour earlier than anticipated at Heathrow.
***A word of advice: Heathrow is known as one of the busiest airports in the world. That includes the security lines. Be ready for at least an hour of waiting in line, and bring some snacks.
Heathrow is well prepped for tourists and has an entire section after security ready for tourist-y type tickets. Most of the tickets we decided could be purchased through our hotel concierge, so we only bought Oyster Pass tickets at the airport.
***A word of advice: Oyster Pass is basically mandatory if you’re in London. It’s the cities transit system, but most importantly, their Metro. 99% of attractions are available by Metro. GET THE OYSTER PASS.
After getting the Oyster Pass, we immediately used it to take a metro to our hotel on Gloucester Road – Millennium Gardens. When we got there, we were told our room wouldn’t be ready for another 4 hours, which was incredibly inconvenient. We decided to use the time to drop off our luggage with the concierge and wander the city. We decided to wander in the direction of Kensington Palace, which we were a stones throw away from. However, Inspyre, who’s never been international, had jet-lag hit him like a bucket of rocks in about 30 minutes. We headed back to the hotel prematurely, without really having seen anything.
At this point, I informed the reservations desk that we were on our honeymoon, and Inspyre was basically hallucinating from jet-lag. They informed us they could have our room ready in an hour! I convinced Inspyre that we could get some food in the meantime. We went to a Starbucks across the street, and then went directly to Nando’s, which was right next door.
FOOD REVIEW: Nando’s absolutely lives up to it’s international reputation. Although the menu isn’t terribly complex, it has perhaps the best chicken I’ve ever had. Inspyre and I shared chicken thighs, garlic bread and mashed potatoes.
We then headed back to our hotel at 12:15 pm. Not only was our room ready, but because it was our honeymoon, the hotel upgraded us from a Standard room to a Superior room, complementary! Inspyre then proceeded to accidentally sleep for 4.5 hrs.
HOTEL REVIEW: Millennium Gardens was a PERFECT hotel. It is very centrally located, 2 minutes walking from the nearest Metro station, and absolutely beautiful. The staff are incredibly helpful, and in particular the concierge desk is one of the most valuable resources I’ve had on any of my vacations. Furthermore, they even serve breakfast downstairs every morning. Not only was it always delicious, but there was a wide selection in their buffet. 5 star review.
By the time he woke up, it was about 5:30. We went across the street to Nero’s, a very popular coffee shop in Europe, and continued to explore. The first thing we did was find a shop that would sell us a universal adapter for our appliances (laptop, phone, etc.). The store we found was a little hole in the wall, Kensington Communications, that sold it to us for 20 pounds instead of 22, because we paid in cash.
***A word of advice: Bring a universal adapter. Bring cash.
We were close to the palace grounds at this point, so we wandered to Kensington Palace. The palace is known as the last place Princess Diana lived, so the whole place is basically a memorial to her. Inspyre and I decided not to do a tour, as we would rather see one of the palaces that focus more on history than on a single person. Instead we wandered the grounds for hours. By the time we decided to stop, my feet were aching and I felt ready to collapse.
***A word of advice: Wear sneakers. Definitely wear sneakers.
We headed back to the hotel, where our concierge David makes his debut! David was one of most knowledgeable people, I’ve ever met in regards to London. He knew every restaurant, every travel tip, and even customized his recommendations based one what things we liked to do (he was the one who suggested Kensington Palace might not be up our alley). Inspyre asked David for a good Italian restaurant and David recommended Da Mario or Il Borno for Italian food or if we decided on Mediterranean food, MK Market. We settled on Da Mario.
FOOD REVIEW: Da Mario’s was fantastic! We started off appetizers with a buffalo milk Mozzarella Caprese, followed by meals of Inspyre’s pizza and my gluten free Rigatoni da Mario. They had gluten free options for everything on the menu! Inspyre also got some Rosé, and we followed it up with some great Chocolate Sorbet. The whole thing cost about 56 pounds. The restaurant is a little unusual in that theres an upstairs and downstairs level. To get downstairs, there’s a very cramped and tight staircase. But it feels like you’re going into a speakeasy, so it’s not terrible. If you want some authentic Italian food, this is the place to go! 4 stars.
When we got back to the hotel, we bought tickets for “The Big Bus Original Tour” and talked to David about how to get to Bletchley, which was the plan for the next day.
Stay tuned for Day 2, and be sure to comment below!