With it being the year of the Queen of England’s 90th birthday, we thought it only fitting to stop by to join the celebration. And bonus – London is on our bucket list!
London is a 45-minute plane ride from Amsterdam. 45 minutes! We flew into Heathrow Airport, momentous for us from its role in the movie “Love Actually,” which was our first date way-back-when and was quoted at our wedding! This trip was a quick one, leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday later afternoon. We visited just a week or two before the infamous Brexit vote, so the United Kingdom was still part of the European Union at the time. Looking back on the trip now, I can’t believe all we got to see and all the miles we covered in such a short time!
We opted for Airbnb this trip and got a fantastic home in the upscale Chelsea/Kensington neighborhood. There were Rolls Royces, Aston Martins, and Bentleys everywhere you looked, with the occasional Lamborghini, Maserati, and even a Bugatti showing up. Our hosts were so accommodating for Max, purchasing him a baby cot, bedding, and even a little stuffed animal to make him comfortable. As lovely as it was, we didn’t have much time to lounge around. We threw down our stuff, and off we went!
“…we get to explore some of the busiest cities in the world before they wake up.”
Friday afternoon, we Uber-ed over to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and walked along the River Thames. We saw St. Paul’s Cathedral where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married. The Tower of London is really impressive, as is the iconic Tower Bridge, which we obviously had to haul the stroller up the stairs and walk across. We stopped for a cup of tea and hooked a ride back to our neighborhood. We found a great local pub called The Admiral Codrington and had a pint, which proved to be both Grayson and Max’s favorite stop. We made dinner later that evening at the house after Max had gone to bed.
I’d like to say we woke up bright and early the next morning because we had so much to see, but we have a baby so you know that isn’t true. We woke up at the crack of dawn because Max did, but through all our travels it has become our favorite part of the day. We give Max his breakfast, then head out on an early morning walk. We can usually find a coffee shop open, as we did this Saturday, and we get to explore some of the busiest cities in the world before they wake up. With our “take-away” coffees, we hiked all over our neighborhood, winded around the beautiful Hyde Park, and were back again for nap time by 9 a.m. After a shower and nap, we put our game faces on.
“Max has seen so many amazing things in all our travels, and yet his favorite part of holidays seems to be sitting down to eat and getting to take a bath with Dad.”
First, we walked over to Westminster Abbey and toured the grand cathedral where jubilees, coronations, weddings (including Prince William and Kate!), have taken place and too-many-to-count tombs are found. My favorite part was first the “Poet’s Corner” where the likes of Chaucer and company are buried – just adjacent to several of the past kings and queens of England. My second favorite part was the inconspicuous tomb in the ground of the Abbey’s plumber from the 1600’s. Way to go, my man. From the Abbey, we walked over to see Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings and peeked down to 10 Downing Street where the Prime Minister lives (you aren’t allowed to walk down the actual street). We saw the changing of the horse guards at the Admiralty Building, which I really recommend. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace happens only once/day and is really crowded, while the horse guards change every other hour and don’t draw as big of crowds. From there we walked to Trafalgar Square, then over to Piccadilly Circus and St. James’ Square. Once we made it to St. James’ Park of Buckingham Palace, we had a little picnic and toasted the Queen’s 90th birthday. Max wandered around the front of Buckingham Palace for awhile and didn’t seem too upset when he wasn’t allowed an audience with her Majesty. On the hike back to our neighborhood, we stopped for some traditional fish and chips and a pint at a local pub. That evening, we explored our neighborhood a bit more, and made an obligatory stop in Harrod’s, which is so impressive and overwhelming! The “food court” (if you can call it that) is the most spectacular with the caviar bar and free-flowing champagne. This is where we spotted the Bugatti parked in a prime spot just out front, with a parking ticket! Sure hope the owner can afford it…
We walked well over 10 miles on Saturday and had just a few more to add on Sunday. Luckily, Max was ready to go bright and early again! We walked over to Hyde Park again, and this time headed to Kensington Palace. There was one “somebody” pushing a baby and lap-dog in a stroller, followed by a serious-looking man with an ear piece exactly ten paces behind. Since we were in England, we had tea at the Palace and I got a teapot in the official Kensington pattern and a teacup for good measure. We walked home by Royal Albert Hall and multiple museums (we just waved at these ones). Max got in a quick nap before we headed to the airport.
And that, my friends, is how you do London in 48 hours! Max has seen so many amazing things in all our travels, and yet his favorite part of holidays seems to be sitting down to eat and getting to take a bath with Dad. Nonetheless, London was good to us and I’m sure we will be back!