London in 8 Hours

london, day trip, notting hill, things to do, visit london, travel

london, day trip, notting hill, things to do, visit london, travel

When I knew I was going back to Paris this past August I thought, why not do a day trip somewhere? I’d always wanted to visit London and knew it wasn’t that far – so I planned for it! Whenever I’m planning a trip, I do A LOT of researching. I want to know where are the best and most fabulous to stay, eat and see! This trip, while only about 8 hours, I did the same. London is so beautiful, I got so lucky with the incredible weather, and I cannot WAIT to go back again!

How I got to London…

I took the train – Eurostar to be exact. I heard the train is so easy to use, gets you right into the heart of the city and has great service! The train from Paris took about 2 hours and 20 minutes – not bad at all. I took a 7AM train so I put on a podcast and took a nap (after eating my croissant and hot tea), until I arrived. I got off the train to the beautiful St. Pancras International Station.

‘Pose for the camera like click’…

My first stop upon arrival was to grab a taxi to Notting Hill where I met up with photographer, Michaela Efford, to snap a couple pictures before starting my day. It was not only first thing in the morning so it was a great time to shoot but also allowed me to have the rest of the day free to explore!

London Day Trip…

After a quick shoot with Michaela, I went to check out Westminster Abbey…because duh! I drove by instead of stopping because as soon as I was about to get out I saw a HUGE line around the corner to enter and given my time constraints, it wasn’t going to happen. Not to mention, I don’t do lines when I can help it. From there, I got dropped off and walked St James Park and got to catch the Horse Guard Parade which happens once a day. I continued walking around the city taking everything in. Between the super cute phone booths and vintage taxis, overhearing British accents – I was falling for London. I met up with one of my brother’s best friends, Tom Williamson, if you don’t already know of him, check him out. He’s an actor (you may know him from The Fosters) and was living in Bristol at the time. Tom came into London and met me at our first stop – sketch. From there we stopped by Sotheby’s gallery to meet a friend of his that works there. She was kind enough to let us use her museum pass so that we could have easy access to the exhibits of our choice in the city. And off we went!

*Travel Tip* 

London is a huge city and yes, there is lots to see. However, if you are under any time constraints, it’s recommended that you pick just a couple of neighborhoods to explore. You don’t want to spend your whole day in a taxi!

I had a bunch of places on my list but I prioritized and tried to maximize my time. I know I’ll be back so seeing the main sights and getting to experience a bit of the culture was perfect.

sketch

sketch london, gallery, afternoon tea, mayfair, london

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Address: 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London

Website

Cuisine: Modern European

I’d be willing to bet that Sketch is one of the most instagrammed restaurants in London – the beautiful pink gallery in particular! You definitely have to make your reservations early to enjoy this dining experience. I couldn’t come to London and not have proper tea – so I had a lovely afternoon tea here. It has such an elegant yet whimsical twist – the attire of the wait staff alone just adds to the whole experience. I selected the Champagne Afternoon Tea menu (go figure) in which I enjoyed a glass of brut champagne while nibbling on assorted tea sandwiches, scones and more!

“The time-honored British tradition of afternoon tea gets a dose of modern quirk at Sketch London in David Shrigley’s The Gallery. One step inside the India Mahdavi-designed space, fitted out with perfectly plump, millennial pink tulip seats, a rose gold plated bar, pretty-in-pink velvet banquettes and brass table lamps and you’ll no doubt feel as if you’ve been plucked off of Oxford Street and thrown down a rabbit hole” (Forbes).

Fun Fact: The Lecture Room & Library (one of the beautiful dining spaces for dinner at Sketch) has earned two Michelin stars. Can’t wait to check it out next time!

Victoria & Albert Museum

victoria and albert museum, V&A museum, frida kahlo, exhibit, london

victoria and albert museum, V&A museum, frida kahlo, exhibit, london
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Address: Cromwell Road, London

Website

From there, we went to the Victoria & Albert Museum to see the much anticipated Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up exhibit. We checked it out at the recommendation of one of Tom’s friends that works for Sotheby’s. It was a phenomenal exhibit. I wasn’t so familiar with Frida Kahlo’s story and learned so much. She was a fascinating and incredibly strong-willed woman. Needless to say, I left bingeing her story and eager to find out more.

Serpentine Galleries & Kensington Gardens

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Address: Kensington Gardens, London

Website

We were going to try to go to the Serpentine Gallery (contemporary art museum) and check out another exhibit but we were a bit short on time so we instead took a stroll through Kensington Gardens – such a beautiful garden (one of London’s eight Royal Parks). It is so peaceful, kind of reminds you of Central Park the way people are just lounging and enjoying the scenery. There are scattered contemporary art pieces on the grounds as well as the Serpentine lake river with a restaurant and outdoor seating nearby.

Sticks n Sushi

sticks n sushi, covent garden, sushi, london

sticks n sushi, covent garden, sushi, london
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Address: 11 Henrietta Street (Covent Garden)

Website

I LOVE sushi! So, I always am on the hunt for great sushi spots when traveling. Sticks n Sushi was a restaurant that came highly recommended. It was delicious! So many great sushi options as well as other small plates to choose from. Definitely want to go again! It is located in the Covent Garden neighborhood, which had so much to see and do. Plan ahead, you will need a reservation.

Time was running out…

After we ate an early dinner at Sticks n Sushi, Tom had to leave to catch his bus back to Bristol. Since I only had a bit more time left, I decided to walk to the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. I couldn’t leave without seeing them! I really walked A LOT that day by the way…and paid for it the next  because my feet and legs were so sore. After my last stop at Buckingham Palace, I jumped in a taxi to head back to the train station. BJ told me I was going to love London and want to stay, and he sure was right!!

Until next time…

I didn’t even scratch the surface in London and have a huge list of places to visit, to stay, to eat. I received some great recommendations from friends as well. I’ll share a few of the places on my list to visit in another post. Ahh I forgot! I didn’t even get to shop while I was there! BJ was thrilled lol.

I couldn’t be happier that I got to experience London, if even for a short while!

london, day trip, notting hill, things to do, visit london, travel

photos of me by Michaela Efford

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