My parents have just left London after coming up for three days on a cultural exploration of the capital. As I’m technically now a Londoner, I offered to make them a plan of where to go and what to see while they are here. They pretty much stuck to the plan and said they had a great mini break so i thought I would share my recommendations for any other future visitors. Their specifics were that it wasn’t a shopping trip as they have done that many times before. Instead they wanted to explore the markets and the cultural side of London more. I credit myself for gently influencing the country bumpkins to warm to London over the past three years that they have been visiting me since I moved here. All photo’s are from Instagram and linked back to the user.
My folks stayed near Vauxhall, which they said is a great location as most of the tourist spots are in walking distance to their hotel. They arrived late on Monday night and ended up wondering along the river to Southbank (the bank along the South side of the Thames), where they went on the London Eye before having dinner in one of the restaurants that line the Thames. They then strolled back to their hotel to get some sleep before their first full day in the big city.
Suggestions for Day 1 was to walk to Southbank again and visit the Tate Modern museum. There are always exhibitions on at the Tate and you can often see some brilliant free exhibitions as well as the big main exhibitions. Afterwards you can walk along the Millennium bridge and have a look inside St Pauls cathedral and afterwards walk to the nearby museum of London. In the evening I love to visit Covent Garden and watch the last of the brilliant street performer shows before deciding on somewhere to have dinner.
The plan for day 2 was for mum and dad to walk across Vauxhall Bridge and have a look at the Tate Britain and the Turner collection before walking along Enbankment to Houses Of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey before going to Buckingham Palace, watching the changing of the Guards and then along the Mall, popping into the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) before reaching the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square.
After walking around nonstop for two days, we planned to go and spend the afternoon at Kew Gardens near Richmond for a quieter few hours. I don’t know why, but I had never been to Kew in the last three years and I regret that now as it is such a beautiful place.
There is so much to see and marvel at in the gardens and I will definitely be heading back soon with friends or family. We spent about 2 hours there, but could have easily spent a whole day in the sunshine walking round or lounging underneath the trees inbetween the different attractions! I could write a whole post about Kew and how great it is, but I wont. It really reminded me of versailles in Paris as it is very grand and you could easily get lost if you didnt have a map! We got to see the Palm House, Lillypond House, Japenese Gateway, the Pagoda and the Rooftop walk. Next time I go I will give myself a whole day to make the most of everything and see every corner and then have a look around the array of beautiful shops in Richmond town. We then went for dinner in Richmond at the Pitcher and Piano pub right next to Richmond Bridge overlooking the Thames. Twas a beautiful day catching up with mum and dad in gorgeous settings.
For the last day they spent their morning at the Tower of London where they sat the Rememberance instalation and then saw the Crown Jewels. I’ve actually never been there but have been told I must as it’s another place where you could easily spend a whole day looking round. In the late afternoon we headed over to Camden – my favourite place – for a good old look around the Stables Market and we just caught the start of the Night Markets that are running for a few more weeks every Thursday, definitely go and check it out! We then headed to Leicester Sq to get dinner at TGI’s before mum and dad went back to the hotel and drove back to the seaside. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what makes London such an amazing city and it takes a fresh pair of eyes to remind you. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Yesterday was my birthday (I’m 23, yay) and I’ve almost recovered from too much excitement and alcohol over the past 48 hours. I spent the day in Brighton with hubby as it had been over a year since I last visited and I love it there! I’m going to post about my birthday tomorrow and this amazing restaurant we discovered. I hope everyone is having a good week so far!