OK, we know that it’s impossible to really experience all that London has to offer in a single day. But we gave it a go and spent hours winding our way down main streets and back alleys.
So here’s our London in a day, incomplete though it may be.
We were already staying near the heart of the city at the DoubleTree in Victoria, courtesy of Angela’s parents who had joined us on the trip in Edinburgh. (Thanks again, Dan and Betty!) So it was a straight walk down Victoria Street to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Westminster Abby as well as other London icons such as Big Ben (currently covered in scaffolding) and the London Eye.
After exploring the waterfront for a bit, we decided to get out of the tourist crowd and crossed the Thames via the Westminster Bridge. Here, we wandered around the Waterloo district and found it to be delightfully local with small pubs and family-run restaurants dotting every street. By far, our favorite stop was at Cotto, a little Italian bistro serving homemade awesomeness. The owner, Lino, a longtime expat from Naples, visited with us for a while and even offered recommendations for our upcoming time in Italy.
London boasts some wonderful parks throughout. Some large and famous like Hyde Park and others small, inconspicuous, and virtually empty. We found several of the latter on the east bank of the Thames and spent much of the afternoon strolling through green spaces that seemed a world away from the hustle of the city. Parks like Archbishop’s, Vauxhall, and Kennington are well worth a look, especially when each stop comes with a pint of bitter.
We crossed back over the Thames via the Vauxhall Bridge and marveled at the old town homes along Belgrave Road, now converted into boutique hotels and hostels. A quick stop in some renowned London haunts like The Jugged Hare, The Star Tavern, and the Duke of Wellington made the return trip even more pleasurable.
For a moment, we even got caught up in a peaceful demonstration concerning Brexit. I’m still not sure I understand all of the nuances and complexities of the issue, but these folks were certainly in opposition to it (thus all the EU flags).
A quick stop at the Tate Britain museum of British art was all we needed to make this express tour of London complete.
Footsore and unconsciously speaking in bad English accents at the conclusion of our jaunt, we knew we would have to return to London soon. Maybe not to live as expats but certainly to see more of the Square Mile, and Angela has big plans for more time at Kew Gardens.