Early morning flights are never fun but sometimes necessary. New York to London is one of those flights unless you want to do the redeye. I must admit, as much as I love the destinations, the anticipation of the flight can cause me enough stress to change my mind about going.
As my husband is English, and he and my children have dual citizenship, I suppose I should be lucky they invite me along, especially given my level of anxiety.
So, the plan is to spend time with family, friends, good food (hopefully) and of course some shopping, well maybe lots of shopping…
So of course we are here on what some people are calling the hottest London day in years; it actually feels like New York before we left.
Spending the day at a museum is not a guaranteed pleasure for me, but the Wallace Collection was something I would not have wanted to miss, and it was my daughter’s idea for us to go there on this trip. She had been before and felt we would all enjoy it. Lunch in the courtyard was worth the visit alone.
Dinner at Lemonia is always a treat; I had been here before while traveling with my husband in the past. If you like Greek food, and I do, this place is worth the visit. Not only is the food authentic and delicious, the atmosphere is bright, airy and always festive.
Ok, one more museum. The British Museum, founded in 1753, was the first national public museum in the world, so I guess a few hours there would be interesting.
One thing missing on this day is air conditioning, but I am told London does not experience a heat wave like this very often.
Dinner at the Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden was an unexpected surprise. I don’t always love French restaurants because I tend not to like heavy sauces, but this one was very accommodating and was happy to make me a plain piece of fish.
If you do find yourself in Covent Garden, I would highly recommend this restaurant. This is a beautiful part of London’s main theatre and entertainment area.
Slowly adjusting to the five-hour time difference and we decided on an old-fashioned English Pub for lunch. The White Swan on the River Thames in Twickenham (not to be confused with the White Swan in nearby Richmond) is as charming as it sounds.
I don’t know why, but I never expect to be by a waterfront in London, so this was a nice surprise. A very pretty place with excellent food. A bit of a drive but well worth it.
From there we headed to Kew Gardens, a botanical garden in southwest London (the model for the New York Botanical Gardens). I must admit that we did not see much of it that day, very windy and cool, so we walked for a bit; the kids played on the open lawns and, after previewing some of the indoor attractions, we decided to drive back to London for an early dinner.
I had been to Artigiano in Hampstead years ago and loved it then, so to go back for dinner was an added bonus to the day. What I would call a contemporary, bright restaurant with a very accommodating staff.
One of the reasons we chose this week to visit was because of an invitation to a ‘milestone’ birthday for one of my husband’s closest friends. A smorgasbord luncheon at Toulous was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. One of my favorite finds during this London trip was fresh mint tea; however it is not really tea, it is hot water infused with fresh mint, and it has quickly become one of my favorites. Although this is not what they were serving this day, the owner was extremely obliging and while it was being prepared for me, he told me all about his upcoming trip to Pennsylvania with his daughter. The restaurant on the day we were there was obviously set up for a party, but I have no doubt this would be a fun place to enjoy dinner at on any given night.
We saved the best for our last full day in London: shopping in Harrods. The store is definitely a destination place if you do visit London. Started with lunch in Ladurée inside the store, which would have made the trip worthwhile even if it was all we did.
Given my daughter has traveled more recently than I have she knew the store all too well, which isn’t necessarily a good thingJ
Last dinner in London was at another one of my favorite restaurants, 2 Veneti. Light and bright with a fun menu. Very enjoyable evening with family.
Packing can always be challenging for a trip like this but, as I mapped it out in my ‘travel series’ posts, I am getting better at itJ
For this trip, I basically limited it to a long skirt, a couple of dresses, joggers, tanks, reversible cami and always love my scarves. I had a tote with me just in case I wanted a larger bag and wound up using it every day!
Although only a five-day trip (excluding the traveling), we did all we wanted to do and had a great time.
So if you are headed to England and need any tips, just leave a comment, would be happy to get back to you…