Taking in a city for a vacation can be a heavy task. Especially in London, with so much to see. I was tasked with showing my long time friend around the city and we saw some of London’s best sights all within 11 hours.
My friend Lily and her friend Avalon added London on to their European adventure and we had one day to take in as much as the city as possible. What started off as brunch on a Saturday morning turned into a long, 11-hour day. I was able to show Lily and Avalon my favorite spots while also seeing new sights myself.
We had plans set up at a café but they didn’t open till 11am, (like many restaurants in London) so we walked around a bit and found a small Italian brunch place where we sat and sipped cappuccinos and caught up on the last few years. We then went with the flow and hoped on the underground tube and rode it into London Bridge station. I told them “if you’re going to see anything we might as well take time to see the bridge.” This was also my first time up close to the bridge as well. I offered up museums, which are free and an easy thing to do, but instead we just walked along the river.
Our next adventure was in Covent Garden, home to where I work, so I was happy to show them what my everyday life was like. We stopped by my work, went through a few shops and I even showed them a hidden gem I found right near Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard. Neal’s Yard consists of colorful buildings, cafes, and spas. The building is filled with flowers and every color under the sun! We then turned the corner and stopped for classic cake and tea.
We were treated like true queens as we sat in the center of Covent Garden, where we tried three cakes and three teas topped off with a local opera singer as background noise. After a refreshing cup of tea, we made our way through the Whitehall gardens, which is filled with flowers and statues. If you’re ever in need of a break from the city I highly recommend any park nearby. The trees block out the noise and it is seamlessly a different place. Near the Whitehall Gardens is what a London postcard is known for: The London Eye, Big Ben (which is currently under 4 years’ worth of constriction), and Parliament Square.
As the day went on we stopped and stocked up on waters to stay hydrated, but we were also in need of a drink and dinner. We headed back into Covent Garden and found a hidden bar/ buffet area where we grabbed appetizers and mojitos. We decided to go back to Covent Garden because we all were craving Chinese or Japanese and thought it would be fun to hit up Chinatown which is about 5 minutes from Covent Garden. We stopped by a customizable Asian restaurant. With leftovers in hand we decided it was time to part ways before the sun went down at 9:30. But first, we had to get a scoop (or two) of gelato.
On our way back we stopped off in Chelsea which is where I live. Gelato is always the best way to finish off a long day so we grabbed a few scoops and I walked them back to the station before giving them big hugs and all the luck on their return home.
-Joe Andersen, NAU