London Itinerary 2017
Our first stop on our big Eurotour of 2017 landed us in the heart of London. After a tumultuous plane descent right though Storm Doris, our first experience of the United Kingdon was Gatwick Airport's bathrooms as we all nauseously vomited (Thanks, Norwegian Air). We reluctantly pushed our way through the crowd to board The Underground at rush hour. This was no easy feat with our 20 pound backpacks. To be honest, it was f*cking miserable. Once we finally found our way to our friend Jordan's flat, we were sore, exhausted, and sufficiently cranky. Even though it was a rough start, we were thrilled to finally be settled in Stop #1.
Where We Stayed
We were lucky enough to find accommodation at the home of Shannon's roommate from study abroad. He lives between Fulham and Chelsea in what is arguably one of the nicest areas of London. Just a 10 minute walk from the Parson's Green tube stop, the cute residential neighborhood was the perfect hub for our London stay. Our host graciously welcomed us with arrival gifts in the form of beer which made for a wild first night in the UK. 10/10 would recommend to a friend. Thanks, Jordan ;)
Where to Eat
Our first brunch in London was to meet up with Shannon's other roommate from King's College, Becca. She took us to the cutest cafe in Soho called Dehesa. All of the plates were tapas sized and fairly cheap, which made for a perfectly satisfying meal. Shannon got a crispy bacon sandwich with smoked tomato ketchup (and cannot stop talking about the damn ketchup) and Brooke got waffles with whipped yogurt and cooked cinnamon apples (which she downed in approximately 2.5 seconds). Despite the cold weather, we decided to eat outside in the cute alley and people watch. It also served as a great starting point for our stroll that day thanks to its central location.
Literally what even is a trip to the UK without at least one cheeky Nando's. Yeah, yeah, there's a few in the US, but they are worlds apart. Nando's served as a great first meal, but that could just be because our stomachs were eating themselves from the long flight. If you've never heard of Nando's, it's a South African chain famous for their chicken and Peri Peri Hot Sauce. Just don't get it extra hot or you'll burn your face off. Speaking from experience.
The White Lion
On our last day in the UK, we decided to take a ride out to the countryside to visit Brooke's sister, Erin. She took us to the local pub in Sawbridgeworth, which is about 15 minutes past the last stop on the London Underground. Steph and Shannon had been craving mac and cheese for about 35 hours at this point, so all four of us ordered the meal, or Macaroni Cheese as the Brits call it. In the UK, mac and cheese comes with garlic bread which we think is an incredible development. Get on it, US.
What to Do
Everyone knows that they have to at least stop by the big tourist attractions in London; Not-so-Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey among them. However, there are some other great parts of the UK's capital that we think you should check out.
First of all, make sure you set aside some time to walk along the South Bank. Take the tube to Waterloo station and make a left out of the main door. Walk towards the River Thames and you'll stumble across Waterloo Bridge. Take the stairs down to water level and you'll find a beautiful land full of music, art, and food. There are street musicians, food trucks, gardens, and graffiti galore. If you stroll along the entire South Bank, you can get in your insta shots of Big Ben, Parliament, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, and more. (Pro Tip: If you make a right under the bridge away from the London Eye, you'll come across this cool grafittied skate park that is prime 'gram pic location. )
Another lesser known gem in London is Neal's Yard. Located in Covent Garden, this alley is nestled away amongst the bougie shopping. If you blink, you'll miss it and end up at a Starbucks. The colorful courtyard is full of hip, organic, and eco-friendly cafes and beauty shops. Even just sitting on a bench in the middle of the Yard is a sight to behold.
Classic Brooke and Shan really came out to play on our last morning in London. On Sunday night, Brooke was 3 Guinness deep and checked the train time for the next morning. Fully convinced she was reading it right, she confidently told Shannon and Steph that their Eurostar train left at 10:07 AM. We all grabbed a bite to eat and went to bed, looking forward to sleeping in. The next morning, Brooke luckily realized that the train actually left at 6:50. Alas, she realized this at 6:55.
Stay tuned to see if we made it to Brussels.