London: my favourite bits

It’s so very good to be home, but it’s been a somewhat slow 24 hours or so trying to get back to reality with the girls and home life and dealing with the jet lag that we still hadn’t quite dealt with while we were away. It all seems like such a whirlwind and at times, like a glorious dream but my photo roll is telling me that it all DID happen. It did!

I thought while it was all fresh in my head I’d share all my favourite bits of London. The silly insignificant bits that actually make up all the very best bits of a holiday. They are the things that when you return you go…yes! THAT. I remember that. While the big ticket items I have blogged about already make up lots of memories, these are the bits that I think I will treasure and remember fondly the most.

Seats 47a, b & c

When I booked our flights last year (even before everything was locked in with Olympus) I was amazed at how cheap the early bird flights were. I think I paid about $1400 per ticket which was cheaper than when I went over for the first time in 1997. I booked the extra leg room seats and boy did they not disappoint. On a long haul flight they made all the difference. Sure, you can’t have your bag right there and have to juggle blankets and pillows and STUFF when taking off (and can’t watch your screen) they are worth it x 1 million during a long haul flight. We took the Dreamliner back (a straight 18 hour flight from London to Heathrow and it was completely fine but probs because we had these seats). Being able to stand up and move around whenever you want makes a HUGE difference and because we didn’t have toilets near us we didn’t have lots of strangers standing around us.

UK Supermarkets

There is NOTHING better than a UK supermarket I reckon. So cheap, so many options, so many take away options…they are just better. They make eating cheaply so easy to do – and if the weather is good perfect for picnics. The £6 rose from M&S was particularly good! As were the £6 peonies. Don’t get Miss rabbit started on the M&S onion rings either. They are crack to her.

The Tube

No easier way to get around any city the underground in London is the easiest of all I reckon. Grab an Oyster Card and top it up easily at any machine you can get ANYWHERE in no time at all. Seriously, it’s a joke just how bad public transport is in Australia (Sydney particularly so) it always surprises me after time away from London how easy and quick it is. You never wait longer than 2 minutes for a train. This time around I also just used my debit card to tap in and out (this wasn’t around last time) and made it super easy if I had forgotten to top up. Get your shit together Australia!

The Parks & Birdsong

The first morning that I woke in London and heard the birds tweeting I was instantly transported back to the last time we were there and how pretty the birds sound. They are sweet and not the wild cockatoos or Magpies that wake us here. I LOVE them. And don’t get me started on the green of the parks. SO beautiful. Thos little pockets of green all around the city are sanctuaries – much like in New York.

Ice creams in the sunshine

I know there are lots of places all around the world that do better ice creams than the Brits do, but for some reason they will always remind me of the place. Maybe because last time we went all I did was bribe the kids with ice creams to get anywhere…but there is just something so good about sitting in the park or sitting down on a bench after lots of walking and eating an ice cream and watching the world go by.

Our Air BnB

Air BnB has never let me down all over the world (we have used them in New York, London, Edinburgh, Rome, Florence, Tuscany and again in London) and you just can’t beat having your own space. Beats hotels a million times over! We stayed in Notting Hill this time in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with laundry facilities and kitchen – and it ended up costing about $340 AUD a night. Pretty bloody good I reckon. They always come with good local knowledge and tips as well and every single host I have used has answered any questions and been lovely and helpful.

Picnics in the Park

With all those gorgeous parks to chose from AND all those cheap supermarket goods to choose from, how can you not get out into those green lawns and soak up a picnic. I LOVE doing this so much in London and throughout the UK especially…watching squirrels jump around, seeing fancy prams being walked, kids on scooters, it’s just wonderful.

The doorways of Notting Hill

I had never spent time in this part of London before (last time with the kids we stayed over the river in Battersea) but I fell in love HARD for these streets and doorways…so much colour and beauty everywhere to be seen. Everywhere was an Instagram moment waiting to happen!

The superior shopping

Whilst Australia has come a long way in terms of shopping and online shopping has changed the game forever, there is something about shopping in London. Great shops, affordable stuff (like M&S and hello Primark!) and the really fancy ones that you can afford nothing in just are lovely to have a wander about. We went in and out of boutiques all along Marylebone High Street buying nothing but soaking up proper high street shopping. Nothing like it and sadly fast dying here in Australia.

English Pubs

Standing on the street! Bottles of rose in the gardens out the back! Great hidden gems of Their food and the like! Fancy powder rooms in more fancier bars (like The Ned above) all make for such wonderful afternoons and evenings. They are packed with character and people and that 11pm dining of the bell is so English and wonderful. Loved our times in them!

Travelling buddies

I travelled with two of my best mates (one of them being my sister) and boy did we have some fun. So different from travelling with small kids or with your partner – being with your mates truly makes for a wonderful trip. Even the sitting around in pj’s having tea in the morning is a treat – being able to finish conversations without interruptions of normal day to life was a treat that I relished every minute of.

Oh the memories…all locked away until the next time I get tired or cranky about something. While life will go much as it always has, with each trip taken something changes within us, that changes everything. Like a quote I once saw, I think of all the books in the world, perhaps the most exciting is what comes between the pages of our passport: experiences, adventures, moments in time that make us feel truly alive. That remind us of all the good we have in our lives. And create a yearn for more travel to do it all over again.

There’s nothing like it! NOTHING.

Planning a holiday? Where to?
Need an adventure? BOOK A HOLIDAY!
What are your favourite parts of London?

Comments

  1. Debs Sutton says:

    So happy to see that London Town put on her best show for you all! Shame you couldn’t have stayed a wee bit longer and gone to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Beth you would have adored it. Thanks for coming to my neck of the woods!!

  2. Never been out of Australia, and probably never will. But golly you make it sound so wonderful, just the daily ordinaryness of it.
    Cheers Kate

  3. pauline says:

    Hi Beth

    Your trip was amazing and the weather looked just beautiful.

    I’m off to France on July 2 for two months. I had major surgery last year and this is my reward for surviving. Plus, we’ve spoiled ourselves and we’re flying business. I can’t wait.

  4. Dawn Walden says:

    Thank you for sharing. 👌 The photos, the blog, the wedding , the mateship, just everything was absolutely superb. At times, I was teary with your comentation! Now I’m looking forward even more to my trip to the UK in July… hopefully, but not confirmed (as yet) with my Olympus in hand.. I just need to check a few bits with you.. Thanks again Beth , superb. 👌.

  5. Thank you for your great London story with lots of lovely suggestions, looks like you had such a terrific time. We are off to London in December to visit our son who has recently moved there, and we can’t wait. Love the travel quote too. 😊

  6. I really enjoyed reading about this trip , it has got me all inspired as I am traveling with my bestie and our husbands in August, we are Air b&d it’s as well , staying near Hyde park for 10 days, now I’m excited, thank you so much for sharing the great memories.

  7. The dessert selections at the M&S Food Hall is what I believe heaven to be like.

    If they opened down here, can you imagine how fat and broke we’d be?!

  8. Oh Beth I have loved your adventure. So very exciting and delivered so many memories of magnificent London. I was there November 2017, celebrating my eldest daughters 21st birthday. Drooled over the Sketch interiors during a late afternoon tea followed by the Lion King on West End, just so very brilliant.

    My next adventure is this September…….taking in the colour, craziness, shopping, smells and generally getting lost in Morocco.

    I resonate so deeply with the quote you shared. Nothing like travel to deepen the soul and to appreciate home.

  9. I loved following your London adventure. I was in the UK and Europe this time last year and the Royal Wedding and trips like yours have helped to ease the pain of not bing there this year. I fell hard for London, especially Notting Hill and oh those parks I just wandered for days. I’ll be back for sure, always planning my next adventure!

  10. Great post Beth. It is so much fun heading away with girlfriends. I love nothing better than a girls road trip. Would love to do more overseas travel with some friends. Well done on the seats you booked on the plane!

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