Last March Ricky, my mom and nephew booked our trip to London, England and Dublin, Ireland. First time for us all, so to say we were excited was an understatement, we were elated lol I mean, who wouldn't want take a trip just to hear those awesome accents?
-Make sure to bring comfy shoes, there is a lot of walking involved and plenty to see. We did on average, 10-12 hours of walking per day. It was insane. I bought the LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2 Running Shoe and they were so comfortable. I was pregnant so it was a definite must, they felt like pillows on my feet.
-Check out Sygic Travel for printable maps of sightseeing locations. They come handy because they tell you where all the major sites are and what they are located next to. You are able to plan out each day based on this, I've used them for multiple trips and highly recommend it.
Hotel: Hotel ibis London Blackfriars 49 Blackfriars Rd, London SE1 8NZ, UK (I liked this hotel, very clean but small rooms. Location was great, near many of the sites)
This is the walk we took from our hotel with Big Ben and the London Eye in the background. P.S. if you don't own a uniqlo jacket, go out and get one.
Currency: British Pounds (GBP)
Transportation: Get an Oyster card so that you can take the underground. It will take you everywhere, very similar to Paris and New York's subway system and super easy to navigate. There is also a hop on hop off tour that will take you to all the major sites and areas.
Weather: We went in mid-March and stayed till the beginning of April so the weather was still a bit chilly. I wore a sweater with my fav Uniqlo jacket on top. I got mine in the "wine" color and it was perfect because it rolls up and fits in the little sack it comes with so it was great to pack in my carry on and didn't take up much room. Highly recommend getting one of these.
Food: To be honest, I didn't encounter too many good restaurants but Indian food is a must, I ran into a couple good spots. And of course the typical London favorites like beans & toast, bangers (sausages) & mash, fish & chips, meat pie and of course some good ol' english tea. Nothing like having a tea party in London =)
A typical English breakfast. Served up with some typical English tea lol
Gymkhana: Indian Food 4.5 review on google
The Ledbury: this restaurant is situated in Notting Hill, awesome location and great food.
Taste of Nawab: It's a mix of Indian and Bengali food. Tandoori Chicken is amazing and the prices aren't bad.
The Ivy: Modern british food. Great little spot, awesome location and not far from Convent Garden.
Jack the Ripper Tour: I made it my mission to squeeze this in, the tour took you to all the sites of his murder victims and gave us the story of each one. A lot of the area's had changed so drastically that there were now buildings or parks covering the locations but there were still some original spots. So all in all, it was awesome and worth it.
Borough Market: I loved walking through here, if you've ever visited grand central market in Los Angeles it's super similar. Tons of eateries in an open warehouse type of setting, not only did they sell food but souvenirs and other crafts.
Harrods: If you love shopping, check out harrods and the surrounding area. Lots of high and low end shops for all budgets. I was in heaven =D
British Museum: I solely came to this museum for one thing and one thing only, that was the Rosetta Stone. It isn't as big as you'd think but I just love the history behind it.
Big Ben: We didn't do anything more that check it out from the street corner and take a couple selfies, the norm right? =D There are tours and your able to go inside and check stuff out.
Streets of London
Walking the streets of London and noticing all the pops of red, throughout the streets. I just fell in love with all the phone booths throughout the city. I never actually checked if they worked though lol
We took a tour I found on Viator which took us on a day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle & Oxford. I wish we were able to get closer to the stones but we were pretty far away than what the photo seems. We literally got out, took another small bus, took pics, made our way to the gift shop and rode back. The only thing to see there is the stones but it was one of the main reasons I made my way out to London. Oh and theres a lot of sheep/lambs around.
The Queens 2nd home, very beautiful area. Wonderful architecture and view. You can actually watch the soldiers march by, pretty cool.
If your a Beatles fan walking down abbey road is a must. It took many attempts to get this picture and lets just say you could hear a lot of honking while we were trying lol
Portobello Road Market
This was probably my favorite place to visit because of all the vintage shops, colorful buildings and amazing little food spots. It's a definite must to add to your list.
We finally made it to the big shiny gates. It was pretty cool to see it in person and watch the guards march across. We didn't get to go inside because it was closed due to high alert of terrorism.
Tower Bridge / London Tower
Was located right across the street from London Tower, I enjoyed the tour but got a bit bored towards the end. It was definitely an experience and highly recommend it. They have some cool crows that live on the premises and they are trained. So if you like animals thats pretty cool =)
-We were only in Dublin for 3 days, didn't get to go to the countryside, but if you do you can see an area where they filmed game of thrones, and if you know me then you'd know I was pretty sad for missing out on this.
Hotel: Maldron Hotel Parnell Square, Parnell Square West, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland (Clean hotel, nice sized room. Location was near Parnell square which has tons of shops and restaurants. The location a bit iffy)
Transportation: We mainly walked everywhere but there is a hop on hop off tour bus you can take advantage of. We also used the hotel concierge for taxis. Also note, we stayed in city area of Dublin, so walking worked for us, if you plan on visiting the country side (we didn't have enough time) then cars are a must.
Weather: Very cold, but bearable. Many gloomy days, didn't rain though.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Food: I loved the food, it was great. Of all the dishes I tried my favorite was the beef stew.
Flanagans: The beef and guinness pie was amazing. Definitely stop in for a bit to eat.
Kingfisher: They had a great Irish breakfast and the fish and chips were amazing, there was also a good Irish beef burger. SOOOOO good!
Sadly, I couldn't enjoy the beer, well maybe a tiny taste lol but it was fun to experience. The brewery has a cool bar at the top with glass windows all around, shows a great view of Dublin. Surprisingly its one of the tallest buildings there and its not even that high up.
We came across this little corner while wandering through Parnell Square. It was very gloomy during our entire trip but it was still so nice to wander through the streets.
I don't have the exact location of this little area but it was found while wandering through the back areas of Parnell Square. There were lots of pubs and places to eat.
The castle was very small so you didn't feel overwhelmed about missing out on anything and it was located in the center of Dublin. If your short on time and don't want to spend the money to enter you can skip completely, it was nice to see but wouldn't have been sad missing out on it.