Day 3 in London I got up early and went for a run!!! It was pretty cold outside (in the low 20’s) but I enjoy the cold…DO NOT quote Frozen, I swear to all that is evil that movie…….sorry…..moving on. Ok I went for a 4 mile run and it was pretty cool. I wish the sun came out so I could have enjoyed seeing a little more but I had a nice run none the less. Bonus, I ran…literally…across some cool London sculptures. Most I didnt stop to take pictures of but this one below was the half way point and was super cool so I had to stop.
After the run we had a pretty busy day planned. First was Hampton Garden and Palace, London Eye, Big Ben, Parliment, Westminster Abbey, St. Stephen’s Tavern, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub, Ye Olde Mitre Pub, then Rock and Sole Plaice for dinner and a gelato place for dessert. Lets dive in!
Hampton Court Palace and Gardens (Where the Tudors lived): Admission was included with the London Pass so we had to check it out. This was an hour train ride away from the hotel so we left around 7:30am to get there before it opened. We actually ended up getting there about an hour before the palace opened but luckily the gardens were open so we wandered around the gardens while we waited for the Palace to open. I LOVED these gardens. They were better than what I pictured, green, expansive and there was a MAZE!!!!! We didnt get to do the maze it wasnt open in the winter, but how cool!!!!!! The Palace was pretty boring to me and truth be told I was freezing by this time and kinda miserable. There was no heat in the palace anywhere but the kitchens and today was the coldest day of the trip. We had an audio guided tour but we ended up leaving after about 45 minutes in the actual Palace to see other things. I think if it was warmer and had more time to spend there we would have, but as it was there were other things I wanted to see and do.
London Eye: While it was closed for refurbishment literally the entire time we were there (plus 2 days…how ironic right) I still wanted to go by and see the view from the river. It was super windy but was a nice walk. Side note…after we got off the train we stopped by a supermarket type store in the train station and grabbed some snacks which ended up being our lunch. London was 10000% more sight based than food based 🙂 Its too bad we didnt get to take a ride but the views were really nice even from the street.
Big Ben/Parliament: We didnt want to pay for a tour of Parliament (history, snooze) but I definitely wanted to see it and Joe reminded me that Robert Downey Jr AKA Sherlock jumped out of one of the windows. Both buildings are super impressive and beautiful up close. We even got to hear Big Ben chime a few times while we were in the area. From this side of the bridge there were great views of the city as well. Lots of people out walking but not nearly what I would imagine summertime to be like.
Westminster Abbey: Again included with the London Pass we got admission to the church as well as an audio guide. There was no line again to enter and the crowds in the church were very minimal. We were able to move around easily. Photography was not allowed so I dont have any pictures from inside the church but the details were beautiful. I dont know why but Im always surprised at the amount of graves that are inside the church. Interesting stories behind why people were places where and the meaning behind their graves. If you are in London make sure and take the time to do the audio tour. We didnt go into some of the other off shoot chambers and the gardens were closed for the season.
St Stephen’s Tavern: My coworker is from Essex so naturally I asked him all the best places to visit. He mentioned almost all the places we have been so far but also added this pub because of its view. Its a tiny hole in the wall but we managed to get a get table (probably because it was 3pm) with a nice view. We just had a pint each (mine cider, Joe’s a beer) then headed on to our next stop.
St. Paul’s Cathedral: You could take a tour, but its not included in the London Pass and Im a tiny bit tired of touring churches (Italy Im looking at you). We stopped by to see the exterior because everyone says you have to go by but didnt go it. Im not sad about it, there are only so many churches I can tour.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Tavern: Surprise surprise, I researched the oldest pubs in London and this one was rebuilt after the “Great fire” in 1666 but a pub has stood at this location since 1538. Its even more cramped than St. John’s but has beautiful creaky old wood floors, a extremely old fireplace and very little light making a nice dark cave. I really enjoyed the old musty atmosphere and thought it fit my picture of an old pub 100%. I got a pint of cider Joe got a pint of beer. Another bonus, its way off the beaten track and a little tricky to find. Hidden gem at its finest.
Ye Olde Mitre Pub: Again this one was really hard to find but also fit the bill of what I think an old pub should be. This pub was established in 1546 and has some really great charm inside. I didnt want to be a creeper and take a ton of pictures in either (all pubs had quite a few patrons, all perfectly British) but Im happy to say I finally got the pubs I wish I could have found in Boston. If you find yourself in London you would be in good company at any of these 3 taverns/pubs. I got a 1/2 pint of cider and Joe got a full pint of beer.
Rock and Sole Fish Plaice: Another fish and chips place that was on a lot of top 10 lists was the Rock and Sole Fish Plaice (cute name right). We didn’t have reservations but were starving around 5:30pm so figured we wouldn’t need one anyway. Turns out Brits eat pretty early! Each restaurant we have been to before 6:30pm has been pretty busy. This hole in the wall restaurant was no exception. We got the last table! I ordered the standard cod filet and Joe got the Haddock. The fish here was very fresh, flaky and cooked well. This chips weren’t as good but still better than I expected when looking at them. Here you also get a full size bottle of ketchup for the table, a good size container of tarter sauce and malted vinegar for the table. We ordered the large sizes because we were so hungry and there were no survivors. Full review and comparison of the two fish and chips places coming soon but I liked this joint much better than the first.
Dessert: Across the street was this gelato place that caught my eye on the way to Rock and Sole that we went to after dinner. Dont get me wrong, I was stuffed…but I always have room for dessert! I got the belgium waffle with nutella and strawberries. Contrary to the waffle place yesterday, this waffle was not fresh but reheated in a microwave and topped with melted nutella and strawberries. The waffle was reheated too much and ended up burning my mouth…fail. Even so it was clearly an old waffle and should have been thrown out. Granted it was late, but still, I dont want a day old waffle. Oh well, cant win them all. Joe got gelato in a cone and said it wasnt anything special but was pretty good.
After waffles we went back to the hotel to start packing up for our hotel move tomorrow and HARRY POTTER TOUR!!!!! We were in bed by 9pm. Sad I know but there isnt much to do in London after dark and Im not the clubbing type. Dont judge me! 😀
CHIME IN!!! Beer or hard cider? Where are you traveling to next? Do you like to tour old churches?