Because our flight was delayed, we arrived in London an hour behind schedule, though that didn't really matter all that much. We flew into London Luton and hopped on the shuttle which took us to the train station and then hopped on the train that took us to St. Pancras. Then, we hopped on the tube from King's Cross St. Pancras to the most logical stop closest to our hotel, which was Borough. From there, we had about a half a mile walk to the hotel. It was quite a bit of traveling with our luggage in tow and by the time we arrived at our hotel, we were pretty exhausted and hungry.
For dinner, we really wanted to do a curry takeaway but realized that would make our room smelly. Plus, we didn't have much space in our room anyway and we'd likely end up spilling something on our comforter and in the end, it didn't seem worth it. So, we hopped on Yelp and found a restaurant called Mango Tree and headed over. Unfortunately, they were all booked up so they sent us over to their sister restaurant, Est. India, which was much larger with plenty of vacancies. We settled in and promptly ordered a bunch of food because our stomachs demanded it.
MONUMENT TO THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON
We stopped by to say hello to the Monument. We'd had plans to climb it but ended up abandoning them; the abandonment was a combination of laziness and forgetfulness. If you're curious, it opens at 9:30 and costs £4 (per adult) to climb. I read that the views are actually really quite nice so if you're looking for a kind of cheapo alternative to the London Eye, this might be your babe.
In the end, the missed views at the top of the Monument weren't a tragedy because our breakfast reservation was at the Sky Garden. I'd tried to just get some free tickets but they were all gone so I just booked in for breakfast. But you know what? We didn't even need to buy breakfast there because it's not like you're waited on. You buy your breakfast from a little breakfast bar and then sit at your (reserved) table. So I guess that's a helpful little trick. If the regular free tickets are all gone, just book in for breakfast and be real cheeky and skip out on eating and then your trip is free!
ST. DUNSTAN'S IN THE EAST
PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET
Hummingbird Bakery, because I also have visited this bakery on every trip to London, and grabbed a pair of cupcakes. M went for the s'mores (of course) and I went for Nutella (duh). She ended up eating her cupcake on the plane ride home whereas I had mine as a lunchtime pick-me-up on my first day back at work. They boast American-style cupcakes, which makes it kind of stupid that I keep going here, but I just love the decor and the cupcakes are really delicious.
We got off at the Paddington stop (shoutout to Paddington Bear!) and grabbed some of the Santander bike hires for £2 for 24 hours, which is such a good deal. We decided to bike around Little Venice. This was another lesser known site (at least to me) and it was so much fun. It's a really charming little area and we really enjoyed seeing it on bikes.
KING'S CROSS & HARRY POTTER SHOP
Previously, there was just a little half-trolley with the Platform 9¾ sign on its own and anyone could go and take a photo and there was no queue. Now, there's huge lines due to the fact that there's a huge Harry Potter store and every fan and semi-fan swarms the area like a plague of locusts.
The sweet tiers ended up being a bit too much sugar for us. And in the end, they almost made us feel sick. Smartly, the couple next to us only ate a few cakes and asked to wrap the rest in a doggie bag; I wish we had done the same.
ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
After tea, we actually had a poke around Oxford Street for a spot of shopping. I ended up buying a camel colored waistcoat from New Look and M got herself a super soft t-shirt. We decided it had been a long day already so we headed back towards our hotel but we got off at the St. Paul tube stop, which was just across the Thames from CitizenM, just so we could say we saw it.
Dream Jar Trail (it was only through 31 August). It was really cute. I didn't actually see the movie (I need to) but it was one of my favorite books as a kid. I mean, every Roald Dahl book was a favorite, right? This first one we encountered was Stephen's dream.
Then, we made our way across the Millenium Bridge; luckily there were no Death Eaters around.
Instead of being babies about not doing the London Eye, we decided to just walk around and enjoy the other sites. On our way to one of the random sites I had bookmarked on my map, we walked through Whitehall Gardens.
VICTORIA EMBANKMENT GARDENS
LAST SEWER GAS LAMP
While it was drizzling, we made it to the last gas lamp in London. Cute, right? I'm kidding. One would hardly realize what they were looking at if they were just wandering down the street. But basically, this lamp is powered by methane gas. And some clever person nicknamed this street 'Farting Lane,' you know, because it's Carting Lane and that's such an obvious joke.
MARKS & SPENCER
DUCK + RICE
Pimm's Cups at the bar and brought them up to our rooms so we could enjoy them with another free movie. With such a packed day, I think it took all of three seconds before we both conked out.