Finally! Off to Europe – we started planning this trip in 2019 before Covid!
Wednesday, August 30, 2023 – Thursday, August 31
Cleveland to Newark to Lisbon to London Flights
Thursday, August 31
Quick stop at a pub for dinner and a couple beers. I think there were more people in the street than in the pub!
London Night Sightseeing Tour
London by Night tour was interesting – about half the sights were cool at night, the other half, just hard to see!
The Queen’s Head
Night cap at another local pub, then some midnight tacos at a place that was serious about their hot sauce!
Friday, September 1, 2023
Quick stop for crumpets, coffee, and breakfast sandwich.
The Royal Mews
Tour of the Royal Mews. Originally used for carrier pigeons, now houses the horses, carriages, and vehicles used by the royal family.
No pictures allowed inside Buckingham Palace, so only the outside and a quick selfie with the King and Queen!
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
The Red Lion
Dinner at the Red Lion – ordered the “Pie Platter”, a selection of meat pies and British favorites.
River Thames Evening Tour
River Thames Evening Tour tonight. Went down the river and back – lots of cool views, good sunset and cool views of the buildings and bridges all lit up.
Chesire Cheese and The Albert
Quick stop at Cheshire Cheese and The Albert pubs before heading back to the apartment. Italian football game going on and the crowd at Cheshire was going crazy – sounded like an episode of Ted Lasso!
Saturday, September 2, 2023
Another busy day! Took a stroll across Tower Bridge before realizing we had early tickets for Tower of London and were supposed to do that first!
Tower of London
So much to see at the Tower of London! Between the Crown Jewels displays and the White Tower tour, we were there for a few hours.
Got to Dion’s restaurant for our lunch reservations and they were closed! So decided on quick lunch at Itsu Japanese, before a 3 hour historical pub tour.
Historical Pub Tour
Plan was to go to Leadenhall Market for shopping and dinner, but everything was closed by 6! Last minute change to American style BBQ at Bodean’s (the rib critic approved!),
And finally, a night cap at the 36th floor Sky Garden bar!
Sunday, September 3, 2023
Final full day in London.
Had to switch accommodations – in all our planning, replanning and rescheduling due to Covid, we only reserved 3 nights instead of 4 at the VRBO – that was fun hauling our luggage around London! Since we couldn’t check into the hotel until later, we found a place via Bounce that would store our luggage for the day for £4. But upon returning for our luggage, we found they had transferred our bags to another store across the street (which seemed weird to us!)
We grabbed breakfast at the Blue Door Bistro at the Montague Hotel before spending several hours at the British Museum – they have huge collections of Egyptian and Greek artifacts and, of course, all other cultures.
Grabbed some quick lunch across from the British Museum and checked off “Yorkshire Pudding” from the bucket list.
We had just enough time to check into the new hotel and freshen up before “Dinner and a Show” – a Shakespearean play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre! We grabbed dinner at the Swan restaurant at the Globe before the show and Betsy was ecstatic when she found we could still order Afternoon Tea (she’s been trying to squeeze it into our schedule). The tea sets were interesting – all MacBeth themed. The play was “As You Like It” – we weren’t familiar with this play and got a bit lost a couple of times, but an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel
History has it that this building was commissioned by Edward VII as a private residence for his mistress, Lillie Langtry.
Monday, September 4, 2023
Started off Monday with breakfast at the hotel, then a quick trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We did a self-guided audio tour which gave a lot of information on the history and current state of the cathedral.
Next, check out of the hotel and head to the EuroStar high speed train to Paris.