Sometimes it is fun to go with the flow and wander around a city and get lost, but when you are short on time and want to see a lot you have strategize your plan for the day. The first thing I did was sit down and list out major parts of the city I wanted to see from the lists friends and family had sent my way. I planned out areas that were close to where we were staying and then made a big circle on the map, so by the end of the day we ended close to homebase.
App to download: Maps.Me
This is a map that works offline and was the most useful thing we used while we were in each city.
Tip: Pick restaurants first, make your list and then pin the spots based on your stops around the city.
Like I said, we had a lot of people give us recommendations about London. It was helpful, but also overwhelming. We didn’t know which ones to choose, or where they were in proximity to where we were. Austin and I also get VERY “hangry,” so deciding on restaurants early on really helped smooth over the hypothetical argument we would have had later in the day.
The start of our day began at the Tower of London, which was 5 minutes from where we were staying, so we took our photos quickly before the crowds swooped in and went on our merry way. The next stop was Tower Bridge; it appeared very large and out of nowhere as we abruptly turned the street corner a few blocks down from Tower of London. As beautiful and magnificent the stunning piece of Gothic Revival architecture is up-close, the best views of it are from the Thames River Walk on the Bankside. I compare this similarly to people who go to Paris and want to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The tower is the view so why would you want to be standing on it?
To get down to the river walk is easy, you loop around a side street and keep going until you see a park with a Starbucks; this is Potters Field Park. You keep walking and the Tower Bridge pops up again, but above you in a far more substantial panorama.
The river walk is modern, upbeat and has some fun little outdoor patio restaurants where you can sit and enjoy the view. There is also Hay’s Galleria, which in 1651 was a Brewhouse turned wharf to bring in tea to London and now houses restaurants, offices and flats.
We continued our walk along the Thames River and passed London Bridge, Millennium Bridge and The Globe Theatre. We crossed over the water and then were awe-struck standing in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, which we kind of stumbled upon by accident, but is almost as big as the Duomo in Florence (I could be totally wrong, I’m just so short that everything looks huge to me.) Afterwards we hopped on the Tube to Westminster and that’s where I will leave you all until my next post!