I can’t believe that we were able to spend our 1 year wedding anniversary in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! We’ve been back for a few days now and all I can tell you, besides everything about the trip, is that I will definitely be going back at some point in my life. London is stunningly gorgeous with so much history behind almost every building, statue, and park you see. I couldn’t be happier to check off one of my 101 in 1001 goals – goal 74 – and I’m so excited to share our trip with you.
Basically what I want to do for the posts about our trip is to go into detail about what tours we took, where we stayed, and how we felt about everything we did. I’ll link all of the tours we did so you can check them out further if you’re interested. There will be a ton of pictures to go along with each post, so be prepared for architecture overload!
The Flight to Heathrow
Alright, so let’s start with the pre-day 1 flight across the pond from Miami to Heathrow. We left Miami around 6:00pm Friday night, with only 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on, and landed at Heathrow at 8:00am Saturday morning. This was my first overnight international flight and let me tell you, it was a little confusing. The flight overall was great though! We flew with Virgin Atlantic and all I can do is rave about them. The flight attendants were kind and helpful, the food was great, the in-flight entertainment was beyond amazing, and for economy, the seats were pretty comfortable.
Our Hotel on The River Thames
Once we landed in Heathrow we were greeted by our chauffeur, Oman, who took us to our hotel. When I booked the trip, I had no intention of staying in the fanciest of hotels. I knew that we’d barely be in our room because I had so many activities and tours planned. So basically we just needed a clean place to sleep. Well, we got more than that. We stayed at The Tower Hotel which is literally at the base of the Tower Bridge.
Every morning when we left the hotel to begin our day, we walked either past, over, or under the bridge. The hotel staff were so friendly and allowed us to check-in 5 hours early due to our international flight. The room was a bit small, but it was more than enough for Briam and I to sleep and shower in. Our room overlooked the River Thames which I was so grateful for because it was beautiful.
Tour for Muggles – A Harry Potter Walking Tour
After we got settled in to our hotel, we headed down to Borough Market to meet our tour guide Hannah Weasley to do our first London tour. Naturally we had to do a Harry Potter tour while we were in London! I picked the walking tour because it was only 2 hours long compared to the 6 and 8 hour tours of the actual studios. And with the 2 hour tour being a walk around London, we were able to see a few more sights, learn some Bridget Jones facts too, and get our Oyster card.
The tour was amazing and our guide was fantastic. She had extensive knowledge about the books and films that made the tour even more enjoyable. Everyone introduced themselves, declared what house we belonged to, and began to award points to those houses who could answer trivia questions correctly. It was so fun seeing the filming locations, learning how the sets were made, and learning tidbits about why certain places were chosen.
We ended the tour at a lovely street that was filled with different bookstores that inspired J.K. Rowling to create Diagon Alley. We explored for a bit and then got directions back to the hotel. I forgot all the direction our tour guide gave us and proceeded to get us lost. It took us 2.5 hours to walk back to the hotel! We couldn’t figure out the tube or remember which way the Tower Bridge was. Needless to say, our first day was very active.
London By Night Bus Tour
We finally made it back to the hotel just long enough to freshen up and head back out into the city to start our next tour. We ended up missing the first tour time which ended up being a much needed blessing. It gave us time to find the meeting point and find dinner. We ate at this little place called Patisserie Valerie and loved it. Briam had a beef lasagne and I had a croque-monsieur. Both were beyond delicious. We were so hungry by that point that we forgot to take a picture of our dinner!
It was so nice to sit and relax as we drove past some of the iconic landmarks while they were adorned with bright lights. It was a little hard to take pictures on a moving bus, but I managed to capture a few. I used my Canon G7 X Mark ii the whole time (except for when I forgot my 2nd battery) and Briam did a great job of capturing a ton of pictures on his phone.
Our tour guide was great and prepped us a few seconds before each picture to get the best view. While it’s only an hour and a half long, I definitely suggest this to anyone who wants to see the beauty of London at night. They had 2 tour times and you could buy your ticket right at the bus if you didn’t prepay for them. I’m notoriously prepared for everything, so I had ours printed already.
The End of Day 1
Day 1 was well over 36 hours of non-stop traveling, moving, and trying not to die from exhaustion. I wore my Fitbit the entire trip and the first day we walked over 13.5 miles each. But it was so worth it! We made it back to the hotel, after finally figuring out how to use the tube, after midnight. Needless to say, we took quick showers and went straight to bed. It was a great first day in London. Come back tomorrow to read about day 2!
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure.
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