Our London Trip

Happy Thursday, Friends! Several friends and relatives are currently planning trips to Europe. Chatting with them has me reminiscing about a trip my husband and I took to London and Paris exactly two years ago this month. When planning a trip, the first thing I do is ask friends for advice on where to stay, eat and any must-see spots. I’m sharing my advice on how we spent our time in London and Paris in hopes that it can take some of the stress out of planning your own trip. Today, I’m going to focus on London, where we spent the first half of our trip. Check back next week to read all about the second half of our trip, when we explored Paris.

Before you make a single decision when planning a trip to Europe, buy the most current Rick Steves book for the country you are planing to visit. This London travel book was invaluable in planning our trip. We followed his advice when planning our itinerary and choosing where to eat. We especially enjoyed his self-guided walking tours through neighborhoods and museums.

Best London Travel Book
Rick Steves London 2018

After researching many different options we decided to book our trip through Costco Travel. We have used Costco Travel in the past to book vacations to Maui, Hawaii and Disneyland and have never been disappointed.

Our package included:

  • Flight from SFO to Heathrow Airport (LHR)
  • Transportation from Heathrow to The Milestone Hotel
  • Accommodations at The Milestone Hotel (daily English breakfast, champagne afternoon tea, three-course dinner for 2 and private appointment with the hotel concierge are included)
  • $400 tour credit with Golden Tours (we used our credit for the following attractions: Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour, River Thames boat tour, Tower of London tickets with Beefeater tour, Westminster Abbey tickets, Kensington Palace tickets)
  • Transportation from London to Paris on Eurostar
  • Accommodations at the Westin Paris-Vendome (daily buffet breakfast included)
  • Transportation from The Westin Paris -Vendome to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport
  • Flight from CDG to SFO

Currently the price for this package from 10/15/18 – 10/22/18 is $5,153.

Itinerary

Day 1 London

  • Arrive at London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Check in at The Milestone Hotel
  • Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour (included in package)
  • Three-Course Dinner at The Milestone Hotel (included in package)

After a long flight we checked into The Milestone Hotel. We were impressed by the luxurious and charming accommodations. Next, we caught the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus just down the block from our hotel and spent the afternoon getting our bearings and seeing many of London’s most popular attractions. We headed back to the hotel for a delicious three-course dinner before collapsing into bed for the night.

Day 2 London

  • Breakfast at The Milestone Hotel (included in package)
  • Tower of London (included in package)
  • Boat Ride on the River Thames from Tower Piet to Embankment Pier (included in package)
  • Lunch at The Chandos pub (fish & chips)
  • Leicester Square
  • Picadilly Circus
  • Harrods
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Dinner at The Churchill Arms (Thai)

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the hotel before heading to The Tower of London. This was the landmark I was most excited to see since it has been the setting of some of my favorite books. It was amazing to look out a window overlooking the River Thames in the same spot where Anne Boleyn must have once stood. After viewing The Crown Jewels, we caught a boat from Tower Pier to Embankment Pier. From Embankment Pier we walked a short distance to The Chandos, a pub that had been recommended for their pints, fish and chips. Next, we walked to Piccadilly Circus and window shopped along Knightsbridge before taking a self-guided tour through the V&A museum with the help of Rick Steves Guide Book. Our day ended at The Churchill Arms pub back in Kensington for a yummy dinner of Thai food. The establishment was dripping with flowers both inside and out. It is much a popular spot, that we were told we had a time limit in which we had to finish our dinner so that they could accommodate all their customers.

Day 3 London

  • Breakfast at The Milestone Hotel
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Westminster Abbey Tour (included in package)
  • King’s Cross Station (Harry Potter platform)
  • Regent Street
  • Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason
  • Walk along Piccadilly and Knightsbridge back towards Kensington
  • Cocktails and a late night snack at The Milestone Hotel

Buckingham Palace was our first stop of the day. Unfortunately we missed viewing the Changing of the Guard ceremony because it only occurs on certain days and can be changed at a moment’s notice. We walked to Westminster Abbey from there and completed another self-guided tour. King’s Cross Station was our next stop, so that we could tell our children that we saw the Harry Potter platform. It wouldn’t be a trip to London without experiencing afternoon tea. We left the Fortnum & Mason Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon with full bellies and did a little souvenir shopping at Cath Kidston next door. We ended our last full day in London back at the hotel lounge where I tried my very first Pimm’s cocktail and had a late night snack.

Day 4 London

  • Breakfast at The Milestone Hotel (included in package
  • Kensington Palace (included in package)
  • Depart from London- St. Pancras (tickets and lunch included in package)

We had just enough time to see one more sight before catching the Eurostar at St. Pancras. We chose to walk across the street and explore Kensington Palace and the surrounding gardens. The fashion exhibit featuring sketches, photographs and dresses worn mainly by Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana was by far one of the highlights of the trip. I loved having the opportunity to see dresses up close that I remember admiring on the pages of People Magazine as a girl when Diana would be photographed at an event. My husband and I were also fascinated by a second exhibit that detailed the love story between Victoria and Albert. We could not have ended our time in London on a better note.

Although it took quite a bit of research and time to plan our trip, the end result was well worth it. We wouldn’t change a thing! Our accommodations at The Milestone Hotel were beyond anything we could have imagined, we never had a bad meal and we found London easy to get around, rich in history, and fun to explore. I can’t wait to go back and introduce our children to this fantastic city someday soon. Are you or someone you know planning a trip to London? Share or save this post by clicking on the Facebook, Pinterest, Print or Email button below. Happy Travels!

Leave a Reply