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London Calling, Part 2: Food, Shopping and all the Touristy Things

Yesterday, I talked about my decision to travel solo for the first time plus Days 1 and 2 of London. Today, I'm sharing the second half of the trip where I crossed a bunch of tourist sites off my list but also let myself just wander around and pretend for a hot second that I was a native Londoner.

Day 3

I started off my day with breakfast at Dalloway Terrace, another Instagram find, and probably the place I was second most excited about after Peggy Porschen Cakes. I was a huge fan of their aesthetic and seeing it in person did not disappoint. The fall foliage was on point and it was a beautiful spot to enjoy a peaceful morning where I had a full English breakfast yet again. 

From there I made my way over to The Tower of London. I spent way more time here that I expected to! I tend to breeze through sights (that's just how I am) but I found myself taking advantage of the history lessons it offered. I went on a Beefeaters tour which was informative, walked the grounds, saw the Crown Jewels and walked through the floors of the White Tower. 


After that I stopped by The National Portrait Gallery. My main reason for wanting to visit was to see portraits of Audrey Hepburn. I read online that they had some but due to a new exhibition, hers were moved. But I'm still glad I went! The Tudor and Elizabethan era portraits were gorgeous and it was particularly cool to see them after being at the Tower of London. They also had contemporary portraits like Ed Sheeran (was surprised to see that!) and the Queen which was one of my favorites. By the time I was done though, I ready for ice cream. After all that walking, it was nice to sit and enjoy two large scoops of ice cream from Udderlicious. And then it was time to go shopping! I visited another bookstore called Foyle's but walked out empty-handed. Then I went to Covent Garden Market which is this outdoor mall/shopping area that basically had every UK-brand I regularly order online from. I walked out with jewelry from Monica Vinader, a bag from Cambridge Satchel and then decided I needed to leave before I did any more damage.

During my trip, I had a habit of eating at my hotel room because I was usually pretty tired but on my third night, I went out to Bon Vivant, a French bistro down the street. It was lovely! The food was good and it was nice to see a tiny bit of the nightlife in Bloomsbury. 

Day 4

Ah my last day! And what a perfect last day it was. I went to Bloomsbury Coffee House where I got something other than an English breakfast for once. If I were a student or a writer, it's the kind of cafe where I could imagine myself spending hours at. Then I went directly to Westminster Abbey. I have to say a special thank you to Kelly for helping decide to put this on my list. I was between going to the abbey (which I'd never seen before) or going to St. Paul's Cathedral again because I didn't remember anything about it from my first trip. She said to go to Westminster and honestly, it was my absolute favorite tourist sight.

When I visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I remember thinking it was the most beautiful church I'd ever seen and in a lot of ways, I still think that because it's like a work of art. Westminster Abbey is just as beautiful but when I walked in and looked around, I was breathless from how sacred the place felt and how it was just teeming with history. I actually got pretty emotional especially when I saw the tombs of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Suddenly they weren't just these two "characters" I had read about in numerous historical fiction novels but real women who made their mark. It's the only church I've ever visited that made feel moved and humbled.


Afterwards I went to the London Eye which was most crowded touristy thing I did my entire trip. Luckily the line moved fairly quickly! It's funny, I'm actually afraid of heights but I'm a sucker for ferris wheels. I loved seeing this incredible bird's eye view of London and was snapping photos constantly as it made its rounds. From there, I went to Oxford Street for a quick lunch and more shopping but I found myself wanting to wander more than anything. I ended up at Daunt Bookstore which became my favorite bookstore that I visited. It's so beautiful!

Then I had two important appointments to make. One, I went to the actual Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross to take my Harry Potter photo. I bought a VIP pass ahead of time which was 100% worth it because as soon as you get there, you cut to the front of the line. It took all of 10 mins to take a photo and pick it up from the store. Two, I decided to get a manicure! On every day of my trip, I was walking a little over 7 miles and I just wanted to sit and get pampered for an hour. I went to Coco & Rachel which was the cutest! Their thing is "coffee and manicures" which is so smart (seriously, NYC you need to copy this idea). After that I decided to visit a bookstore near my hotel since it was on my list anyway and I had time. Persephone Books was my second favorite bookstore stop. They specialize in women's authors and they print their own books too. This time I had to walk out with something and I got The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

And finally, on my last night, I realized my hotel was next to an outdoor mall. I took a different way to walk back which led me straight through it. You can imagine how silly I felt when I made this discovery. But it was perfect because I got myself some takeout Japanese food, bubble tea and enjoyed a relaxing last night while I packed and stuffed seven books into my suitcase ☺

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The next day it was straight to the airport to make my flight but not without one last English breakfast to sustain me! Looking back on the trip to write these posts made me miss London even more. It was such an important and amazing experience for me to have and I'm so glad I did it. I think I foresee more solo trips in my future and I wouldn't be surprised if it was back to London again (and again). Consider it my new favorite European city or at least tied with Paris, which I also need to visit for a second time. 

Hope you enjoyed reading about my trip! If you've traveled solo or been to London, I'd love to hear about your experiences!

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