Before delving too deeply into my most recent excursion to London, I do feel the need to specify something fairly important. This trip is the first that I have handled planning mostly on my own and done on my own. Yes, I flew to Korea by myself. But Jon was at the other end waiting for me. With this one, I was on my own when I landed in Heathrow. Granted, I am very familiar with London, so getting to my hotel wasn’t overly difficult. But it was still nerve-wracking.
I arrived the day before my friend from the States did, so I had the joy of finding the hotel and figuring out my relation to everything. I really didn’t do too much that first night, just checked into our hotel (Grange Rochester by Victoria) and made my way to Oxford Street for shopping. Since it was Christmas, I hoped to knock out some gifts for people. I’m ashamed to admit that everything I bought there was for me, but that’s mainly because it was somewhat late, crowded, and cold.
Oxford Street, however, was beautiful. They strung Christmas lights and it was just magical all around. The first time I visited London, I was introduced to Oxford Street by my friend Erica. She took me into Top Shop, showed me the end at Hyde Park, and a few other things. So it was fun and interesting to compare this experience with that one. Honestly, it was vastly different. I don’t remember too much about Oxford Street except that it was busy and had a lot of shops. This time I let myself wander a bit (and find Lush) before heading to Covent Garden for dinner.
The next day, I met Lindsey at the airport, dropped her at the room, and then went to Westminster Abbey. I hadn’t visited it to this point, so I was excited to delve into it since I knew there is a special little place inside called Poet’s Corner. Besides the price (£20, ew), it was well worth it. I remember seeing it when William and Kate married, so it was cool being where they were that day. The audio guides are free, so I definitely recommend grabbing one before starting your tour otherwise you can try to book a guided tour or just wander with no guidance.
The Abbey is stunning and, unfortunately, guests are not allowed to take photos of the inside. So I don’t have anything to show you for it. But, let me tell you, Poet’s Corner lives up to everything I imagined. They have a beautiful floor mural that honors some of the most famous British authors. Then, the walls are covered in busts and memorial’s to some of the same as well as different authors. It is awe-inspiring. I sat down for a little bit to come to terms with being somewhere I taught about and that is full of so much history.
It was disappointing that I not only could not take pictures, but that they didn’t have a postcard in the gift shop of that floor mural, so I had to settle for a Shakespeare postcard (and what a way to settle, right?). I also picked up a few other knick-knacks before taking some more touristy pictures outside and heading back to the hotel. Lindsey and I did do something that night, but it deserves its own post because it was epic. Just know that it was…magical.
Overall, London is one of those places that I just love returning to. While planning out what I wanted to do while I was there by myself, I came across so many different things I still haven’t visited. I definitely plan to return to London at some point to try and knock some more off my list.