Olivia's Guide to London

Hello Lovely,

It’s no secret I love to travel. In the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in St. Croix,  Exuma, and now London, Amsterdam and Switzerland. I didn't really get to share my trip to Exuma with you guys other than a few photos on Instagram; so when I was in London, I couldn't wait to write about my experiences. 

Now, if you’re just here for the recipes – no hard feelings. I totally get it! But I wanted to let you know travel posts will be a new thing around here, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting a sneak peak into my adventures.

So without further ado, let’s dive into my guide to London.

My travel companion for this trip was my best friend from college who is also my ex, Doran (yes I'm actually best friends with my ex). I was supposed to go on a European cruise with my last boyfriend but when we broke up, I knew that wouldn't work any more. I didn't want to miss out on my European adventures so I called up Doran while I was in Exuma, asked him if I could stay with him for two weeks and he agreed. So all I had to do was pay for airfare and ground transportation and I bought all of the tickets for us to get to Amsterdam, Switzerland and back to London in advance (I'll share more on that in a separate post).

Oddly enough I was super sick on the flight to London. My acid reflux flared badly (to be honest it had been a problem for two weeks leading up to my trip) so I was in a lot of pain on the plane. I couldn't do anything and I could hardly move. I almost requested an emergency landing for medical attention but I suffered through. Upon landing, I didn't feel any better. And to make matters worse, my friend forgot that I was flying through Gatwick and went to Heathrow instead. So I had to book a coach to take me from Gatwick to Heathrow, which was really easy to do and cost me just under £30.

Once I was settled in, I drank tea for two days, got back on my Nexium and ate better.

Where we ate:

Keat's Cafe: This was my favourite place to eat. It's budget friendly, food is ready in 10 minutes or less and presentation is great! It was just around the block from where I stayed making it super convenient for me to pop in for a latte. I was so impressed by the glass and spoons, I went to Poundland and bought 2 latte glasses and latte spoons for £1 each. Two people can eat here for £15 or less depending on what you order. Just walk in and grab a seat and a waiter will come to you.

Bill's (New Broadway, Ealing): The perfect date night spot, Doran and I ate here on a Friday night before walking up the street to a bar for a night of dancing. Dinner for two can be less than £40. It's very close to the Ealing Broadway Tube Station and it's open pretty late. Our joke of the night was me trying to get through the Diablo Gnocchi without dying. I thought asking for no spicy sausage would eliminate all spices but the sauce itself is spicy. The waiter was also really accomodating when I asked to change my drink because the Pimms Summer Punch ended up having cucumber in it, which I ABSOLUTELY HATE. Even without the cucumber it just had too much going on, so I settled on a nice Rose.

We also ate from a pizza place that offered 4 toppings on a 9" for only £3.99 and a Thai place in Westfield Mall (I also can't remember the name of this place).

Where we Partied

The Lodge Tavern: After dinner we walked up the street to The Lodge Tavern. It's gorgeous on the outside, nearby the tube station and adjacent to a bus stop making getting home after a night of partying very convenient. Oh and free adminsion!The DJ on deck (can't remember his name) was great. We danced to Top 40 mostly and drank Heineken. It was a fun and safe environment.

Where we Shopped:

Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre: I'm not ashamed to admit that I went here twice during my stay! The first time I went straight to Primark and I am in love with that store now! The second time was to exchange a few items at Primark for larger sizes, and pick up a few gifts at the other stores. I love this place and it's never too crowded that you can't enjoy your shopping experience.

Westfield Mall: This place seems to be the mall everyone shops at. It reminds me of Aventura Mall  x3. It's so big! There's luxury high end stores and regular stores for the average person like myself. It was my first time ever walking into a Zara store so I was super excited. But the almost hour long wait just to check out was enough to drive me up the wall. The food court has a lot of great options and there always seems to be something happening here. You've got to check this mall out (just be prepared to spend the whole day here).

Where I Toured

This is the one I enjoyed the most! I booked a Vintage Double Decker for my first full day and saw all of the major sights of London including Big Ben, London Tower, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the London Eye. I enjoyed the cruise on the Thames River as I got to see Parliament, MI5 and MI6 and the school that Daniel Radcliffe went to before joining the cast of Harry Potter. My tour guide was awesome but sadly due to all of the excitement, I don't remember half of what he said. I really only remember that you will never see IV on a church clock or clock tower to represent 4. And he was right. Even when we went to Switzerland, they all said IIII. This is because Charles V of France complained about the use of IV on a clock made by Henry de Vick and demanded it be changed to IIII. Ever since then it's been customary to just use IIII instead of IV. And now you know!

Two days later, I went on the most magical experience of my life! I took a tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Bath. I found Windsor Castle to be highly overrated and Stonehenge to be a little underwhelming (I have no idea why). But Salisbury took my breath away! I was so angry that my camera battery died at this point and in an effort to curb my spending on trinkets, I left my bag with the backup batteries and my cellphone on the tour bus which was parked over a mile away. It was here that I saw an original copy of the Magna Carter and had a lovely conversation with a female Methodist priest. (Just so you know, like almost every other church in England, the church is Anglican).

The city of Bath was nice as well where I finally tried Costa coffee (it's everywhere in England and totally overrated). Although everything seemed more expensive in Bath, the desserts were at a great price and SOOOOOOOOO DELICIOUS! I had the strawberry and rhubarb and I was so hungry I can't even remember which pastry I got for lunch but I remember being highly satisfied.

It was a very long drive back to the city of London and I actually got on the wrong train coming back home (twice). I actually cried hysterically when I realised I got on the wrong train again so luckily a nice lady on the side of me named Candy helped me to get on the right train because she was headed to the same station. Silly me didn't realise the train desitnation was on a marquee on the front of the train and a marquee at the station let you know when to expect the train. Thank goodness I never made that mistake again. (Who am I kidding? We totally got on the wrong train in Switzerland, but my friend is completely to blame for that and that's another story for another day).

Question: Have you been to London? What were your favourite spots? I was there for nearly 2 weeks and in hindsight I know there’s so much more we could have seen (and eaten) if I weren't so sick and afraid of getting lost. Do you have any recommendations for where I should vacation next? Share in the comment section below and don't forget to subscribe for the newsletter!