In almost 15 years together, husband and I have only visited London together once. Shocking, I know. And unfortunately, as he’d only just had a knee operation and spent the trip hobbling around on crutches, we didn’t manage to do much.
So I bought him (read: us) a trip to London as a Christmas gift!
We travelled down for the weekend at the end of January and had such a good time. I barely even took any photos, which is unusual for me. The trip reminded me that travel doesn’t always have to be about planes and passports, there are just as many amazing places to visit in the UK.
And even though it’s around a three hour train journey to London for us, it still feels easier than faffing around at the airport.
Even though we were only in London for two nights, we managed to pack a lot into the trip.
Qbic Hotel London City
I booked two nights in the Qbic Hotel, which is just round the corner from Brick Lane. It’s a trendy eco-friendly hotel full of quirky little details. The bedrooms are based on a cube design – the bed and bathroom are built into a cube frame and slotted into the room. It’s a really funky place to stay and was pretty cheap compared to most places in London.
The location is really handy too, as it’s just across the road from Aldgate East tube station so it was a direct trip for us from King’s Cross.
BU21 @ Trafalgar Studios
One thing husband and I struggle with whenever we go on holiday is finding fun things to do in the evening, as we’re not big bar hoppers.
So I took the initiative and scheduled a trip to the theatre. Hubs isn’t a big arts person, and I prefer the small and quirky to the big budget musicals, so we went for BU21, a comedy about terrorism.
Yes that sounds like an unlikely subject for a play, but it was really good.
Set in London after an act of terrorism brings down a passenger plane on Fulham, destroying rows of houses and killing huge numbers of people, the play follows six members of a support group for those affected who are struggling to come to terms with the experience.
It’s pure black humour, but it’s clever and the actors really sell the story. The play takes place in a small space where the actors move in and out through the audience, so it also has an interactive feel.
Definitely worth checking out.
Natural History Museum and South Kensington
We called into the Natural History Museum on Saturday morning and I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed.
There are a lot of display boards with text on them but not as many show-stopping exhibits as I was expecting. Saying that, the place was packed with families and the children seemed to be having a brilliant time, so it’s worth a visit if you have little ones. The dinosaurs are especially popular.
For me, the most impressive part was the entrance to the Earth exhibit, as you take an escalator up inside a giant lava covered globe.
We didn’t spend as long in the museum as planned, so instead we wandered around Kensington muttering over the adverts in estate agent windows (£2 mil for that! It’s only got two bedrooms!), eyeing the cars in the Lamborghini dealership and savouring the smells from a pop up farmers market. It’s definitely a place to visit if you want to check out how the other half lives.
A Science Themed Afternoon Tea @ The Ampersand Hotel
The last time we went to London, I’d booked afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel in Kensington but we weren’t able to get there thanks to a protest that was happening near Hyde Park.
I’ve been sad about this ever since, so I was excited to get another chance to go.
One of the reasons I was so keen to try this afternoon tea was it has a unique twist on the usual sandwiches and cakes. The Ampersand Hotel is near the Science Museum, and their afternoon tea is full of quirky little touches like mocktails in lab jars, dinosaur biscuits and planet shaped mousse.
Think science experiment meets patisserie. Yum.
Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace
After our afternoon tea, we wandered up to Hyde Park and enjoyed the sunshine exploring the grounds and strolling along the Serpentine, before heading towards Buckingham Palace.
It’s a classic tourist thing to do, but it’s a gorgeous walk and there’s plenty to see along the way.
Curry on Brick Lane
I’m not a big fan of spicy food so hubs always complains that he rarely gets to go for a meal in an Indian restaurant. As we were staying near Brick Lane, we had to make the most of it and have dinner there.
We went to Sheba, which receives plenty of recommendations online. The food was good and the service quick and attentive.
T2: Trainspotting in Shoreditch
This might actually be the thing I was most looking forward to. After dinner, we wandered up Brick Lane to Shoreditch, to the Rich Mix arts centre to see the new Trainspotting film.
If you haven’t seen it yet get thee to the cinema, it’s a brilliant blend of nostalgia, humour and pathos and I loved it.
And so our whirlwind trip to London was done, but I’m already plotting my next visit!