Updated: Sep 9, 2022
It was a gorgeous sunny day for a 10 mile walk around London.
We ended our Ireland leg of the trip and now we were off to London for one full day. We flew from Cork, Ireland to London Heathrow Airport. I looked up some places to get a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and everything was super expensive. We decided to try the Underground but we were apprehensive because we had our big luggage and hadn’t done it before.
When we arrived, we went to one of the counters so we could talk to someone about how to get to our hotel. The guy was awesome and put the amount we needed on the Oyster Card and told us what lines to take. It was worth it for how much money we saved! I ended up sitting next to the nicest couple who were here visiting their daughter. They were from South Africa and after talking to them I was already planning a trip there in my head.
We made it to Waterloo after 2 different transfers. It was not easy lugging around a big suitcase through the people but I felt very accomplished once we did it. I plugged in the hotel address in my phone’s maps and we walked to the hotel. Our hotel was not too far of a walk from the Underground station. London was very busy, including our hotel probably because we arrived close to dinner time on a Thursday night.
The hotel room was super tiny for 3 people. It had a small queen bed and a pull-out bed which pretty much took up the entire room. London had a very different vibe to it compared to Ireland where we just spent 7 days. We had dinner at the hotel because we didn’t feel like going anywhere. Then we went to bed and watched our usual game shows and ate lots of bon bons from Ireland.
We started out early and the day looked like it was going to be beautiful, sunny and 50 degrees! I hear this is a rare occasion so I was happy that our only full day in London was this day. We passed several bus stops and there were lines upon lines to get on the bus probably because it was Friday and rush hour.
The Westminster Bridge was where we decided to cross over the River Thames so we could see Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster and the Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, Big Ben was completely under construction and all you could see was the face of the clock. We stopped to visit the Abbey but it was quite expensive to go inside so we just stopped at the gift store plus we didn’t have a lot of time if we wanted to see everything on our list.
After that we walked the Birdcage Walk past St. James Park to the Buckingham Palace. I didn’t really know what to expect but it wasn’t as grand as I originally thought it would be. The changing of the guards was in an hour so we debated on staying or heading out. We ended up staying and watching the guards enter the palace and then we left because we couldn’t really see anything and it was packed with people.
Our next stop was to eat at the Hard Rock Café which was the original Hard Rock Café. Our server there was AMAZING! It was really good except almost impossible to get to as we didn’t realize there was an underground tunnel to cross this one road and my map was not helping. We walked past the Wellington Arch about 5 times then ended up going through Green Park and eventually able to cross. Our server gave us the directions on the way to get back to Hyde Park where the Winter Wonderland was taking place.
The line was very long to get into the Winter Wonderland and we weren’t interested in riding any rides so we explored Hyde Park a little more. I think my favorite part of the day was Lake Serpentine with all the birds. The swans would just walk right up to you and other birds would fly all over your head. The birds here were used to people and it was very entertaining. I wanted to stop at the Natural History Museum but there wasn’t enough time so we headed towards the London Bridge.
My sister wanted to stop at Covent Garden so we walked there before heading to the bridge. This was more walking then I would do in a week and it totaled 10 miles in one day. We were exhausted and I wanted to make it to the London Bridge at sunset which was 2 miles away.
If I could do it over I probably would have hopped on the underground to save us time and energy. We did get to experience more of London by walking the whole way, like Piccadilly Circus which reminded me of Times Square in New York. Watching the sun go down while we walked along the River Thames was fun to see.
We finally made it to the London Bridge which seemed like it would never happen! It was a great view of the Tower Bridge and it was pretty to see at night. After this, we headed back to the hotel which was another really long walk (1.5 miles). It was pretty dark and there were a few places I was glad it was the three of us travelling together. We got back to the hotel and basically collapsed.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and headed to the underground to get back to the airport. The nice thing about the Oyster card is that you can receive a refund for the money not used on the card. We got an early start so we could have plenty of time to get to the airport and return home. The return flight was non-stop to Minneapolis and wasn’t crowded at all so that was nice. I watched 5 movies, had a baileys on the rocks and enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to walk much that day.