In my first London on a Budget post, I wrote about the good deal we received when we booked this trip, what some of our plans were for when we went to London, and how much we planned on spending. Our trip to London has now come and gone. It was an amazing trip. In this post, I am just going to share about some of the highlights from our trip.
Getting to London
I was a little nervous flying to London since it was my first flight across the Atlantic. We flew out of JFK AirPort in New York. The airline that we used was Norwegian Airlines. I highly recommend Norwegian Airlines. The price was great for a direct flight. The crew was friendly and provided the passengers with two meals on a 6-hour flight. They also have a whole new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s. It was the best flight I was ever on. We did not feel the takeoff or landing, the oxygen in the cabin is controlled to prevent jet lag, and the plane automatically adjusts the lighting for day or night flights. It was a pleasurable flight.
We stayed at the Mowbray Court Hotel located in Earls Court. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Earls Court Underground Station. The hotel was posh and the staff was helpful. It came with a nice centennial breakfast every morning. The room was clean. Our only complaint was that the room was small. I am a 210-pound man and barely fit in the shower. Other than that, I would recommend the hotel.
(Big Ben getting ready for repair)
Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath
Our first day trip was to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. We went with Golden Tours. Our tour guide who was named Graham did a great job. At Windsor Castle we saw incredible artwork, many centuries of British history, and impressive architecture. At Stonehenge, it was pouring rain and windy. We just ran up to the circle, took a photo, and ran back to the bus. By time we arrived in Bath, the weather cleared up and it was a sunny afternoon. Bath is a lovely town. We enjoyed walking around the Roman Baths, but enjoyed walking around the city even more. Of the three stops, Bath was our favorite and would return to visit there again.
Our trip to Paris was special because it was on our 10th wedding anniversary. We traveled to Paris from London on the Eurostar. The trip took about 2 hours. The neat part about the train ride was that it went under the English Channel. The first tour that we took in Paris was a Seine River cruise. It was nice, but raining, so we did not get to go on the top deck of the boat. Our second stop was the Eiffel Tower. The was my favorite stop in Paris. Photos do not capture how massive it truly is. Our last stop was the Louvre. The Louvre is a massive compound. We were not able to enter the museum. There was a security issue and they closed the museum for the afternoon. On our drive to the train station, we were able to see the Flame of Liberty Shrine near the tunnel where Princess Diana passed away. My wife enjoyed that because she was a fan of Princess Diana.
(The Eiffel Tower on a Rainy Day)
The London Eye
I am not fond of heights or long lines of people. My wife did, however, manage to talk me into going on the London Eye. We purchased the express pass and the wait in line took only 20 minutes. I am happy that I agreed and experienced the view from the top of the giant Ferris wheel. From the top, one can take in a view of the whole city of London. The ride lasts 30 minutes and a single car holds more than 20 people.
(The London Eye)
The London Pass
For our last three days, we purchased the London Pass. There is great value if you use it correctly and take in all the attractions. We did not get value out of the London Pass. We only used it for the Oyster Card to ride the subway and for a boat ride on the Thames River cruise. For our last three days, we wanted to see the city. We did not want to go on anymore guided tours. While I enjoyed seeing Big Ben and Westminster Abby, I really wanted to go and hang out in Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Notting Hill.
Many people who have been to both London and Paris told me that the food is much better in Paris. While we did enjoy, lunch at the Eiffel Tower, I found the variety of different types of cuisine in London to be outstanding. We had Chinese in Chinatown, Indian, Turkish, and traditional British pub food. I enjoyed fish and chips at the Punch & Judy. The curry chicken pie at Battersea Pie Station was delicious. My favorite meal was the Tikka Masala at the Masala Zone.
We did manage to just stay within our budget of keeping the whole trip to under $5,000. The meals were less expensive than I had planned for and the only art we bought was a miniature Mind the Gap sign. With our extra money, my wife did a little shopping at Harrods. The only souvenir that I purchased was a sweatshirt from The London School of Economics. As a finance nerd, it was cool getting to visit the campus and bookstore at LSE.
(The London School of Economics)
While London is an expensive city, it is also a lovely city. It might have been the cleanest city that I have ever visited. For a large city, it also felt safe because of the large police presence. I would love to visit London again, but it might not be soon because of how expensive it is. If you are looking for a trip to celebrate a special occasion, I would highly recommend visiting London for 5 days, take a 1 day trip to Bath, and to take a 1 day trip to Paris. My wife and I both found that mix to be perfect.