TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR STAY:
DO 👉 Use OpenTable to pre-book restaurants you’d like to dine at. I highly recommend you do so because, it can be a real challenge, if not near impossible to walk into favorite restaurants the day you want to eat there.
DO 👉 Pick a combination of 4 to 8 key restaurants, shows, landmarks and shops you’d like to see. It is physically and mentally hard to do more than what I recommend in 48 hours. I was fighting jet lag, my feet killed from all the walking I did, I was experiencing sensory overload walking to my chosen restaurants, shows, landmarks and shops.
DO 👉 Devote at least 2-3 hours of time to spend at your restaurants/ shows/landmarks/shops of choice. The dining experiences in London were long. The show entrance lines were crowded, disorderly and it took time to get in as well as settled. The landmarks had tons of tourist and it was tough to get a good spot to take pictures. Additionally, most shops were packed with people trying on clothes, shoppers asking associates questions and had long check out lines. So don’t expect to get in and out of shops quickly. With this in mind, you really should think about the REALLY want to experience.
DO 👉 Bring shoes that you are incredibly comfortable walking in. The streets in London are not 100% flat. In fact, Google Maps will even tell you how flat the road is in London! 😂 You will find yourself walking on flat land, randomly uphill or suddenly walking on a cobblestone path.
DON’T 👉 Go to shops you can shops or restaurants you can go to in your hometown, with two exceptions! I challenge you to visit some of the shops and restaurants that are unique to London. You don’t need to go to H&M and Five Guys in London. Exception #1: I did shop at the Kooples shop which is available in Chicago in Bloomingdales; but, the selection of the Kooples in Chicago is sparse. The Kooples is a legendary Parisian brand that has a significant retail presence in London, so I decided to put it on my list. Exception #2: If you are big on collecting souvenirs from your favorite food spot, by all means, do so. For example, my sister loves collecting Hard Rock glasses, so I did stop in the Hard Rock to buy her one.
DON’T 👉 Be afraid to ask for directions. Londoners are quite friendly and helpful. The few times I got lost, I got help from strangers who had no qualms about making sure I was going the correct way.
DON’T 👉 Attempt to book show tickets for yourself. I strongly suggest you minimize your travel stress as much as you can by having the hotel find tickets for you. Almost every hotel concierge works with a booking agent that has connections to the hottest stage shows, concerts, and operas in London.
HOW I PACKED FOR MY LONDON TRIP:
HOW TO GET TO LONDON IN STYLE :
I flew on Norwegian Airlines in the premium class and I highly recommend this airline. I got an email to place a bid for premium seats, which is their version of First Class and decided to place a bid. In the end, I found that I could buy an upgrade for a “reasonable” fee and canceled my bid. I will say that my trip to London was not 💯 percent rainbows and glitter bombs as I didn’t care for their poor bag handling during my arrival to London. My suitcase was utterly destroyed, and my clothes were literally oozing out of my suitcase upon the collection of my bag at Gastrow Airport. Luckily, the service aboard the amazing Boeing 787 Dreamliner more than made up for the poor bag handling. The flight attendants were extremely attentive the whole time. There was not a single moment of trying to flag someone down for anything.
WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD AT NIGHT:
My big tip is to stay somewhere that is near the places you want to see, shop or eat at. You can save yourself a ton of taxi money and time. Though London is tricky to navigate if you stay within .5-2 miles of your desired plans, you will be fine. If you are not keen on navigating on your own, you aren’t alone! I asked one of my taxi drivers how long it would take for someone moving to London to be able to navigate the city and he said, “Three years for most people to learn. Though it is not uncommon for people to spend five years learning how to navigate London.” With that in mind I’m super glad that I stayed at the Mayfair Hotel because it was very close to the world famous shopping on Bond Street, luxury shopping store Harrods and famous landmark Buckingham Palace. All the aforementioned places were on my list to visit.
WHERE TO EXPERIENCE A MAGNIFICENT HIGH TEA:
There are just too many things I loved at my stay at the Mayfair Hotel and the high tea at the Mayfair is most certainly one of the experiences I loved. I researched high tea options in London and got quite lucky that I happened to be staying at a location with a highly regarded tea time. The platter of finger sandwiches, scones and desserts were worth an encore.
WHERE TO AVOID HAVING HIGH TEA:
You can say that I was really serious about experiencing tea time in London as I booked two team times the same day. Sadly, my second tea time at St. James Hotel was horrendous. This was quite shocking because, during my research, I found out that people suggest the prestigious St, James Hotel tea-time. It was one of the worst culinary experiences in my life thus far. The service was sub-par, and the server was not that attentive during tea time.Furthermore, the finger sandwiches were quite salty and the sweets insanely sweet. There was nothing to write home about! Avoid at all cost.
WHERE TO HAVE AN AMAZING DINER:
The Wolseley gets many check marks from me. ✅ Beautiful interior! ✅ Outstanding table service! ✅ Food was divine! ✅ Deserts were magnificent! Whether you are a fish lover or red meat lover, you will surely find something to suit your palate.
BEST PEOPLE WATCHING:
I definitely had a great time people watching on Bond Street and in Harrods. I would grab a coffee and saunter to take in the street fashion trends of the moment. I took notes in my phone of outfits I want to try. For example, I noticed a lot of women in London would throw on a real or faux fur on top of hoodies, I saw tons of fedoras worm with unique hat belts and tons of amazing unique tights with shimmer, pearls and a vast array of other adornments. There was no shortage of fashion of statements and inspiration. I was there living for it.
LONDON TRIP RECAP:
Correction: The Wolseley*
LONDON SHOPPING HAUL
CLICK THE LINK: 👉 http:// https://youtu.be/iT_acsLCtaU
WHAT I WORE: