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  • Janis Nunez

London England (2nd trip)

This trip to London was designed for my mom as a Beatles fan and for my son who had not been to London before. If you want a first timer look at London, you should definitely read my first blog post: London, United Kingdom. It has all of the details of what kind of adapter you need, cell phone carriers, bank and credit card companies, where to stay, currency, and transportation. I didn't want to repeat all of that in a second post for those who have already read it. This will have additional, but also some of the same sites we visited. Let's get to it.

We stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. It's a great location and has easy access to the train station and several bus stops. It is walkable to sites like Big Ben and the promenade along the river. There was good and bad with this hotel. There were three of us, so we opted for a king bed with a pullout sofa for my son. The room was spacious, and the beds were comfortable. It also had great air conditioning which is a must for me. The bath had a shower and tub, and good water pressure.

The downfalls were that the room was dated and dingy. Not dirty, but more scuffed and scratched with a stained lamp shade. By outdated I'm referring to the fact that they had no USB ports anywhere and the main plug area was a weird plastic strip that was on top of the desk. Lighting was very dim, so it made the room look dingier. Not a good place for ladies to apply makeup or see your face well-lit when getting ready. We called the front desk several times about cleaning the room, which they said they would the following day, only to come back to a dirty room. It was cleaned one time during our entire stay. We needed more toilet paper, towels, clean cups, and we had to keep asking for things that should have been replenished daily.

Day 1 (arrival day) Westminster neighborhood. Upon arrival, we took an Uber from the airport to the hotel. With bags and a long flight from the US, I find it more comfortable to just Uber. I like the app because I can see how much it will cost before leaving the airport. It takes you right to the door and you don't have to fuss with luggage on trains. With multiple people it's usually not that big of a price difference to Uber rather than get 3 train tickets with multiple train stops and a transfer or two depending on where you are. It's also the fastest option for where we were staying.

Once checked into the hotel we set out to explore the Westminster area. We walked over to see the Parlaiment Building, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Parlaiment Square.

Trafalgar Square is a nice walk. This square features Nelson's Column, the National Gallery, the lions, the fountains and statues. We got a kick out of the sign that said not to ride the lion statues. More than one person must have done that to warrant a sign.

Leicester Square is filled with statues. It's a fun area to get some great photos of some of your favorite characters.

Buckingham Palace is a must see in London. We walked through the park to get to the palace. It will always be busy, but it just adds to the excitement of visiting the area.

Although they are not in use, you can't go to London without a photo with the famous red telephone booths. You may find random things walking down the street, like the Oscar Wilde tribute we saw. The Churchill statue is in Parliament Square.

We took a stroll along the promenade at night near the hotel and past the London Eye. Loved seeing Big Ben at night.

Day 2: Central and Southwark Neighborhood. We took an Uber boat to go over by Millenium Bridge. It's a great place to take photos. We tried to go inside of the cathedral, but at the time there was a special event going on, so we had to go back at a later time.

Southwark Cathedral is a beautiful church near London Bridge. The courtyard was closed when we visited, but there is a bench with a statue of Shakespeare that is a great photo opp. There is a cathedral cafe that is a great place to grab a tea and rest your feet for a bit.

London Bridge is pretty underwhelming when you get there, but when you do your research about the bridge it's so interesting how it has changed over the years.

Leadenhall Market is a fun place to explore. You can go to restaurants, shop and explore the places that Harry Potter and the new Willy Wonka were filmed.

The Tower of London is royal palace and fortress. It's a wonderful place to explore. Give yourself ample time here. You will also get great views of Tower Bridge from here.

Tower Bridge gives some of the best views of the city. If you have trouble with stairs, they do have a lift that you can take to the top. If you decide to walk the stairs, there are stops along the way for you to sit and relax.

After Tower Bridge we were ready for dinner and stopped at Nicholson's Pub. We sat by the water and ordered classic dishes like fish and chips, scotch egg, meat pies and sticky toffee pudding. It was all delicious and the view was amazing.

Day 3: West End and Beatles exploration.

We started the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Then headed over to Kensington Palace. An audio guide comes with your ticket and explains the various rooms. There is a small cafe in the Palace next to the gift shop. We sat and had tea and a scone before going out by the lake. We enjoyed watching the swans, even in the rain.

We took a double decker bus to Mercato Mayfair for lunch. It's an old church turned into a food hall. The basement has restaurants and there is also a rooftop terrace. There are plenty of food options in the main hall as well as wine and cocktail bars. We had Italian.

After lunch we started exploring London for Beatles sites. 57 Green Street is the apartment where the Beatles all lived together. You will be seeing lots of photos of my mom as she LOVES the Beatles, and I found these locations for her.

Next, we walked over to 34 Montague Square which was a flat owned by Ringo Star. There was construction being done that made it impossible to get a photo of the blue plaque. I was able to find it online so you can see what it looks like. John Lennon rented the apartment from Ringo and lived here with Yoko.

This building was where the Beatles opened their Apple Boutique. Unfortunately, it was not successful and closed. There is a blue plaque on the building.

Marlybone Town Hall is where Paul and Linda married, as well as Ringo and Barbara. Paul also married Nancy here.

Marlybone Station was used in the opening scene of Hard Day's Night.

We headed to the London Beatles Store to check out any souvenirs my mom "needed."

Paul McCartney's current residence in London.