London Travel Diaries: Part 1

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Happy Thursday! I am so excited to finally be sharing my first London blog post. If you saw my last blog post, you may have seen that Jake and I went to London and Paris last week. I shared a packing guide here. We stayed in both cities for 3 nights. I will go into more detail on my final London post on where to stay, how long to stay, and things like that, but for now I want to share our Day One itinerary. Since we packed so much into each day and took so many photos, I will be breaking London into 3 parts, then doing a final recap with a full guide at the end. I feel like with all of the pictures we took, especially in London, it would be hard to pack it all into one blog post until the end.

This was my first trip to London and I had been looking forward to it for months. I have always been obsessed with the Royal Family, so it was a dream come true. London is truly a charming city and we loved every minute of it.

Our flight landed a little earlier than expected, which was amazing. It seems like that never happens for us, so our trip was off to a wonderful start! By the time we got to the hotel and changed, we were out the door and exploring the city by about 3 pm. Since we didn’t have much time until sunset, we wanted to save things that didn’t require daylight for the end. This was our warmest day in London and the only day without much wind. When I think of London fashion, I think preppy and proper, so this outfit was perfect for our planned activities.  I am wearing a cashmere sweater under this jacket, which made a huge difference, too. I love this jacket, but don’t recommend wearing it with a white sweater as it did shed.

Day 1 Itinerary:

Check into Hotel: We stayed at Hotel Xenia, which was amazing. We were greeted with free champagne and we highly recommend this hotel.

Late Lunch at Elan Cafe:elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods Londonelan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods Londonelan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods Londonelan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London If you’ve seen people post pictures of London on Instagram, you may have noticed all of the gorgeous cafes with flowers. London is known for their afternoon tea, so the flowers are perfect for this. I had many of these gorgeous cafes in mind to visit, but knew we wouldn’t have time for all. I also didn’t want to bore Jake (surprisingly, going around to a bunch of girly cafes with flowers is not what he was most looking forward to about the trip).  I decided on Elan because it’s truly gorgeous and had many locations near our hotel and was also near several landmarks we had on our list. We originally went to the Park Lane location (by Buckingham Palace), but the line was out the door. When driving there, we saw one much closer to our hotel, so we had our Uber driver turn around and take us. We went to the one near Harrods. The café is a #basic girl’s dream come true. Luckily the food lived up to the hype, so Jake wasn’t too disappointed in visiting this girly cafe. I will say the service is slow, but we found that to be true at a lot of places in Europe. The waiters/waitresses don’t want to rush you, but we always had to find someone to get our check, so we wouldn’t waste daylight.

Buckingham Palace: elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods Londonelan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London Seeing Buckingham Palace has always been on my bucket list. I made sure to do this on day one, so we could guarantee we would get to see it. Also, it was perfect with the nice weather. While we didn’t go in, it was worth seeing the outside and the grounds. Jake and I thought we saw the changing of the guards, but I’m embarrassed to say when confirming details that we didn’t. The guards do a mini “changing of the guards,” but the actual changing is from 10:45 a.m. and lasts about 45 minutes. We did see it when we were driving by another day though. Thus, I recommend going in the morning instead of the afternoon like we did. The grounds are so beautiful and you get a view of the gorgeous Hyde Park. Since this is such a famous landmark, it’s basically impossible to get a photo without being photo bombed.

Harrods: elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods London elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods LondonIt was starting to get dark, so we wanted to cross another thing off of our list that didn’t require daylight. My mom had raved about Harrods for years and it exceeded our expectations. Although Jake is not a huge shopper, he did want to visit, too. Let me tell you, you have not shopped until you visit Harrods. I was truly blown away. I’ve been to 5th Avenue and Macy’s in NYC, and to Rodeo Drive, but this is the most impressive shopping I’ve ever seen. It is truly a museum and work of art. They have an entire room dedicated to chocolate, every designer brand you can think of, and they even had a small gallery/museum set up with sports memorabilia for sale, a champagne bar, and more. Even Jake loved Harrods. Harrods is very high end, so the only thing we bought was chocolate. The chocolate was absolutely delicious and so worth the visit. You can spend zero dollars at Harrods and it would still be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

Dinner at a Pub: elan cafe london | london | london things to do in | London street style | London fashion | London England | buckingham palace | harrods | harrods LondonAfter looking on Yelp, we tried Bunch of Grapes, which is one of the ubiquitous traditional London pubs you can find on almost every corner. It is a quick walk from Harrods. If you go to London, you have to try traditional pub food. Jake had bangers and mash, and I had the fish and chips. It was all great.

Thank you so much for reading, I will share all about our visit to Kensington Palace on Monday.

 

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20 Comments

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 21, 2019 / 9:15 am

      London is amazing. I highly highly recommend it. I’m already craving a visit back. Elan is fabulous. Definitely worth a visit. Their food and coffee was amazing too.

  1. kaitlindcuevas
    March 21, 2019 / 7:04 am

    It looks so fun!!!!

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 21, 2019 / 9:15 am

      It was amazing. Truly a dream come true.

  2. March 21, 2019 / 7:40 am

    You look so gorgeous 💕But That cafe tho! Always wanted to visit

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 21, 2019 / 9:14 am

      Oh my goodness, thank you sweet Margaret! That cafe is a dream come true. It’s a must visit if you’re in London. The food is good too luckily. I felt bad dragging my hubby there, but luckily he enjoyed the food.

  3. March 21, 2019 / 8:49 am

    Elan cafe is on my itinerary and these photos make me so excited to visit! Good to know that there are multiple locations, I’ll keep that in mind.

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 21, 2019 / 9:14 am

      I’m sooo glad it’s on your itinerary. It’s a must do! Jake even liked the food, so it made it worth it besides the pictures. Yes, there is at least 3 locations. The one on Brompton by Harrods was less crowded than the one on Park Lane by Buckingham. Gosh I miss it, so dreamy.

  4. Anna Nilsen
    March 21, 2019 / 6:43 pm

    I’ve never had a real desire to visit London, but your pictures are changing that! 🙂 I’ve always thought of Paris when I see stands of fresh flowers. So beautiful to see all of these in your photos.

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 24, 2019 / 6:32 pm

      London sure is lovely and charming. 🙂 I highly recommend it.

  5. March 22, 2019 / 4:44 am

    How nice that you arrived ahead of time Courtney! You didn’t delay in getting down to exploring. The Elan cafe is just gorgeous !! The flowers are so pretty . I like the wall of flowers you are sitting by. Also the pic of “Happiness looks good on you” is very appropriate for you! I am shocked Jake did not have Girly Cafes on his list! (Really Jake!) Nice photos by Buckingham palace . I am glad you got to fulfill some of your lifelong dreams there. Harrod’s is on my to do list someday too. I know it is a place you need to bring plenty of money to! You have to try a english pub when there. Fish and chips and bangers and mash are two staple items ! Did I tell you I was born in London? I was a year and a half old when my parents moved back to Ireland with Myself and older Sister. I was only back once when I was 23 for a very quick visit to My Aunt and Uncle and did not get to do the tourist things. Next time! Thanks for sharing, Terri xo.

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 31, 2019 / 4:02 pm

      It really was nice. We almost always seem to get delayed haha. Hahah yes, Jake actually put that line in my post. Too funny. I had him edit it and noticed it later. Harrod’s is lovely, but way above our budget. We did have some yummy chocolate and champagne. That was worth it! I think you did tell me you were born in London. So neat! You’ll have to visit as a tourist someday. It is so beautiful.

      • April 1, 2019 / 4:34 am

        That is funny that Jake put that line in! Harrod’s is above my budget too ! I will get back someday for aprpoer visit. Terri xo.

        • abyersguide
          Author
          April 1, 2019 / 6:14 am

          Haha yes, he’s sneaky! You will have to someday. It’s a lovely city.

  6. Lindsey Puls
    March 22, 2019 / 4:15 pm

    London is on my bucket list and your post is making me want to go even more! I would love to see Buckingham palace and how cute is that cafe?! Looking forward to your post on Kensington Palace.

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 24, 2019 / 7:07 pm

      London is amazing! You will have to visit. I really think you would love it. Buckingham was soo lovely and the cafe was fabulous. It’s the prettiest cafe I have ever seen. Thank you so much 🙂

  7. March 26, 2019 / 9:13 am

    Oh my! Look at all the flowers!!!!

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 31, 2019 / 3:57 pm

      Aren’t they so pretty? I loved that spot.

    • abyersguide
      Author
      March 31, 2019 / 3:58 pm

      It was soooo beautiful. We loved every minute of this trip. Thanks for reading.

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