Again I am blessed to have an amazing job where on occasion I am able to travel the world. Earlier this year I was able to visit Paris and London.
My Paris visit was very short (only 2 days) and was mostly work but I also was able to have my two favorite French foods for dinner, Escargot at Mondrian and Paté de Fois Gras at Cafe Les Deux Magots, both on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
My week of work ended in Manchester after a few days in Paris so I decided to take the train to London and explore the city. I arrived late on a Thursday night and stumbled around in the dark to find my hotel, Club Quarters and was pleasantly surprised at what a beautiful hotel it was and the perfect location in Trafalgar Square.
My Mom received her doctorate at the University of London so she was very excited to have me visit the neighborhood where she went to school and visit one of their friends at his restaurant, Trattoria Verdi in Russell Square. Rogero treated me like family and i had the most delicious pizza too! I spent the remainder of the day walking back to the hotel and stopping at Covent Garden and taking some pictures along the way.
Friday night was the perfect night to take the Jack the Ripper Tour…dark, foggy, drizzly…
This is your chance to explore the darker side of London as you learn about the terror that rippled through the city during the time of Jack the Ripper. It was a group of about 20 people and we hopped aboard a vintage open-top bus and began our journey through the darkened streets of London. We passed by ominous Tower Hill, where executioners once worked before bloodthirsty crowds and Old Bailey, where William Wallace was tortured and drove past the site of Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop and the barbershop behind the urban legend of the demon barber Sweeney Todd.
We then set off on foot, traveling down cobbled lanes to reach the deserted Smithfield Market to hear about the exploits of London’s most infamous body snatchers. As we moved into the East End we followed the path taken by Jack the Ripper, who stalked and murdered 5 victims in his mysterious 1888 reign of terror.
The tour ended at the Sherlock Holmes Pub which as luck would have it was right across the street from my hotel.
In the morning I looked out the window and was surprised with a snowy landscape (luckily I had brought my warm SCOTTeVest – see my product page- and gloves but a purchase of hat and scarf were inevitable). I had arranged a private day tour with VIP London Tours and my guide Denis met me in the lobby of my hotel to start the day. I explained that what I wanted was a whirlwind tour. I wanted to see as much as possible in one long day and then I would go back and visit my favorites on Sunday. So our crazy day included the Tube, Buses and a Boat ride. We had so many stops I cannot explain them all but here was how the day went…
- Tower of London for jewels and torture
- Tower Bridge, London Bridge, by boat then the National Museum, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral
- Portobello Road, 221B Baker Street and Camden Town…funky and probably my favorite part of the day
Saturday night I decided that since I was so close to the Theatre District, taking a show was a must. When I was walking around Thursday night I saw that one of my favorite plays was showing at the Vaudville Theatre, Oscar Wilder’s Lady Windermere’s Fan… I was so excited to get a ticket to the show that I did not even realize that Jennifer Saunders was starring in it…now I was beyond excited to see the show. It was as amazing as I expected and I am so happy that I happened upon it. If you have not heard of it there was a movie made about it called A Good Woman, starring Scarlett Johansson and Helen Hunt.
Sunday was another day to explore but on my own…I went back to Camden Market so I could really take time to enjoy it. When in London you have to have Afternoon Tea so of course I had to indulge. I chose the Corinthia Hotel in Covent Garden. I also visited the Victoria and Albert Museum which was definitely my favorite museum. When walking to Tea I came across the Church from My Fair Lady…I stood in the same spot as Audrey Hepburn! Then I ended the day at Harrods…boy you could spend all day here but my favorite has to be the food halls. I purchased an assortment of goodies to create a picnic dinner in my hotel room that night…it had been a long few days and I still needed to pack!
Needless to say I was pretty exhausted by the time I hopped on the plane on Monday morning…But what an amazing weekend. Definitely put London on your list!