I’ll throw in a travel tip first – If you’re traveling by Eurostar, check in at least an hour in advance. The trains leave promptly on time and they will not wait for passengers that are checked in, but waiting in line at the passport check. If you miss the train, they’ll book you on the next train. Good to know!
We arrived in London an hour later than planned, but since we were coming in at the end of the day it was fine. Our hotel room in Notting Hill was small and there was no AC, but hotels are expensive right in the city and this would have to do. The first person we met at our hotel was from Salisbury, MA!
We did a walking tour first thing on Saturday after walking around a bit ourselves. I highly recommend Freewalk tours. The guides love their cities and are full of great info. Our guide for this tour was not only knowledgeable, but very adept at getting us the best views of the Changing of the Guard! It was really crowded around the major sites – lots of big tour groups about. We worked our way through St James Park and around the palaces. Shopping of the rich and famous at St James Place and the Piccadilly Gallery were on the tour as well.
After finding a little cafe for lunch, we headed to the Tower and London Bridge. It was a hot day (actually pretty tolerable) so we sought some shade along the Thames and had a relaxing break with the Tower behind us and the bridge in front.
Since the travel and accommodations took up most of our budget, we looked for ways to see London for free. We attended the Evensong service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to see the interior. I think it’s the best way to experience the architecture and the ambiance of this holy place!
I wore the wrong sandals for all the walking we did and had blisters on the bottom of my feet by late afternoon. Ouch. I patched them up as best I could, but needed some relief . We decided to go back to our hotel for a change of shoes and to find a restaurant closeby.
We got fish & chips takeout and walked to a nearby park. This would be Kensington Park and I guess I was supposed to know that this is a private park. You know, like in the movie Notting Hill?
So we had to do more walking to get to Hyde Park. We plopped on the grass just inside the gates. Fortunately the food was still warm enough and we had a decent dinner. We walked as far as Kensington Palace afterwards and then back to the hotel. My feet got a good soaking!