London: Talking Logistics

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I love planning a vacation like no other.  I think half the fun of a vacation for me is developing the vacation and then seeing all of my planning through to fruition.  I want to write down some of the planning and scheduling that I did so that I can remember for my next trip to London. Pretty much these are the themes that we were looking for on our trip: a lot of history; a good amount of sport; plenty of gardens; delicious meals; and shopping.

To meet those trip themes, this is how we structured our days in London:

Saturday: Chelsea FC Match; post game dinner at Bailey’s Fish and Chips in Fullham

Sunday: Day trip to Hampton Court; walk from Waterloo Station to Piccadilly; shopping on Regent Street; dinner at Mint Leaf on Haymarket

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Monday: Winston Churchill’s Underground War Rooms Museum; walk around Westminster; Household Calvary Museum; lunch at Little Social; shopping Regent Street/Oxford Street; dinner at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental

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Tuesday: Hyde Park and Kensington Palace; Westminster Abbey; Tea at The Ritz; dinner at The Criterion

Wednesday: day trip to Windsor; shopping in Knightsbridge and at Harrods; evening at the theatre watching The Duck House at the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand.

Thursday: Tower of London; St. Paul’s Cathedral; National Portrait Gallery; dinner at Clos Maggiore in Covet Garden

Friday: Kew Gardens; Wimbledon Museum and Tour; dinner at Kitchen W8 in Kensington

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Because the weather was so brilliant the entire week that we were there, I didn’t want to spend all of our time in Museums so I wanted us to do activities where we could also be outside a substantial period of time.  Also, we purchased a 6 day London Pass, which really proved to be an economic value based on the number of places we went that were included on the Pass.  So, we definitely defaulted to going to places on the pass.  Owing to my great love of British history, I had a much greater desire to see historical places than spend my time in the Tate Modern. Additionally, with the pass, we also purchased the optional London Travelcard (6 day price, but we got the 7th day free, which was perfect for us). It made travel around London incredibly easy.  We only had to take taxis a couple of times when our feet completely failed us.

I will write another post about the restaurants where we ate, but for all of the restaurants I booked in advance, I pretty much used the TopTable website, and for some of the highly in-demand restaurants (like Dinner by Heston), I booked months in advance, as soon as it was possible to do so. I did a crazy amount of online research deciding what restaurants to book, and I think we were generally rewarded with some delicious meals.  I will write a separate blog entry about the restaurants.

Finally, the crazy, obsessed London shopper in me also planned out before hand which stores I wanted to shop in when we were there, and I organized this information by neighborhood.  My problem is that I have too much love for British fashion, so I had to be incredibly picky about what to buy (says the girl who came home with three hats). It isn’t just me that loves the British wear either; David also does as well. Some of our favorites include popular High Street locations like Hobbs, Jaeger, Toast, and John Lewis (all of which you can thankfully order online for American delivery too); Scandinavian COS (soon to be available in the US); menswear brand Hackett (unfortunately not available in the US at present) and the men’s shirts at Eton; beautiful British fashion house Daks (also not available in the US); and fun toy store Hamley’s (for the nieces and nephews). It goes without saying that we spent plenty of time in Harrods as well.

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Yes, by the end of every day when we settled into bed at the hotel to watch some British television, my feet were absolutely broken. Nonetheless, it was a great week and all of our plans came off without a hitch.  Good planning can sometimes work that way.

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