The last few days of our trip went by really quickly. Doesn’t it always happen that way? I think so. Sort of like when your vacation starts off you feel like you have infinite time and the week will last forever. Then by day 3 the days get shorter and you can feel that it will be over soon and you will be back to your normal life. Normal life is great too, but not working everyday certainly has perks!
On Tuesday we were talking and decided that it would be fun to go exploring outside of London on Wednesday. We considered making the journey to Bath or Oxford, but eventually settled on Windsor because Chris wanted to see a castle.
So on Wednesday morning we set out on our way, sitting on the top level and at the very front of a double decker bus headed to Windsor Castle. Although I’m not the biggest fan of car trips, the hour and a half view from the top was one of Christopher’s favorite things of our trip.
Once we arrived we loaded up on lunch and then headed into the castle. While at the castle you can take a self-guided tour of the State Apartments. The rooms are decorated to reflect the changing taste of the previous 39 monarchs that have occupied the castle, specifically focusing on Charles II and George IV. Needless to say it’s a peek into a very rich history and lives totally unlike our own. Something that I love to do is pick out the hidden doors in the various rooms, I only wish I knew where they led to or what they were once used for. I can only imagine the secrets!
The castle is so large that it is a bit difficult to capture it in photos, or even to fully comprehend the size of it while you are there. If you are ever in London and wanting to take a day trip, Windsor is really easy to get to by bus or train and is definitely a worthwhile visit. Plus, the town of Windsor is very charming and worth exploring.
After taking the train back into the city, we refueled at the hotel and then headed out for dinner. I was really in the mood for Mexican food (my favorite) so we ate at Wahaca in Covent Garden. The dinner was great and so were the margaritas. I would especially recommend the plantain tacos. I had been to Wahaca with my mom when she visited me while I was abroad, and I wanted to go back and relive that experience. I’m a bit sentimental that way I guess.
On Thursday, we watched the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Then we spent some time wandering the many halls of Harrod’s. I also convinced Chris to go to a museum, one of my favorites, the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Then, we were walking past Hyde Park and Chris saw some bicycles. He really wanted to ride through the park. This would be fine and totally normal for most people, however I don’t really ride bikes. My sister doesn’t either, it just isn’t something that happens in my family I guess. I don’t think I have ridden a bike in maybe 10 years or so. I’m not sure.
Anyways, he was standing there looking at me with these big eyes like a little child and I couldn’t say no. So I did it. And it was a bit terrifying and I cried. But he was really happy. That’s love right?
Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, we had a few more pubs to cross off of Christopher’s list. Here is the official ranking of all the pubs we visited:
- The Star Tavern: One of the first pubs we visited but I loved it instantly. Chris could have asked me to spend the day here and I wouldn’t have minded. Incredibly warm and cozy filled with food, a fire and board games, we felt right at home.
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese: Rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, this pub was unlike anywhere else. We walked into the first room, small and cramped, and thought that was all there was to the place. We were wrong. This place is a seemingly unending labyrinth of room after room, filled with fireplaces, cozy nooks and benches, and dimly lit corridors.
- Cross Keys: I don’t know much about this place, but we loved it. We sat for hours snuggled up in a booth chatting and drinking and eating. If we lived in London, this would be our go-to place for drinks on a Saturday night.
- The George Inn: As the last remaining galleried inn in London and a place once visited by Charles Dickens, we liked it here and we liked imagining the stories that took place.
- Ye Olde Mitre: This pub is really small and overloaded with history, and you can tell before you even walk through the door. Built in 1546, you can only imagine what has taken place over the many, many years here. Plus, Henry VIII was married next door.
- Cittie of Yorke: We liked this place. The pub had high ceilings and private, cozy booths for long conversations over drinks. Many drinks.
- The Blackfriars: One of the busiest pubs we went to, this one was full of character. Built in 1905 but appearing to be much older, the walls and ceilings are covered with mosaics, sculptures and various reliefs designed by Henry Poole.
- The Lamb & Flag: Around since 1772, this place was pretty cool. It is a popular spot in Covent Garden and it’s easy to see why people like it.
- The Viaduct Tavern: This place was busy and a bit small. The coolest thing was that they got their ice from a giant block of ice that they chipped away at piece by piece.
- The Shakespeare: This pub wasn’t historical, but they had a lot of cider options and the atmosphere was great. Plus, the people watching was awesome.
- The Harp: I’m going to have to harp on The Harp. We only went there because I read a review that they had some of the best cider options in London. So we showed up, and low and behold they had no ciders. None. So Chris got me this fruity beer that tasted like rotten oranges. Besides making me want to gag, the place was really popular and could have been cool if they actually had ciders.
- The Dog and Duck: This was okay. It might have been better if I hadn’t had a case of the munchies. Also, Chris and I both agreed that the lighting was odd and that it had a weird smell.
- The Nag’s Head: I did not like this place. It was obviously old, but I was obvious because it smelled. Also, we were the only people in there and it was the size of our living room.
So that’s it for our London trip! Thank you for following along!