On our first full day in London, we left our room around 8:30am after having toast and fruit for breakfast. We walked across Westminster Bridge to the Westminster underground station…seeing Big Ben never gets old, does it?… …and took the tube to High Street Kensington. It wasn’t long before we found Kensington Gardens, which we walked around for a while before Kensington Palace opened to the public. It was a chilly, overcast morning, so thankfully it wasn’t long before 10am hit and we could tour Kensington Palace. I was (obviously) pretty excited about doing so, since Kensington Palace is the London home of Prince William, Kate, and George. I knew we’d really gotten into the personal spaces of the palace when we found this hanging on the wall… No, but really, we were confined to the state rooms, where we saw exhibits on the Glorious Georges, Queen Victoria, and the fashion of The Queen, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana. I had heard pretty dismal reviews about visiting Kensington Palace, but we quite enjoyed it. Afterwards we walked across the street and grabbed lunch (a sandwich for me, a wrap for Danny) from Crussh, which we ate back in Kensington Gardens. We walked through the gardens to the Royal Albert Hall, and onto the Natural History Museum, where we spent around an hour. I wanted to go to the Natural History Museum mostly because of pictures I’d seen of the inside of the building. It just looked stunning. And it was. Someday we’ll go back and explore more of the museum, but this time we were happy seeing the massive Sequoia tree trunk (should our next trip be to northern California? I think so), the dinosaur fossils, and the Treasures gallery. We took the tube at South Kensington to Bayswater, and walked around the corner to La Suite West, a hotel that has a restaurant called Raw that offers afternoon tea – vegan style. While planning our trip, I knew that I definitely wanted to go to afternoon tea at least once, but was hoping that we would find something vegan. I did quite a bit of research and settled on La Suite West as it was fairly centrally located, reasonably priced, and totally vegan. I was excited for scones and cream, as that’s really all I require out of an afternoon tea, and we weren’t disappointed. It was such a peaceful, relaxing afternoon, and the food was delicious. Oh, and if all my pictures look like they were taken in a dark basement, they weren’t, the lighting was just a bit dim in the restaurant. And for some reason, when I asked the waitress to take a picture of us, she went to the other side of the room, so that’s why the picture of the two of us looks like it was taken at a distance. Ultimately, though, the food was some of the best we had on our trip. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the special treat! It was a perfect afternoon. After I had finished off three pots of tea (!!!), we took the tube back to South Kensington and went to the Victoria and Albert Museum until they kicked us out (not to due our behavior, but to their closing time). Definitely somewhere we’d like to get more time at next time we’re in London. From the Victoria & Albert we walked to Harrod’s and wandered around the store for a while. I started losing interest about the time Danny really got into it – the toys, the $6,000 lamps, the toys, the Christmas section, the toys, the curved televisions, and did I mention toys? We could easily spend an afternoon there just browsing. We took the underground at Knightsbridge to Piccadilly Circus and walked from there to Chinatown, where we tried to find somewhere to eat dinner, but since I couldn’t be talked into a Chinese buffet, we kept walking to Leicester Square where Danny got fish and chips, and then onto the National Portrait Gallery where we saw the top two floors of the museum before they closed at 9pm. I was especially intrigued by the paintings that were started but not finished, and it was a perfect time to be at the gallery, too – we often found ourselves with entire rooms to ourselves – it was so peaceful and quiet. We took the tube home but decided to go for a walk along the Thames and walked back to where we got on the tube in the first place! Whoops! Oh well. We ended up walking along the Thames every single night we were in London – the Southbank (where we were staying) is so alive and fun! It was a great second day, very busy, but worth it because we really saw a lot! We made it to bed around 11pm, ready for jet lag to wake us up at 3:30pm ;)
And if you missed it, you can check out day 1 here.