Thursday, August 1, 2013

Visitors!!! Becca & Eric

Actual date of these events: 18-26 July

My sister and brother-in-law (Becca and Eric) planned months ago to come visit us... in Aberdeen, but that changed to London real fast! In all honesty, I really really wish I could have shown them Scotland because it is a beautiful country that should be toward the top of everyone's list! Anyway, I had high anxiety about planning their visit to London. 1.) I am still pretty new to the city, 2.) I am OCD with planning, and 3.) In this big of a city with so much to offer, it is really difficult to come up with an itinerary. Why? Because there is something for everyone - concerts, shopping, drinking, food, musicals, plays, parks, sight seeing, and more!

I tried to space out the tourist attractions over the whole trip because those can get exhausting. I added in some of my own special touches that I have learned about through my exploring. We made changes to the itinerary throughout the week as they realized their taste changed. Overall, it was a spectacular visit... we just wish Luke could have joined us!
Note: The main purpose of me writing all of the details is so Becca and Eric can remember what they did... cuz we did a lot!
For the record: It took a while for me to decide how to write this blog (OCD) and this is the shortest I could make it - 73 pictures plus 3 videos!

Jet lag is no fun, but I needed to keep them awake, so we pretty much just went walking without much of a purpose except to show them a few awesome things to get them excited :-)
-Alexandra pub in Wimbledon (the first task was beer!)
-Blackfriars Pub (more beer!)
-The Slug and Lettuce pub
-London Eye (did not ride)
-Parliament Building (Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, Victoria Tower)
-Westminster Abbey (viewed from the outside)
-Scotland Yard (metropolitan police building)
-The Feathers pub
-dinner at O'Neills pub in Wimbledon
Approx Walking Distance: 4 miles
Time Length: 1pm-8pm

-Tower of London (viewed from the outside)
-toured the Tower Bridge Exhibition (approx 1.5 hours)

-The Shard
-Borough Market (ate raclette, pretzel sticks, green tea and got Luke some smoked sausages)
-The Market Porter pub
-Leadenhall Market (used in Harry Potter films)
-Lloyd's Building (a building turned inside out)
-The Gherkin
-Sushi Samba at Heron Tower
-top of double decker bus ride - they were freaking out thinking the bus was going to hit cars, hilarious!
-BrewDog Shoreditch bar
-dinner at The Breakfast Club
-drink at Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town (walk through a refrigerator door at The Breakfast Club to get to it's underground speakeasy, pictures above) (Becca got a super spicy shot of rum that soaked the second hottest pepper in the world... the four of us all tasted it and needed milk to wash it down and we still didn't even finish the shot)
-BrewDog Shoreditch bar (again, hehe)
-Tower Bridge at night for pics where we saw the bridge open for a boat (see video)

-The Liberty Bounds pub
Approx Walking Distance: 9.5 miles
Time Length: 10am-11pm

Saturday & Sunday: 
The four of us, Luke included, went on a road trip seeing Windsor Castle, Bath (the town in western England) and Stonehenge.
More on that in another post.
Approx Walking Distance over the weekend: 8.5 miles

Sunday afternoon:
Before going back to the flat, we drove to Richmond to see the deer in the park and also take a walk along the river.

-Wellington Arch
-Green Park
-checked out some guards up close and personal (probably the funniest moment of the week!)
-Trafalgar Square (picture below is actually along The Mall where we are about to head into the square)
-The National Gallery to cool off and see some Van Gogh artwork
-"smallest police station in the world" (look it up online)
-The Sherlock Holmes pub
-London Eye (still didn't ride, more pics)
-Parliament Building (more pics)
-Lambeth Bridge (used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
-MI5 and MI6 (latter was used in SkyFall)
-Victoria Tower Garden
-toured Westminster Abbey (approx 1.5 hours)
-St. James' Park
-Buckingham Palace (while Prince George was being born!!)
-Shakespeare pub
-dinner at Boisdale of Belgravia (ate some haggis)
Approx Walking Distance: 8 miles
Time Length: 10am-9pm

-Cutty Sark Ship
-former Greenwich Hospital
-former Royal Naval College
-Greenwich Park
-toured the Royal Observatory and stood on the Meridian line
-saw 61 cannon shots (blanks) in honor of Prince George's birth (video)
-The Liberty Bounds pub
-the three of us split up: Becca & Debb went to afternoon tea at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, while Eric did the Jack the Ripper walking tour (no pics of Eric's tour, sorry)

-BrewDog Shoreditch bar (yep, again!)
-dinner at home
Approx Walking Distance: 4 miles (Eric walked more than this though)
Time Length: 10:30am-8pm

-Shakespeare's Globe (viewed from the outside)
-Millenium Bridge (used in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
-St. Paul's Cathedral
-Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (frequented by Charles Dickens)
-Ye Olde Mitre pub (another one of the oldest pubs in London, very difficult to find)
-Harrod's department store (I found raclette!!!)
-Hyde Park and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
-gelato at Scoop in South Kensington
-dinner at home
Approx Walking Distance: 6 miles
Time Length: 11am-5pm

-Abbey Road (as seen on the Beatles album)
-Borough Market for more Raclette and Pretzel Sticks
-Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross Station (as seen in Harry Potter films)
-Euston Tap (but really wanted to go to Cider Tap, it was closed)
-souvenir shopping in Covent Garden
-Neal's Yard (super colorful little courtyard)
-Seven Dials (a small roundabout with seven streets off of it)
-The Crown pub
-dinner at Rules (Eric ate Pigeon)
-saw Rock of Ages Musical at Garrick Theatre (it was so hot in the theatre!!)
-Piccadilly Circus (very similar to Times Square and packed with people!)
-Big Ben at night for pics
Approx Walking Distance: 7 miles
Time Length: 11am-12:30am

-Paddington Rolling Bridge (occurs every Friday at noon, it rolled twice while we were there, takes about 5min to roll and unroll) (see video)

-St. Mary's Hospital (where Prince George was born)
-Little Venice (nice little area of London that doesnt feel like London)

-The Bridge House pub
-canal waterbus ride from Little Venice to Camden Locks (we just made it as it was packed, they stopped letting people on at the 1:15 time just four people after us and the next time wasn't for another hour) (approx 45min ride)

-Camden Market (amazing market that I highly recommend!!)
-BrewDog Camden where Eric met with his long time friend that lives in Dubai who was in London for business
-dinner at Suk Sarin in Wimbledon
Approx Walking Distance: 6 miles
Time Length: 10:45am-8pm

**I think Eric documented that he tried over 50 different kinds of new beers. Becca is not a fan of beer, but she tried quite a few different ciders. Yes, the beers (ales) are warm like you expect. I am sure I forgot about a few pubs on the long list above.
**In total, we walked at least 53 miles and this does not include the walking we did in the tube and train stations which I'd say is close to about 3 miles (some of those stations have a lot of walking!), so I am going to total it to around 56 miles in 9 days! They were some troopers!!! And I may or may not have some blisters on my feet from wearing sandals all week. I have to give some credit to Google Maps as it pretty much put all of our sights right on location. I had no trouble finding any of the places we wanted to see (except Ye Olde Mitre, but it isnt easy to spot). And I also have to give some credit to iPhone 4S as the lowest my battery got all week when using it all day for navigating was about 16%!
**It was pretty hot the whole week with temperatures in the high 80's - Monday was the hottest day at 90 degrees. Yes, that isn't as hot as Houston temperatures, but very few places have A/C, so we had very few places to go to cool off. We were all sweaty, sticky, and stinky each night when we returned home.

We had a terrific week!!!! I asked what their favorites things about London was - Becca said navigating and understanding the tube, Eric said Westminster Abbey because a bunch of famous people are buried there, also the Prime Median because he is a "geography nerd" (his words not mine), and also the canal tour and Camden. I enjoyed having them here, and we are looking forward to next year when we hope to take a combined anniversary trip to Greece! Last but not least, a special thank you to the family for watching Cooper and Zoey!


  1. What an amazing trip for them!! You are a great travel agent/tour guide and I know their trip wouldn't have been half as good if you hadn't of planned. So fun that you guys have such a great relationship with your sis and BIL! Greece will be amazing!

  2. Thanks for an awesome time! So, what was your favorite part? :)

    1. Of course! Uummmmmmm, my favorite part was when Eric was taking pictures way too close to the Guard. Bahahahaha!!! So funny! Also watching y'all freak out on the double decker :-)


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