Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Visitors! Mom & Dad

Actual date of this event: 15-23 August

Just a few weeks after my sister and brother-in-law visited, I was feeling a bit more confident with my tour guiding abilities. It is still a difficult task because 1.) I don't want to walk my visitors to death, and 2.) What is is that people really want to see?? I went day by day with my parents rather than having it all planned out. Amazingly, it went well! Of all of the sights, they chose to actually only pay to go into a few of them.

My mom was amazed that I "know" the city so well, and "know" where to go. It's called a smart phone, the Google Maps and CityMapper app. Without those, trust me, I would be wandering around looking for that big red circle with the blue banner across it.
Their flight got in pretty early on Thursday, so we came back to the flat for a rest. As mom took a nap, dad went for a jog. Crazy man. I went to the grocery store to get some last minute things for their stay. Around 2pm, we started the week of sight seeing!

Thursday, August 15th
-started out at Waterloo station
-saw London Eye
-saw Big Ben, the Parliament Building, and other pretty buildings along the River Thames

-and it started raining on us... Afterall, this is Britain.
-saw Westminster Abbey
-saw Churchill's bunkers at the Cabinet War Rooms
-saw New Scotland Yard
-home from St James's Park station

Friday, August 16th
-started at London Bridge station
-ate lunch at Borough Market - mom had fish & chips, dad had German sausage, and I ate raclette (duh, of course). I also saw crawfish!!! Well they call it crayfish here. I almost put my face in the big bowl of peeled ones.

-saw The Shard
-saw HMS Belfast
-saw City Hall
-toured the Tower Bridge Exhibition

-saw Tower of London
-saw St. Paul's Cathedral
-home from Blackfriars station

Saturday, August 17th
We took a day trip to Oxford! More on that in another post :-)

Sunday, August 18th
-lunch at Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon Common (mmmm fried pork fat mmmmmm)
-started at High Street Kensington Station
-saw Royal Albert Hall
-saw Albert Memorial
-walked, relaxed, and ate lunch in Hyde Park
-saw Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
-saw the U.S. Embassy
-saw Marble Arch
-home from Marble Arch station

Monday, August 19th
-started at London Bridge Station
-lunch at Borough Market's Green Market - mom had fish & chips (again), dad had German sausage (again), and I had dumplings (raclette was not available - curses!!!)
-toured Shakepeare's Globe Theatre: This was a really great tour! It is tricky to tour though as you can only enter the actual theatre by guided tour. Guided tours are limited, so our only day available was Monday. The audio guide is free and gives great information, and the guided tour was nice as we got some history behind the new theatre.

-saw site of the first Globe Theatre
-saw the Millennium Bridge
-saw Tate Modern
-home from Waterloo station

Tuesday, August 20th
**Dad and I went on our own little excursion while mom stayed back at the flat to rest for a few hours. We headed to the Polish area of the city... there are a few so I chose one that seemed to have the most options for what we were looking for (Hammersmith).
-checked out a Polish grocery store with products written in Polish - they even had magazines and crossword puzzles in Polish!

-had lunch a Polish cafe where we ate Golumpki (don't judge - it's really quite good!)
-checked out the Polish Catholic Church which unfortunately was closed

-home from Ravenscourt Park station
**Not long after we got back home, all three of us headed to the city to walk and eat some fish and chips. The purpose of our adventure was to see London after business hours where locals have the drinks and see some of the craziness in the evening.
-started at Charing Cross station
-saw Trafalgar Square

-walked through Covent Garden
-did some souvenir shopping
-fish and chips for dinner
-walked through Piccadilly Circus
-walked through Leicester Square where we came across One Direction's film premiere of This Is Us
-tubed it from Leicester Square station to Westminster station
-checked out London Eye and Parliament at night
-home from Waterloo station

Wednesday, August 21st
-started at Westminster station
-CityCruisers boat ride along the Thames from Westminster Pier to Greenwich Pier: REALLY REALLY good boat ride! (Thanks Falene for the recommendation!) I highly recommend this boat ride for anyone visiting. We got live commentary of the sights around us as we rode on the boat. The ride was about 1 hour 15 minutes before we reached Greenwich.

-ate lunch along the river
-saw the Old Royal Naval College and National Maritime Museum
-hiked up the hill in Greenwich
-had great views on top of the hill

-saw the Meridian line, standing on the East and West sides
-checked out the Astronomy Centre
-walked down the hill
-saw the Cutty Sark Ship
-bus ride to Rotherhithe
-The Mayflower pub: This pub is where The Mayflower set sail from before heading to the United States.
-home from Canada Water station

Thursday, August 22nd
-started at Victoria station
-toured Buckingham Palace: This was a really really great tour! (Thanks Kristen for the recommendation!) It had a terrific audio guide (the best I have probably ever heard). Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures inside the palace so I could only snap one from the garden. It is imperative that you book the tour ahead of time because spots book quickly since it is only open to the public a few weeks a year (late July to early September).

-it started raining on us (amazing that it only rained on us the first and last day!)
-saw Wellington Arch
-lunch at a pub down a scary looking street that opened up to a square
-tubed it from Green Park station to St John's Wood station
-walked across the zebra crossing at Abbey Road pretending to be the Beatles :-)
 -saw the Abbey Road Studios
-tubed it from St. John's Wood station to Liverpool Street station
-saw the Gherkin
-saw the Lloyd's building
-saw Leadenhall Market
-home from Bank station

Friday, August 23rd
We all got to sleep in some! Yay! We all made our way to the airport around 11am. While my parents hopped on a plane back to Houston, Luke and I hopped on a plane to Dublin, Ireland. I will write more about that in another post :-)

It was a great week, and I think my folks enjoyed their time in London. They both feel it is huge... have I not said that before? At one point during the week, they said "how are we going to remember everything we did?" Well, moms and pops, that is what your young daughter who writes blogs is for! Now you can look back here anytime you wish (as long as the googles doesn't crash). I wish everyone could love this city as much as I do, but I have come to realize that it is a great city to LIVE not as much visit. With weeks and weeks of times, you can enjoy all it has to offer. But with only a few days, it is non-stop rush to see everything and that can be overwhelming, exhausting and just not fun. I hope that my parents (and also my sister and brother-in-law) can make it back here again, so they can enjoy it just as much as we do. Thanks for visiting, mom and dad!!!

The Queen’s official birthday is not a universally fixed day. In the United Kingdom it occurs on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Saturday in June and is decided by the Government. The Queen’s official birthday is marked by the parade known as Trooping the Colour, which has been held for this purpose almost every year since 1748. On this day The Queen’s Birthday Honours are announced. source which has some other very unique facts about the Queen and Monarchy


  1. Wowzer you guys did a ton!! I'm looking forward to doing London 'properly' this time. It will be my 3rd time visiting and I still don't feel like I've seen much!

  2. Looks like an awesome visit! So glad you liked the Buckingham State Rooms tour as much as we did! We eat "cabbage rolls" too and they are yummy!

  3. You have been playing tour guide & hostess non-stop I feel like!!! But sounds like you are enjoying it:) Can't wait to hear about Dublin. Ahh I miss the land of the Irish.


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