To culminate my #DecemberToRemember, I checked an item off of my bucket list and booked yet another trip to Europe for the holidays! I had been dreaming about Paris since I last left in June and enough was enough. In my true fashion, I did not have a 100% concrete itinerary because sometimes I fall in love with a place and want to stay for another day. Ultimately, I mixed the old with the new with my destinations and chose London, Vienna, Prague, and Paris. I was going to make the most of my 10 day Eurotrip!
I left JFK on Christmas eve and woke up in London on Christmas! I had driven up from my mother’s in New Jersey and due to the flight gods, I had scored a free business class upgrade! I honestly do not remember taking off because I must have been that tired. I see why people spend the coins to be more comfortable on flights. I was worried that I would not be able to check into my room at the hostel upon my early arrival, so I utilized the shower in the lounge. The London Tube wasn’t running due to the holiday and quite frankly, I was so exhausted I gladly called an Uber and booked it to the hostel. Unfortunately, after my arrival I felt horrible. My body was irritated, I was nauseous, and I wasn’t the most functional of beings. I pretty much spent my entire Christmas laying in bed, trying to read, and eventually sleeping. It definitely sucked a bit but after all I was in London and was looking forward to shaking back the following day.
This was a rookie mistake on my end, but I knew that landing on Christmas, the outings in London would be limited. What I was completely oblivious to was the fact that since I was heading to England, Boxing Day would be celebrated. If a place wasn’t closed, there was a chance the hours could be different. I made sure to call around to various places before checking them out, but overall, I enjoyed my day! I ate, drank, and shopped. No complaints over here.
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Where I Ate
I discovered on my first trip to London that they’ve got an amazing selection of international cuisine. Because I landed on a holiday, my options were a bit limited. I made the most of it!
- The Ivy Chelsea Garden: Aside from this place being heaven sent for an Instagram shoot, I sincerely enjoyed my meal. I went with the roasted chicken and pretty much demolished my plate. Although I was eating alone, they never made me feel uncomfortable. It was a chilly London morning, but the garden was gorgeous and I appreciated the fire pit.
- Be At One: My favorite happy hour in London! The drinks are strong, y’all. You get 2 for the price of 1 and the music is always on point!
- Wok to Walk: So since I always have a great time at Be At One, Wok to Walk is a few doors down and makes some quick Asian food! In my eyes, it was like an Asian chipotle in which you tell the server what you want, they assemble it, and you’re out. The space is extremely tight inside though.
- Christopher’s: I linked up with my friend Tanisha of Girl Meets Glass because ironically enough we were both in London! Thanks to my BFF Yelp, we picked Christopher’s and had a divine lunch. I’m not quite sure why lobster is so plentiful in London but my bisque made my eyes roll and I thoroughly enjoyed my caesar salad.
- Davy’s Wine Merchants: After lunch, Tanisha and I were in the mood to find some wine! The restaurant wasn’t too crowded but I enjoyed each of selections I had.
- Honorable Mention: All the various places where I scooped up some mulled wine to stay warm!
Where I Stayed
Most of you know that I’m a fan of hostels, especially while in Europe. After doing some research on HostelWorld, I decided to visit Wombat’s City Hostel London. It was close to the Tower of London but a tad bit farther away from a Tube station that I would have liked. I loved the different nooks and crannies of the hostel. There were plenty of cushions to cozy up on with a book and enjoy some tea. The bar was in the basement and if the weather had been better, I would have loved to relax on the patio on the hammocks. I always appreciate a hostel that has a bar in the vicinity because it keeps your roomies from partying too hard in the room.
I think my favorite thing about Wombat’s City Hostel was the size of the room! I stayed in a six bed dorm and loved how spacious it was. I have a few non-negotiables when it comes to selecting a hostel and one of those items is a clean bathroom. I was thrilled to see that there were separate spaces for the shower, toilet, and an additional sink. When there’s 6 women in a room there can be a strong need for a bathroom and we had no issues at all during the two nights I was there. The staff was helpful and I ended up returning when I was stuck in London due to a flight cancellation (more on that later).
Related Post: Hostel Life 101: Finding the Right One
Where I Played
It was a literal dream of mine to see Christmas in London. I wanted to see the light displays on steroids and London put every city I’ve been to during the holidays to SHAME (yes, even my beloved Paris). I ventured off throughout the city looking at Harrod’s, Picadilly Circus, Covent Garden, and other neighborhoods. During Boxing Day, I wanted to take advantage of some of the sales and went to both Top Shop and Harrod’s to get some goodies. Harrod’s was way out of my budget but I got some small items so that I could at least say I shopped there. I stopped by my favorite happy hour at Be At One (twice) but I was so exhausted from traveling, I slept through the hip-hop Boxing Day party I planned to attend and on my last night after being stuck there, I just wanted to sleep and get to Texas.
What I Didn’t Get To Do
- Due to the weather, I didn't get to check out Winter Wonderland. It looked pretty dope and I would have loved to knock ice skating off of my list.
- I've had plenty of tea in London but for some reason I still haven't had high tea! I need to get it together.
- I had all intentions of visiting The Eye but I got caught up in shopping and time simply past. Here's a fun fact, in the winter the sun sets around 4pm in London and I wanted to catch the view during dusk. I missed out on that opportunity.
- Find Cousin Meghan. Kidding, but I'm not... lol
Happy 2018… You’re Stuck Here for Another Day!
I planned my return to London on January 2 because Heathrow was my gateway point. I had left my favorite place in the world with ample time so that I would not rush to the airport in my true fashion. Much to my dismay, I suddenly started receiving crazy notifications on my American Airlines app. While I originally had a 7:25pm departure, 6 flight delays and a 48-minute call with American later, I discovered that I’d be stuck in London for an additional night. Thankfully, my hostel had availability and I booked an evening there for $32 and ended up in the same room. I’ll take it. I'm pretty proud of myself for how calm I was and I can attribute it to the bartenders at Be At One making my drinks super strong since I told them I was pretty much stuck.
Although my time was short, I am glad that I got to visit London again. It holds a special place in my #DecemberToRemember. The city reigns supreme when it came to holiday decor and I got to hang out with two friends that I don’t get to see often! I wish that I had been in better spirits on my last night but as I’ve gotten older and more comfortable in Dallas, there comes a moment when it is simply time for me to go home. I definitely think that if I choose to travel during the holidays next year I would pick a warmer location now that I’ve gotten the cold out of the way.
Have you ever traveled during the holidays? Have a high tea recommendation for London? Let’s chat!