Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Our Instagram-Worthy London Bucket List

What a whirlwind London trip we had y'all! And now I'm glad I can finally say why! We took a redeye and landed in London Friday at 7am, dropped our things at the hotel and hit the streets immediately to combat the jet lag. Then we had the weekend to play around and be tourists. 

I have to note that we went in January and it gets dark starting around 4pm, so our daylight was limited. Which means it also got cold early too - see my full packing list here

After a meeting on Monday, we really realized that London could be our home in a few months. So then it was more about going around and looking at neighborhoods. That's why things slowed down on Insta Stories haha, I felt like I couldn't post too much! I actually had people asking me via Instagram if we were ok because I stopped posting. Sorry y'all!

Not to mention, there was ZERO time to plan before we got there because we booked flights two weeks before we left, so we just were winging it based on all your wonderful recommendations from this Instagram post and messages on Facebook

Considering it was a lot of tubing and town touring, I thought I would switch things up and instead of sharing a play-by-play of our trip, share an Instagram-Worthy London Bucket List with you!
First off, can we just establish that pretty much all of London is Instagram-worthy?! So yes, this post is going to be long, but that's how I roll :). I was really surprised at how cute of a city is considering that 11 MILLION(!) people live there. 

I love how easy Instagram was to use as a resource to find fun places to go! Much to Ryan's dismay ;), we hit SO many of them too! I added everything we did to my Instagram Highlights on my profile, you'll see the little soldier icon that says "London" and it's all right there for you!

Here's a print out for you too in case you like the areas and places we visited and want to visit them yourself! If you have trouble grabbing it or specific questions, email me at attentiontodarling@gmail.com or message me on Instagram
Here were our favorites of these locations!

We didn't time things right to make the changing of the guards, but Buckingham Palace still didn't disappoint. It's just such a magnificent building and there are so many beautiful views of it, so make sure you don't stay in just one place - walk around, walk up, walk away. 

I had such a lovely afternoon at Kensington Palace Gardens while Ryan was working. I randomly happened upon it when touring Kensington as a place to live so I decided to walk through the Gardens where I saw the swans at the lake and then made my way to the Palace. I completely lost track of time though and when I got there around 3:50, they weren't letting anyone else in for tours because they close at 4pm. Oh well, just another thing to do when we move in April! :)
PS: How awesome is my new camera (Lumix g85) + Lightroom editing. I love this photo!

When we landed and were trying to fight jet lag, we headed straight to Notting Hill to check out Portobello Road. It did not disappoint and was a great introduction to the city. 
We ate breakfast here almost every morning because it was so cute and really close to our hotel (London Bridge Hotel).  The egg butty was our fav and it's right across from an amazing juice stand! This wall is walking out of the market onto the main road, you can't miss it! And we all know a good wall is a key to Instagram-worthy!
This was by far the most recommended place. Trust me when I say the bathrooms are going to BLOW.YOUR.MIND. It felt like I was in some bizarre sci-fi movie. And then the tea... OH the tea. The service is awesome, they bring you tea of your choice and then sandwiches and cakes. It was a really neat experience y'all! We had to make reservations and it was pretty expensive but in my mind an experience like none other.

I seriously could have done a whole entire post on just this place! Only thing is, it's not the best lighting at all for photos :). 
These are the infamous bathroom pods...
Ok, how could a gal who loves good shopping NOT go to Harrods?! It was beautiful and was everything I imagined it to be and so much more! Even if you don't like shopping and can't afford a single thing in the whole store (like me haha), GO. There are entire restaurants, butchers, coffee roasters, confectionaries and more there. It was fabulous. 
You have to have Indian food when you're in London! And this is the place to get it folks! My friend Christen (follow her yummy IG) raved about the Chai Tea (my fav!) and the Egg Naan Roll for breakfast. The chai tea was insane to the membrane!!! Make this one of your first stops. 
The staff was absolutely incredible and our main waiter asked if we lived in London or were tourists and we mentioned we could potentially be moving to London. He got so excited and ran away and came back with these little tiny bags and inside was a mini bronze dice on a key ring. They have a "locals day" so if you're part of the mailing list a bring it in your dice keychain that day they give you an actual dice to roll. If you roll a 6 your entire table's meal is on them! Isn't that so fun?

I know you've seen this place all over Instagram, it's the one with the pink floral wall and yummy food! We ran out of time (and the line or "queue" as Brits say was always long) so we went at night and were so excited to get sat in the flower wall room in the back. Surprisingly, this place had the best food we ate (outside of Dishoom for breakfast). 100% order the sweet potato fries!
When I asked people where to go in London, Charleston Weender and a friend of a friend (who I think has great taste!) suggested this adorable cake shop which is in the Westminster area of town. It was absolutely adorable with its flower-filled heart outside of the pink building. Definitely save time to walk around the area and see the beautiful flower shops, shoe shops and home interior shops (my favorite made table cloths that looked like watercolor, but really spelled out funny words). 

We waited in line to get in and have a cupcake and a drink and I have to tell ya, I wasn't super impressed with the cupcakes we had. They were adorable, but dried out, unfortunately. So I would suggest taking your cute photo outside and then popping inside to grab a hot chocolate to go - because that was DELISH!  
It helped that our hotel was a few buildings down from The Shard (like a piece of glass) which is the tallest building in London and has THE best views. Now - it is incredibly expensive, but to get to the observation deck which is a floor above and is an entry fee, so at least at the Gong restaurant you get a drink for your money while you wait to get moved to a window seat. 

They do make it interesting drink wise, mine had an actual (dead) SCORPION hidden in the leaves. They told me I could eat it and I was like.... uhhhh no thanks :). The person next to us had a Star Wars themed drink that legit was floating. 
This one was a surprise for me. We didn't have it on our list, but happened upon it after Dishoom and were so surprised. We went to the Paris macaroon house of Laduree and wandered in and out of stores watching street performers and taking in the city views. 
If it's your first time to London, you just have to go to Trafalgar Square. It's an easy walk up the Mall (pronounced Mal) from Buckingham Palace. It's full of beautiful landmarks (and some street performers) and surrounded by even more historic buildings and museums. 
This is a given for a good London Instagram photo, right!? And don't stress, you'll find these fancy little booths all over London. This one was right outside Covent Garden. 
I can't believe I forgot this one on the list! It's so cool from the outside you guys and just as interesting on the inside. It was the perfect stop after a loooonnnggg day of sightseeing. 
A note on BIG BEN AND WESTMINSTER ABBEY - they both were under construction and Big Ben especially was completely covered in scaffolding so don't get your hopes up here if you're going anytime soon. 

I added thoughts on what to pack, money exchange, your cell phone and riding the tube in this post if you want more info there! 

What spots did I miss and need to go back to when we move in April?! 

What do you want to know more about! Comment below or message me on Instagram
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