While I'm not one to indulge in tourist status too often (crowds kill my travel buzz like nothing else), there are always those must-see or do items on the checklist when visiting a city for the first time, and that was certainly the case with our quick weekend trip to London.
Our day started off just down the street from our hotel, at the Eye! It was so nice to be on the waterfront on such a bright spring morning. And even better? Being on the water to get a tour of the sights from the Thames River!
Our crew took the Thames Rocket tour down the river to get a bite-sized history lesson of the buildings and bridges along the way. After that, some of the group opted to go up in the London Eye, but we had another agenda: strolling the waterfront back down to our hotel where there were lots of open markets and Sunday happenings. If you're gonna opt in for a tourist moment in London, I'd say pick one or the other of these and definitely do it. The Thames holds so much history and the views are worth it!
After a quick freshen up at the hotel, it was off to Shoreditch for the Columbia Road Flower Market and shopping...
Number one on my list for this popular neighborhood was House of Hackney. Known for its amazing textiles for both home and fashion, this place was a dream. I went home with a set of napkins, but easily could have bought half the store. Someday!
This neighborhood felt most like Seattle to me - a little more hipster and grunge with so many possibilities for eating, shopping and people watching. We tried to get into Dishoom, but it was all booked up so ended up across the street at a great little spot called Albion which was part market, part cafe and 100% lovely.
If you're planning your own weekend trip to London, I highly recommend getting to Shoreditch early on Sunday and simply strolling through the markets and shops. There were tons of vintage clothing stores we didn't even have time for that I'm sure had some amazing finds in them, and we missed the flower market by a couple of hours which was a bummer.
We did make it to Labour and Wait which everyone had high on their list. Honestly... it was very similar to so many stores in the Pacific Northwest, that wasn't really impressed. Just a few doors down, however, at Monologue, I swooned over the furniture and accessories bigtime. Sadly, we had to move on or I would have easily spent an entire day in this neighborhood!
While having a schedule for each day is pretty clutch when you're trying to see so much of the city, some of my favorite parts were really just wandering through the neighborhoods and soaking in the architecture, like the scallops on that balcony. By Sunday afternoon that was all I wanted to do!
The rest of the day ended up back in Soho for a little tour of Carnaby Street, and dinner at Jinjuu which was delicious. But after such a crazy two days, we were all fading fast. It was time to pack it up, pack it in because the last leg of our adventure was about to begin...
You may recall the whole point of this weekend trip was to catch the inaugural flight on Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Seattle in celebration of their new non-stop service! They promised an experience to remember, and - indeed - it was.
Real talk for a sec: I know we're supposed to be talking about the flight itself, but the Virgin Atlantic Lounge at Heathrow is A.MAZ.ING. It's spacious, clean, with a huge bar, delicious food, and immaculate decor. Plus, they make a mean cappuccino.
I indulged in every little appetizer put in front of me, only one of which is pictured here because they all went directly into my belly. Now I understand this whole 'arriving early to the airport to enjoy the lounge' thing.
Once we were on the flight, it was non-stop treats, with a classic tea time and a cocktail hour to boot! Plus all the fun you've come to expect from Virgin. Their stewards are always such a delight and we even had some in-flight live entertainment for this special flight!
I have to thank Virgin for bringing together some of my favorite people in Seattle. If you'd like to meet them, here are their posts on this trip! Everyone had their own unique experience, so it might be fun for you pop over for theirs if you have a London trip planned! I adore each of them for making this trip SO fun!