Well, I am finally blogging our last day in London. This was a whirlwind of a day, as we tried to squeeze in as much as we could into our last hours there.
We started out the day at the London Eye. We made reservations ahead of time to try to bypass the long lines to purchase tickets. There’s less of a wait to pick up tickets, than there is for purchasing them there. (We purchased the “standard ticket”)
I know some people say they don’t like the London Eye because it’s “too touristy,” but these views are hard to pass up and added so much joy to our trip, so I think it is worth the time and effort to go. The whole ride from start to finish is about 30 minutes for the full revolution.
From there we walked over in the direction of Buckingham Palace, for the traditional “changing of the guard.” We didn’t care about seeing the entire ceremony, so we snuck in on the tail end of it, taking our time getting there by strolling through St. James Park on the way.
By this time, I had still not made my way to Notting Hill, and that was something I really wanted to do. We had originally planned to go to Notting Hill’s Portobello Road market the first day we arrived in London, but opted to go to Borough market instead. So we hopped on the tube and headed to the Notting Hill district. We were starving when we arrived, so we kept our eyes out for an appealing place to eat and found Le Pain Quotidien. This cafe and bakery looked so yummy from the window, and hit the spot on that very drizzly day. We hunkered down in the back of the cafe for a nice hot meal. I ordered tea to warm up and then had the most delicious chicken pot pie of my life. No exaggeration. For dessert, an almond croissant, which was equally delicious.
Our view out the restaurant window
I really wanted to sit and relax in that cafe all afternoon, and would have if time was not an issue. We continued on, with no real plan, just making our way off the main roads and back into the quieter neighborhoods until finally coming across Portobello Road. The market wasn’t open until Saturday, but a few vendors had some stuff out, plus all the shops that line the road were open.
I found a cute booth selling mismatched china and spent some time rifling through the crate of plates, in the pouring rain, but it was worth it to get a little wet. Right as I started to look through all she had to sell, a gail force wind (ok maybe not that intense) came ripping through the street, knocking over a bunch of booths and almost knocking over her entire stand of china. I held the table down as I saw it starting to tip and she thanked me for saving her china by giving me a discount. I found a cute cake plate and would have taken home the whole crate had I the room (and the money). I figured a plate was easier to pack than a tea cup. The vendors were all saying they had never seen weather like that in Notting Hill.
After the weather started to get crazy windy and the rain started to pour, we decided to wait it out in a cafe, and had some hot chocolate. Once the weather calmed down, we walked the neighborhoods of Notting Hill for a while before moving on.
By the late afternoon, we were headed to Trafalgar Square, to The National Gallery. Bonus: free admission! We spent some good time there. Their collection of works was my favorite out of all the places we went to.
Ryan’s cute little Instagram pic
We walked on to Piccadilly from there and went to Waterstones Piccadilly, the largest bookstore in Europe with six floors dedicated to books. We went there to go have drinks at the 5th View– a Cocktail Bar and Grill, and enjoyed the views overlooking the city ( I didn’t take any pictures of this part). It was a really enjoyable evening and a good way to end our time in London. I never wanted to leave!
The last days of the trip were spent in gorgeous Ireland. We are nearing the end of these Europe posts folks. 🙂