Visiting Rowan in London

First, my apologies if you were notified that this post was up only to find it deleted. I’m still figuring out this app and accidentally published it early.

Second, sorry about any technical issues that crop up. The app is good, but nothing beats a computer for formatting and the wifi here is struggling with all the pictures. 

And finally, how does this format work? Would it be better if I posted each day separately? Or a few times a week? I don’t want to be overrun with 100 posts from this one trip but I can do that if this is too much for one post. 

On to the blog!

Our apartment

We stayed in a London Short Let apartment two streets from Rowan. It was one room and one bathroom in a lovely townhouse right around the corner from an underground station. 

Sunday 3/12

Talia and I both arrived at the Heathrow airport at around noon on Sunday. We were able to find each other after customs. We took a national express bus to the Victoria station where we met up with Talia’s best friend Rowan who is studying abroad here. She took us on the tube to our apartment for the week and we got checked in then walked around the area for the evening. 

Monday 3/13

Monday was Harry Potter day! Our HP tickets weren’t till 1:30 so Talia and I got up at about 9 and went to Portobello Road market. We got some souvenirs then picked up lunch on the way back to the apartment. Rowan met us there at 12 and we took a taxi to the Warner Brothers Studio. We shopped a little before our time slot then waited in the long line to get in. We had a great afternoon and spent about 4 hours going through the studio tour with our audioguides. 

The model of Hogwarts used for the sweeping shots in the movies

Tuesday 3/14

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Rowan had classes all day, so Talia and I saw the big sights on our own. 

We got up a little late on Tuesday (I was having a nightmare about a group project). Rowan had set up a tour of most of the major sights for a previous visitor in the app Citymapper so she sent it to Talia and we followed it around the sights. We started on the Underground to Westminster Abbey. We went in and spent the rest of the morning doing the audio guide of the church. We had some sticker shock after the £17 per person entrance fee for the Abbey, so we just admired Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from the outside. We took a bus to the Tate Modern Museum where we got a great view of London from above. 

We had a very late lunch at a pizza place near Shakespeare’s Globe then crossed the Millennium bridge to see St. Paul’s Cathedral. We then took another bus to the monument to the Great Fire of London. The monument was right around the corner from the London Bridge so we walked halfway across that to take pictures of the much prettier Tower Bridge. 

After leftovers at our apartment for dinner, we went to see the play “An American in Paris” at the Dominion Theatre. We had seats in the next to last row of the balcony, so far back that the usher laughed when he saw where we were, but I didn’t feel like they were that bad at all. We still really enjoyed the show. 

Wednesday 3/15

The first thing we did on Wednesday was go see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. We arrived about half an hour early and stood in the massive crowd for the 40 minute long switched had a great view of the driveway they walked out of, though we couldn’t see in the gates from where we were. While we were waiting for them to come out and march away we were entertained by a police man directing the mobs of people to keep moving through the walkway. 

From Buckingham Palace, we walked through St. James’ Park to the Churchill War Rooms. We had lunch there and spent several hours going through the audio tour. Next, we walked to Trafalgar Square and enjoyed the Renaissance and Impressionist paintings in the National Gallery. We had a late dinner with Rowan at Ottolenghi. 

Talia on the steps of St. James’s
Churchill War Rooms
Rowan and Talia at Ottolenghi

Thursday 3/16

Since Rowan was in class all day, Talia and I decided to take a day trip to Greenwich. We took a 1 hour boat ride (with commentary) there then ate lunch and spend the afternoon exploring Greenwich. Unfortunately, the painted hall and the Queen’s House were closed for renovations so there wasn’t as much to do as we had hoped. We did see the very ornate chapel and the green where they shot the climax of Thor 2 before hiking up through the park to see the Prime Meridian. 

We took a faster boat back to Westminster Pier and took the metro about halfway back to our apartment. Unfortunately, because of a host of issues all over the metro line and massive delays we ended up walking over 2 miles home from Earl’s Court Station. We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream though so it wasn’t in vain. 

Friday 3/17

Talia and I spent most of the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum. We had a late lunch nearby then took the tube to Kensington Palace. The palace had a whole exhibit about Princess Diana’s fashion with dresses from various stages in her public life. From the palace, we walked through Hyde Park to meet Rowan at our apartment. The three of us swung by 221b Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes’ apartment) before going to Harrod’s. We had tea and pastries in The Tea Room, got macaroons, and picked up some rose tea for our mom. We finished the evening with dinner at a pub at Victoria Station. 

Saturday 3/18

Last day in London! Rowan wanted to sleep in so Talia and I headed to the British Museum without her. We got to skip the long security line because our purses were small so we got inside at about 10:30. We started with the famous Rosetta Stone then spent several hours going through rooms Egyptian and ancient Grecian artifacts. 

We weren’t really into it anymore after lunch so we headed down to Leicester Square. We followed a path suggested by Rick Steves from the square to Covent Garden then took the tube to Soho. We passed a huge anti-Trump rally going the other way up Regent Street then got back on the tube and went back to our apartment. 

We met Rowan for dinner and went to a local theater to see Beauty and the Beast.

Next stop: Dublin, Ireland


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