How to make the most of visiting London

The London edition...

On the eve of another pilgrimage to the capital for a taste of culture, cuisine and maybe a wee bit of reminded me of a trip I made to London about the same time last year. I often visit to see family, for work, or to see a particular show or exhibition, but last year we decided to make like tourists to get the full 'Big Smoke' experience.
We haven't done this kind of trip since we were kids and it was lovely to see it through fresh eyes. We took the Hull Trains service down to London which took about 2 hours 30 minutes and all the while we were able to chat, which made the trip seem longer.

We whiled away the day with a leisurely brunch and wandering the streets near our hotel in South Kensington, doing the obligatory run through Harrods en route. There are so many interesting boutiques and coffee shops that at times you feel you can't walk two feet without oooohing and aaaahing at something interesting.

In the afternoon we decided we needed a little more culture and so bought tickets for the tour of Westminster. Did you know it is called the Palace of Westminster? This is because the first royal palace was built on the site in the eleventh century, and Westminster was the primary London residence of the Kings of England until a fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.

After that, it served as the home of Parliament and is still the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants. It was absolutely fascinating to look around and every wall contains some amazing remnant of history!

We then headed back to our digs to get ready for dinner. We'd booked Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, as we cook a lot of his food at home and were keen to sample the restaurant. I held my opinion in reserve, as I have eaten at celebrity chef's restaurants previously and some have been amazing, others less so. We thoroughly enjoyed Fifteen, though, with it's English take on tapas but the main spectacle were the lush cocktails. The Old Fat Fashioned was pure theatre and extremely potent!

The next day we took in the usual haunts, such as Buckingham Palace. I tried to photobomb the beefeaters but the photo ended in a blurry mess. The London Eye took us up, up and away where we got a magical view of the city until the ominous storm clouds swooped in.

We beat a hasty retreat from the rain as we had an early dinner appointment before we saw Cirque Du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall. We had previously seen Ka in Las Vegas, which was a massive bucket list tick for me, but seeing Quidam at the Royal Albert Hall was an amazing follow up due to the sheer awesomeness of the venue really. I love the dreaminess of Cirque and may just make it an ambition to watch all of the Vegas shows one day.

We topped off a lovely weekend by paying a cheeky visit to the magical world of Harry Potter on the way home. I was a latecomer to Harry Potter, mainly because I tend to avoid anything that is overly hyped (it's the rebel in me), but like many others, when I did get around to it, I fell in love with the imaginative world of wizards, witches and warlocks. Harry Potter World at the Warner Brothers studios is so much fun for adults and kids alike and is definitely worth a visit.

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