London

Back in November, McKenna and I spontaneously booked flights to London for a Thursday and Friday. We booked the first flight out at 7 am so we could get the most out of our two days, but our flight ended up being delayed more than five hours so we didn't make it to London until dinner time. When we finally got into London, we quickly found our hostile, checked in, dropped our stuff off and headed out to explore. We stayed by the London Bridge, so we walked along the river towards Covent Garden. 

Covent Garden Market // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Covent Garden Market // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog

I was so excited to see the Covent Garden Market because I have seen so many dreamy pictures of it this summer. While the balloons were gone, it was decorated for Christmas. There were huge pieces of mistletoe, disco balls hanging and a few Christmas trees. We grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Wahacah. After dinner, we met up with McKenna's friend Amanda, who is studying in London. She took us to the best little underground restaurant for dessert. It didn't have any signage, but their website said there would be a small red door, the door led to a set of stairs to a basement and when you opened the door it was like a whole new world. Post dessert, we took the tube to Kensington to go ice skating and see Harrods' Christmas lights. On the way home, we walked through Piccadilly's Circus to see the Christmas lights and decor. 

Swarovski Ice Rink // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Harrods // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Piccadilly Circus // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Borough Market // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog

The next morning, we got up with the sun to make the most of our day before having to head back out to the airport at 3 pm. We started at The Breakfast Club for breakfast and then headed down the Thames River to see all the sights. Our first stop was the Tower Bridge. It looks like it belongs at Disney, it's so colorful and cute. It often gets confused with the London Bridge, which leaves a lot to be desired haha. We saw a plaque that said the London Bridge that is there today is not the original one, so hopefully at one point it was a little more interesting. As we continued down the river, we walked past Shakespeare's Globe. I wish we had more time so that we could have gone in, but it was still fascinating to see a site that I read so much about in school and holds so much history. 

Bridge Tower // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Palace of Westminster // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog

The next sight down the river was the London Eye, again another thing we couldn't do with the little time that we had. I'll just have to go back to do everything that we missed haha. From the London Eye, you could see Big Ben. It was much smaller than McKenna and I were expecting. It was still beautiful, and we got there just in time to hear it ring which made the experience so surreal. Connected to Big Ben is the Westminster Palace and the Westminster Abbey. We walked through the gardens around them both (lacking time to tour) and then walked up to Buckingham Palace through St. James Park. 

London Eye // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Westminster and Big Ben // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Westminster Abbey // London Eye // Samantha McNeil
Green Park // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
A Wheatfield, with Cypresses // Van Gogh // National Gallery // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Van Gogh's Sunflowers // National Gallery // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Covent Garden Market // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Covent Garden Apple Market // London England // Samantha McNeil

The Buckingham Palace was also a bit of a let down because we had missed the changing of the guard. It doesn't happen every day, and we had hoped to see it the prior day but missed it because of our massive delay.  It was interesting to see everything from TV (Will and Kate's wedding) in real life. The palace has a mall leading up to it that leads to Trafalgar's Square where the National Gallery is. We popped in there real quick to warm up and see Van Gogh's sunflowers. After regaining feeling in our fingers we ventured out to go back to Covent Garden to see it during the day. It was so cute and of course, we had to snap telephone booth pictures. 

London England // Samantha McNeil Blog
Jar Kitchen // London England // Samantha McNeil Blog

We quickly grabbed lunch at Jar Kitchen and then went to find where McKennas Dad's London office is located. We got a little lost and found the most beautiful street. (see picture below)

London England // Samantha McNeil Blog

London is my second favorite city we visited (first being Paris). The city has such a character that is so unique and quirky, that you can feel in every aspect of the city, from the architecture to the people to the shops and the fashion. London and Paris are two cities I need to live in before I die, they are so magical. 

xx, Samantha