Sunday, March 12, 2017

And the adventure begins!

We flew into London at about 11AM their time. Customs was shockingly simple and to be honest I had been worried about it from the before we even landed. With todays world issues, and President Trump making travel difficult for others, I had considered other countries making it uncomfortable for us as well. My hands were sweating as we rolled up to the customs officer with our carry on luggage and I was convinced that by that sheer fact alone, Id look suspect and need to be interrogated. "Her hands are sweating, she's clearly up to more then just visiting Loch Ness and taking selfies with Big Ben."
The reality is always much less interesting then my imagination and we sailed right through. The customs officer was very friendly and funny and we went through within minutes. He also humored me when I proudly declared how excited I was that the UK was my very first passport stamp! *Swoon*
We dragged our carryons out to our car and was met with a very talkative driver full of tips for our stay. I highly recommend Blackberry Cars.  Not only was our driver friendly and knowledgeable, the car was a well taken care of Mercedes and the price was very fair. Much lower then the traditional Black Cab, and although more then The Tube, much easier when dragging around multiple bags.
Our first stop was at our hotel, The Rubens At The Palace and I cannot say enough things about the hotel and staff there. They go out of their way to ensure your stay is perfect. From the doormen to the reception to the concierge. It was all amazing. Very clean with amazing views of The Royal Mews. Its located right across the street from Buckingham Palace and a short 10 to 15 minute walk to Big Ben and the London Eye.

We dropped our bags in the room and then wandered over to Big Ben. Its very busy in that area with tourists from all over the world and of course, the occasional British worker trying to make their way to and from work/home through the masses. 
We took our required Big Ben pics:

Fun fact: Big Ben is the giant bell inside; the tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower, but no one calls it that. :)

Big Ben and my head.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Next up, we walked over to The London Eye. The view from the top of it is amazing and its considered the number 1 paid attraction in London with about 3.5 million visitors a year. If its a clear day, they say you can see as far as Windsor Castle on it. 

Fun fact: Model Kate Moss has ridden it 25 times! 

A stow-away.

Next, as it was getting dark, we found our way to the pub The Two Chairmen. Its claim to fame, is its one of the oldest working pubs in Westminster, London. The name comes from the two men who would be hired to carry the wealthy through the streets of smelly, muddy, dirty London on sedan chairs. Across the street from the pub was a theater called the Royal Cockfight, where the wealthy would bet on cock fights. The chairmen would wait for their next fare across the street at the pub and then when called, two chairmen would pick up their next passenger and off they would go!
Its believed that yelling, "Chair Ho" was how the upper class would attract their attention and resulted in the word, "Cheerio", heard today.

The staircase in the Two Chairmen.

 Tha bar in the Two Chairmen

First Fish & Chips with peas.

Outside of the Two Chairmen

We ended our day at the hotel with some amazing tea and cookies! Only day 1 of 21 total days on our Whistle Stop tour of the UK!


  1. I've enjoyed reading and seeing your adventures. I've shown my daughter all your harry potter related stops , she is very jealous. Congratulations on the engagement !

    1. Thanks, Brandi! I'll have a Harry Potter related post from Scotland soon too, including the school that inspired Hogwarts and the inspiration for Lord Voldemort! Its all here in Scotland where JK Rowling wrote it! :)