Our second day in London was already off to a better start than the first due to one simple factor….sleep. The first day in a new city with jet lag is always a challenge. We made a quick stop for breakfast at Pret a Manger. This is a chain café with multiple locations throughout London. We were able to get coffee, diet coke and 2 muffins for around £7. We didn’t realize until our last day that breakfast was included with our room at the Intercontinental, so lesson learned…always ask.
We started our day at the Tower of London. Get here early; it gets busy fast. We arrived 30 minutes after opening and headed straight to the Crown Jewels exhibit without too much of a wait. There are multiple exhibits to visit within the Tower of London complex, but this is the only one we encountered that didn’t allow photographs.
A walk along the walls of the outer castle will give you some great views of the Thames, City of London (financial district) and Tower Bridge.
The Tower Bridge and Exhibition were next on our agenda. You can walk across the Tower Bridge for free on the bridge level. If you want to go up into the towers and walk across the elevated walkways which include the glass floor, you’ll need to purchase a ticket or use the London Pass. Also helpful to know is that there is a lift (elevator) up to the 4th level for the exhibit and walkways, a fact we discovered after much huffing, puffing and thigh burning going up the stairs.
Next up, Windsor Castle. Windsor is a short 35-minute train ride from Central London and I wish I’d planned a whole day here. The town is quintessential English and adorable. The grounds of the castle are gorgeous and I loved every minute of it. There are lots of cute shops and restaurants surrounding the castle and I would have loved more time to explore.
TT: You can reach Windsor from Waterloo or Paddington stations. The Waterloo train takes almost an hour since it stops every 5 minutes. Paddington is express to Slough where you make a quick change and go straight to Windsor. The Paddington route is also covered by your London Pass. No need to buy a ticket, just show your pass to the conductor if requested.
We returned to London and visited the National Portrait Gallery. The Centennial anniversary of Vogue special exhibit that featured photos of Duchess Kate had just opened. Kevin was a good sport and walked through with me.
I made reservations at 7:30 at Portrait, the restaurant on the top floor of the gallery. This was my favorite meal during our time in London. The food and the views were phenomenal. This photo doesn’t do it justice thanks to the glare on the glass but the timing of our reservation was perfect for sunset and seeing the city lights.
We ordered a crab appetizer, chateaubriand, and dessert. I am lacking words to express how scrumptious this meal was. My mouth is watering thinking about it as I reminisce while I’m writing. Easily one of the top 3 meals I’ve had in my lifetime. It’s also in the top 3 most expensive meals in my lifetime. With tip and currency exchange, it was close to $200. Typically, we don’t spend that much on food but this was a special occasion and I have no regrets.
TT: We purchased 3 day London Passes for our stay and it was definitely a good deal. The pass gained us free entry to Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge Exhibition, Windsor Castle, Queens Gallery, Royal Mews, and train travel to Windsor. The pass is also good at dozens of other venues but we got our money’s worth with just these few.
In case you missed it, you can read about Day 1 here and Day 3 is coming soon. Don’t forget you can click the ‘share’ button below to pin on pinterest or share on Facebook or Twitter. The bloggy love is appreciated!