Perhaps you may encounter a bit of rain, but a visit to the United Kingdom is always a winner. The countryside is green and lush, and London is easily accessible, chock full of incredible museums, galleries, shops, and epic pubs to keep one entertained for weeks on end. As I normally travel with my furry companion, I tend to stay in small villages outside of the city. Hampton is perfect. Located on the River Thames, within easy walking distance to the overground, a number of fun old pubs, and one of the best public - dog friendly - parks, I have ever seen. Our Airbnb was a stones throw from a bakery, grocery store, a number of pubs, a pet shop, pharmacy, and the train station. The river and Bushy Park both less than a mile away. Taking the overground into London takes perhaps 40 minutes and if you depart after 9:30, the entire Oyster Card day, is a lowly 12 pounds.
Dogs are allowed on just about all forms of transport, and everywhere seems to be litter free, with vast park systems and adorable villages, found at just about every tube stop. I am one to just wander, with no discernible agenda, and had an incredible time window shopping, people watching, and market hopping, just about any day of the week. Waterloo Station is huge, but don't let that scare you, there are a ton of helpers who wander around, just so folks like yourself, can ask if the Jubilee Line is your best bet, or should walking be the option of the day. It is also quite centrally located, exiting out the main doors, bearing left, crossing a couple streets, will bring you to the South Bank, with the Eye within easy reach and the lovely foot bridge pictured above. Cross the water and you enter into Convent Gardens a few blocks in front, or Trafalgar Square if you head forward and a bit to the left. Piccadilly Circus, London Bridge, Westminster, the Tate...are all within an easy stroll. Should you get tired of wandering, there are tube stations everywhere, which can easily bring you back to Waterloo, or to your next destination. Station maps are easy to decipher and your Oyster Card will get you just about anywhere.
Not only are historic buildings peppered about around town, but you can also easily find fabulous historic pubs, which are a great way to spend a few hours exploring. One of the oldest, Lamb & Flag, is located just around the corner from Convent Gardens, down a tiny alley off of Garrick Street. The lines can be long, but certainly a fun stop to grab a pint and reminisce about how it earned the nickname of "The Bucket of Blood" back during the good ole days of the 16th century. Just a short few blocks away to the west; China Town, Carnaby Street and my personal favorite, Fortnum and Mason...where royals have been shopping for luxury hampers and gifts since 1707. Wander a bit farther and Westminster Palace and the lovely Kensington Gardens, will give further instagrammable moments.
Wandering east from Convent Gardens, will bring you to St. Pauls Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Millennial Bridge, the Tate Modern, Borough Market, Shakespeare's Globe, and a number of other attractions. More than enough to fill several days worth of exploration. Though I personally did not acquire the London Pass, it is a great way to save money if you are only in town for a few days, providing discounts on many popular attractions. I do recommend getting tickets in advance to see the first ever private private showing of Pablo Picasso, at the Tate, until September of 2018, if you can make it. I had to order several days in advance, bare this in mind when planning your week. Should that not be an option, the rest of the museum is free to peruse at your leisure, and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
With dozens of adorable communities within London; Chelsea, Shoreditch, Hyde Park and Greenwich, just to name a few, can easily take up many days worth of adventures, with shopping, fooding and drinking; not to mention the fun conversations you will have with random tourists and locals alike. As mentioned above, Hampton is super close to Richmond and numerous parks as well as Hampton Court, the royal summer palace, with fabulous gardens, even a maze to explore. Don't forget the Thames, winding it's way in and around the region, providing a number of boating opportunities. Thinking about seeing some footy? Football is huge in these here parts, and you can easily attend a game in Hampton or really get into the action with more than 13 professional teams in and around the city. If Tennis is more your style, Wimbledon is just a few train stops away. More time to spare? Bath, Brighton, Southend on Sea...Guildford, are all a short train ride away and offer bucolic villages, rolling green hills, fabulous architecture and even more photo ops.
As always, I am happy to help with logistics.
Flying into Gatwick?
Helpful hint, don't take the Gatwick Express,
instead just get a ticket to Vauxhall and then transfer to your London accommodation via another train, tube or with Uber.
Need an overnight near Heathrow? The Moxy just opened, it's dog friendly and fabulous.
More questions? Give me a shout: