There was one night in London where we couldn’t get a room at Premier Inn. So we stayed at the Holiday Inn King’s Cross/Bloomsbury.
It was good – two double beds – and check this out. I opened up one of the drawers that appear to be a desk and …. TEA DRAWER!
(Note, I did make the tea that is in there. I didn’t open the drawer to find two hot cups of tea!)
Okay, this is seriously mad, but also looks like fun! Sorry we didn’t check it out when we were there!
When we visit London, we stay at the Premier Inn, which remains our go-to hotel.
For some reason, it is just hard to get a room in London for a family of four. Seriously. Either their rooms do not have the capacity for four people or they are quite expensive. It’s almost like an outlandish request if you want to stay together in one room, with your two small children.
But not at Premier Inn. We get the family room and they provide a double (which is basically an American queen) bed for us and two cots for the kids all in the same room for about £120/night. We stayed at one in London Southwark near the Tate Modern, and tried another one near King’s Cross. Both were ridiculously quiet, efficient, clean and consistent.
Even the check-in process is streamlined so you can use a glorified vending machine to get your keys. I’ve never seen anything like it in the U.S.
Plus, kids get a free hot buffet breakfast the next morning (and about £10.50 per adult). We ordered it every morning that we stayed at a Premier Inn because it’s just easier with small kids to be able to get breakfast quickly and taken care of – but the spread was very traditional, with fried eggs, British bacon (boo!), black pudding (double boo!), tomato, beans, croissants (plain, chocolate and almond varieties, yay!), cereal, fresh fruit, toast, crumpets, pancakes, coffee, tea. You name it! It was a smorgasbord of great options! Better than any Embassy Suites breakfast and I don’t say that lightly!
(Note: I am not being paid to say any of these lovely things about Premier Inn. But they really are awesome.)
Don’t you love when an impromptu singalong strikes people on the London Underground?! It’s Erasure. It’s Kentish Town. It’s amazing.
So, I told you about our epic proper British tea. But did I share the heartbreak that had happened just an hour before we waltzed into Grosvenor House?
There we sat on the London Tube – Bakerloo line – mentally preparing for bountiful treats that were awaiting us on that jet lagged afternoon — and we were nearly there. We just needed to change to the Central Line to get to Marble Arch … and the moment we got out of the carriage, my daughter turned and realized that she had left her stuffy, Oscar the Owl, behind.
So where were we? Ah yes, just landing at London Heathrow! We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, which remains part of my favorite ritual of returning back to London. There is just a certain peace in that travel – something about the homes whizzing past, the calming British accents on the overhead speaker, the quick news roundup — the 15 minute trip is one of my faves!
And then it’s Paddington Station, which still feels familiar from when I used to live here – the soup cart, Delice de France and Burger King is still there, you still have to pay to use the toilets, but there’s more construction going on! More retail and food stores in the works! It’s enough new and old to make me feel that I have returned!
On my recent trip from San Francisco to London (and back), I had 10 hours to kill. I was tempted by the prospect of taking a Zzzquil and waking up refreshed (if a little hungry), but in the end, I had a cocktail and wine with dinner and missed that elusive window (and then suffered the rest of the journey, kicking myself for not taking the Zzzquil and being so weak!).
To pass the time, I had a couple of go-to’s: Read the rest of this entry
Hello and happy 2017!
I’ve recently returned from a trip back to the United Kingdom — our last trip back was in 2013 — and have much to share about our travels. We had a fabulous visit, spending nearly three weeks seeing family and friends in the U.K. and France — with stops in London, Birmingham, Bedfordshire, Colchester and Paris. It was quite a whirlwind trip, but a fun mix of places we were familiar with and new spots we hadn’t been before.
I’ll share more in the coming weeks but wanted to just wish everyone a happy new year and hope that you had a wonderful winter break!
Here are a few shots from our flight over to London on Virgin Atlantic – we traveled economy this time (at about $800 per ticket before Christmas!) — and there were some new features, including purple lighted cabins, no more window shades (but the option to darken your window with a button) and electronic chargers! And check out our clear view of London from the sky!
Calling all Downton Abbey fans! Want the inside scoop about their filming locations in the U.K.?
Meet “The Ultimate Map of Downton Abbey Locations,” the only online map of its kind from Wayfair.co.uk. With over 70 filming locations across the U.K., you can stalk out every locale! Brilliant!
Earlier this month, we took a weekend trip to NYC to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We took the red eye on Jet Blue Friday night and flew back home Monday evening. It was a fine time to visit – the weather was unseasonably warm (high 60’s) and bright and sunny.
Some of the highlights:
1. Staying at Courtyard Marriott Manhattan/Soho (on hotel points alone!) Great hotel and location for exploring the area. Very clean with a really friendly and helpful staff. Added bonus of having a Starbucks inside for an early morning caffeine fix.