Can we time travel back a few months, to April?
We traveled to London to run a marathon. I had just one must see on my list, touring The London Tower.
We planned our trip to arrive a week before the marathon, to adjust to the timezone, and allow time to explore the city.
Regents Park served as our home base. We took the red-eye from NYC to London. Bill had meetings within hours of our arrival so I grabbed my umbrella and walked every inch of Regents Park. The flowers were spectacular but expected since this is home to The Queen's Walk. It's absolutely divine.
Primrose Hill is connected to Regents Park. I didn't realize Primrose Hill is a hill with vast open space for concerts, filled with dogs and children playing, and people taking time to relax. It reminded me of Stephen's Green in Dublin.
I walk everywhere when we travel. This let's me get lost, discover, and feel the city. One day while walking from Covent Garden to our hotel I spent an hour walking in circles at Seven Dial Corner. I did master navigating Seven Dial which sends you in seven directions and serves as a shortcut.
Above: Covent Garden, Neal's Yard, and Seven Dial.
Covent Garden: I walked through this place several times to absorb the energy, shop the outdoor market, take in the performances, and people watch. Make sure to find Neal's Yard when you visit London, it's a hidden alley with shops, coffee, and food.
The Underground... we were a bit reluctant to use it but it's SO much easier to use than the NYC subway system.
We even spent 24 hours in Birmingham.
A work colleague of Bill's traveled with us via high speed train to Birmingham, 125 miles south of London. A 90 minute ride landed us in the middle of nowhere. Bill was in meetings day and night, giving me time to run on dirt roads and refuel. This was exactly what I needed. With farmland in every direction I ran on dirt roads leading to a farm. I read, and napped. We were back in London by 10am the next day.
Over the next few days I visited, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abby and Big Ben, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and more. London is a walking city.
Bill and I spent one day touring The Tower of London, traveling via the Underground to visit the marathon expo (pick up our race packets), and dining at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant.
The day before the Marathon we toured London via a Hop On/Off bus. We hopped off several times. I wanted Bill to walk through Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. After grabbing a bite to eat, we walked to the Millennium Bridge and hopped back on to the bus to end our 'day without a plan' on a river cruise.
The next day we ran a marathon, flying home the day after the run. You can read about my marathon experience HERE... it was amazing.
In 2013 I spent a week in Oxford, and 36 hours in London. Visiting Shakespeare's Theater, walking through Highgate Cemetery, and hiring a taxi for the afternoon to drive us through the city. My father and I ended up in Notting Hill, at a bookstore. CLICK HERE to read about how I traveled from NYC to London.
They say people identify with London OR Paris, preferring one over the other. I adore both cities. Do you have a favorite?