I've never been to London before and I was so excited to finally check out this city. The one thing that I didn't realize was how big it was! London is fricken huge and the biggest part of being able to see the whole city is having a hotel in a great location. Luckily the Tube and trains around London make it easy to get to and from the airports easily, as well as around the city.
We stayed in a hotel near Paddington Station, which put us near the Nob Hill area. We chose the Stylotel. This hotel was small, but clean and cute. The staff was also very friendly and helpful with all questions that we had. Kim and I tend to ask a lot of questions because we want to know what the locals know. We aren't in town to just do the tourist stuff, we want an authentic experience. The Stylotel reminded me of a cruise ship. Narrow hallways and tiny rooms, but it was all that we needed, included breakfast in the mornings, and near public transportation. You are also given a free drink at the pub associated with the hotel, which is right around the corner. It was a decent enough place. The drinks were reasonably priced, plenty of seating, and had good music.
We had an early night and headed in because we knew we had a long day the next day. We got up pretty early and set out to get on the hop-on/hop-off bus tour. This is something that we have found to be a great way to see cities quickly and determine what we wanted to do. I would highly recommend these tours to anyone! I will say that I was pretty unimpressed with the service that we chose in London. The buses took forever and one even left us at our stop and kept driving after waiting for over 20 minutes. In London, and this is the only place that I will say this, DON'T take the city sightseeing bus, take the Big Bus Tour.
Due to traffic, it took a lot longer to get across town than we had anticipated, but it was a good time to relax and take in the atmosphere. We rode past a few of the sites and decided to get off at the Tower of London. Maybe I was just
After a quick lunch at another pub, we walked around near Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, which is a sight to be seen! It was beautiful! Then we hopped on the bus again, and rode it over to Kensington Palace. There are huge gardens and a great walking area near the palace. Unfortunately, the palace itself was under so much construction that it didn't live up to what we were hoping for. After that, we went to Buckingham Palace, which was magnificent. Of course there were plenty of people around, but it was just a great feeling to be standing there. That evening, we had dinner at the Black Swan pub, which was fun. Then we walked around and checked out a few other places before heading back to the hotel.
It was time to walk back to the hotel, and head off to the airport. London was nice, but it was time to move on...