For me, when it comes to visiting London for short periods the most complicated part is not to get lost in a broad choice of world famous attractions, various activities and numerous restaurants and bars. This is not the situation when you should trust yourself to fate and let all happen by itself. You need a plan. Thanks to my friend Marina and her passion for planning we managed to see some of the most beautiful spots and get into world famous restaurants and bars within only 2 days.
Lat week I started telling you about how to spend 2 days in London and shared our self-invented entertainment plan for Day 1 including the shortlist of must-see’s and a couple of dining choices. Today I am happily sharing a plan for Day 2!
- As you may know England has some the most beautiful castles in the world. So why don’t grab a few sandwiches and coffee, and take an early morning train ride to one of them. This is what we’ve actually did. Train trips are my passion, by the way. Mornings on train stations are full of magic spirit, aren’t they?
- From London Waterloo station you can easily get to Windsor & Eton Riverside. The ride takes around 30 minutes and online return ticket costs £12. The train takes you directly to Windsor, lovely town with Themes riverside, pretty houses and small restaurants.
- This town is a home for Windsor castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the entire world and official residence to the British Royal Family. The area is huge, but you are welcome to visit only a part of it: State Apartments, private apartments of George IV, St George’s Chapel and Queen Mary’s dolls’ house.
- Entrance ticket costs £20.50 and better get it online in advance.
- There are 150 people living and working in the castle. It’s used regularly for ceremonial and state occasions, including state visits from overseas monarchs and presidents. The Queen spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle and takes up official residence for a month in spring and for a week each June.
- St George’s Chapel, built inside castle walls, is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter – the oldest order of chivalry in the world, founded by Edward III in 14 century. Today, the Order consists of The Queen, The Prince of Wales and 24 Knight Companions.
- The castle was under huge fire in 1992. Its restoration costed £37 million which was largely covered by proceeds of tourist admissions to Buckingham Palace, open to the public for the first time in 1993.
- Coming closer to the castle we notices rare vintage Jaguar cars approaching the Norman gate. Later on we’ve found out Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival took place that day, event supported The Prince Philip Trust Fund.
- A bit later, while walking inside the castle, through the windows we noticed Royal delegation sitting in a tent in the Upper Ward and greeting guests of the festival. Someone in the crowd said Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, was there covering Prince Philip duties.
- After you got your decent portion of Middle Ages it’s time to come back to London and change a focus and do some… shopping! Before this trip I got many recommendations on where to do shopping. And Portobello Road Market was one of them.
- The market is famous for its antique stalls and shops. But truly saying I noticed lots of pseudo-antique sorts of everything imported from China and nothing I could stop my eye on. The bonus is street-food and colorful houses lengthwise the street. If you like shopping without knowing exactly what you’ll find, or buying some useless shitty stuff, you’ll love Portobello.
- But if your shopping intentions are serious as were mine (needed to buy a birthday present for my husband), go better to Selfridges or House of Fraser on Oxford street. I know it’s not the same. I don’t know why I was so naive hoping to find something special for my hubby on street market!
- And finally, at the end of the day treat yourself with a super delicious peace of meat. If you are steak lover I truly recommend visiting one of Steak & Co.’s in Londons West End. Their steaks are great – first are being caramelized on the chargrill and then served to you on a sizzling hot stone to cook to your personal perfection. As a final you add infused butter, salt and a sauce to match your taste. Guys have tight reservation list so you better make prior booking.
And as promised, a short tip regarding accommodation. I’ve been in a struggle for several years helping my office teammates to find a comfy hotel in the range of 100GBP/night. And mostly all places were damp holes. But finally here it is. A small neat Mayflower Hotel&Apartments near the Earl Court, modest 95th place in the list of best hotels in London by TimeOut . The rooms are not spacious I should admit, but clean and well-decorated. They serve free breakfast as I remember.
Hope this was helpful. Cheers!