Updated: Jul 13
What a whirlwind! What a city! It blew my mind ten times over.
So much to see & do, I could not sit still for a moment.
To be able to see the history of this two-thousand year old city through it's buildings, monuments and artifacts is incredible.
The wealth is astounding, the power palpable.
Everything is so grand! The architecture extraordinary.
The old and the new mixed together so artistically. The museums are enormous, housed in incredible buildings.
The churches are out of this world.
So much of it is about power, so much of it is about war and death. A reminder of our brutal past and how far we've come.
It felt so good to be out in the world again!
I did a lot of research in order to get the most out of our time there.
I find trips go so much smoother when they're planned out, you don't waste precious time when you're there.
I hope you too will be able to visit this incredible city one day!
And I hope my guide helps you have a great trip too.
I will be posting more photos & videos on my Instagram
My favourite thing was:
St. Paul's Cathedral *highlight
£17 / Triforium (attic) Tour £7
Tour 90 minutes + 90 minutes to 2 hrs to explore the cathedral
Area: City of London
St. Paul's Cathedral is a piece of art. An incredible feat created by artisans over 300 years ago. We don't make buildings like this anymore and it's a shame. London is filled with these extraordinary buildings and it's mesmerizing!
To give you an idea of how much Londoners value their buildings, in World War II they stationed soldiers, who were architecture students, in the cathedral as the city was being bombed. Their lives worth risking to save this amazing building. They put out the fires from the bombs and saved the cathedral.
St. Paul's is as grand as it gets. It's dome the highest in the world. You may recognize it from Diana & Charles' wedding. Apparently they chose it over the customary Westminster Abbey because it lent itself much better to being televised. It's much more open and airy than Westminster Abbey.
We went on an intimate behind the scenes tour of the attic 'Triforium" of the cathedral. We happen to be the only ones on our tour (it could have been up to 15 people). We were very lucky!
On our tour, we got an incredible view of the interior of cathedral from above, saw beautiful works of art and visited a room with a detailed wood model of a proposed, but rejected, design for the cathedral. It felt like such a privilege to be there.
We then walked up many many many stairs, through secret stone corners and spiral staircases to a circular balcony at the top of the dome overlooking the city - spectacular!
Audio guides are available to listen to as you walk through the cathedral. We later found out that we could have asked for a free tour by one of the very passionate volunteers in red sashes. Next time!
Also for next time, we will visit when choir is singing (which they call Quire), usually at 5pm, but make sure to double-check the schedule if you plan to go and listen.
The Tate Modern
free / there are some special exhibits that are paid
90 min to 2 hrs
The Tate is just a 10 minute walk over a pedestrian bridge over the Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral, so we managed to squeeze it in.
The best part was an installation in the main hall where balloons that looked like squid aliens floated up and down. (see video on my Instagram).
Go if you're a fan of modern art, it's all very strange and housed in a rather austere mostly windowless building. Personally, I would skip it.
It really depends, I guess, on what shows are on display.
The Nickel Bar in The Ned Hotel *highlight
Area: City of London
A friend who lives in London told us about this place and I was so grateful!
We walked in a bit tired from our day, wanting our last night to be special and were hit by the most amazing experience!
A converted bank, it's a grand space with a round stage in the centre. The London Dance Orchestra was playing and they were incredible! Luckily we got there fairly early, as it's first come first serve, and were able to snag a table right in front of the stage.
As the night progressed professional swing dancers arrived and put on quite a show! We felt like we had traveled back in time. It was the most perfect ending to a perfect trip.
There are many restaurants in each corner of the enormous space but the best place to take it all in is The Nickel Bar that surrounds the stage.
They have different bands every night so check their website to see which night suits your taste. It's worth looking up the band on YouTube to make sure you'll like it. If the bands are not listed on the website send them an email and they will send you the weekly list.
This is in a fairly new hotel (2017), The Ned, It's grand and extravagant like buildings of yesteryear. Looks like it even has a rooftop pool!
It's near The Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.