After a couple trips to England, I still feel like a novice when it comes to all things British however, I have had wonderful experiences each time. Architecturally, there are a plethora of sites to see but almost none is as spectacular as Highclere Castle. I was lucky enough to attend a private birthday/anniversary party inside, which was fantastic!
If you are a fan of the television show Downton Abbey, it is well worth the train ride to Hampshire, located about 1 hour and 20 minutes from London. The 5,000 acre estate includes amazing gardens and an interesting Egyptian exhibit, both open during late spring & summer months. Newbury is the closest town offering accommodations and it’s a quaint little town full of character.
London itself is a thriving metropolis brimming over with parks, restaurants and pubs. I attended an incredible concert last summer in Hyde Park and enjoyed several unique spots throughout my visit. The obvious stops are all the Royal sites as well as taking a ride on the London Eye Ferris wheel, which provides stunning views of the city.
The shopping “must do” is perusing Harrod’s, if nothing else than to walk through their shoe department:) or to gaze upon their fantastic art pieces. It is quite a marvel and worth a visit. Notting Hill is another “must see” as its a trendy neighbor with a bohemian vibe full of cafes and shops. They also have a carnival every year over 2 days in August, which is supposed to be a fun experience.
There are several good restaurants, speakeasies and hot spots in London but a special little spot to grab a cocktail is Mr Fogg’s Residence, which opens at 4pm. Unique libation creations & decor. Dukes Bar is also worth a visit, as it is said to have been the bar that inspired Ian Fleming for James Bond’s famous martini.
Hints: While traveling abroad, take a photo of your passport so you have it on your phone, just in case.
Also, carry a pen to fill out immigration/customs forms on the plane while you are flying because they are often limited on the airplane.
Remember, they drive on the other side of the street, so look both ways before you cross.
Lastly, make sure you use the restroom before you land as many times there’s no toilet until you pass through immigration, which can have long lines.
I look forward to many more visits to England, as there is much to see across the pond.