The first stop on our “honeymoon” trip to Europe this year was London. We actually arrived late on Christmas Day so our first real day was on December 26, or Boxing Day! Boxing Day is a bank holiday in the UK, however it is also a huge shopping day with loads of post-Christmas sales at most of the high street shops. This made for the perfect combination of a sleepy city in the morning with little to no tourists in some typically super busy areas and then a more active afternoon/evening, which was awesome.
We started our day off early and headed from our hotel, The Hoxton in Holborn, to Seven Dials and Neal’s Yard. We were actually on the hunt for Monmouth Coffee, BUT given that it was Boxing Day every independent coffee shop we turned up to was closed. Turns out, just check little shops instagrams or twitters because we could have shaved a bit of walking off our trip if we had just looked beforehand!
We still got the treat of this whole neighborhood being empty and had Neal’s Yard entirely to ourselves. This little nook is easy to miss if you don’t know its there, but once you head through the alleyway you are greeted with an explosion of kitsch and color! Once we finished up looking around what could have been a little fairy’s neighborhood, we headed to Covent Garden for a much needed caffeine fuel up (courtesy of Starbucks) to continue our day.
We pre-booked tickets to Winter Wonderland for about mid-day so that was our next stop. The booking process was easy albeit tickets were a bit expensive. Overall, I believe that it was worth it to pick just a couple attractions and have a wander around the grounds after that. The park at this time wasn’t crowded either and we didn’t have to wait in line anywhere. We visited the Magical Ice Kingdom and Giant Wheel as part of our ticketed portion and then looked around the stalls a bit. The ticket times were even pretty flexible (at least on this day) we were a bit late for the ice kingdom and an hour early for the wheel but had no issues at all. We had a bit of hot cider to warn our bones and then decided we should be off to Southbank!
We mooched around Southbank for a bit and then headed up to our hotel for a rest before going to the ballet that evening! We saw The Nutcracker in London Coliseum. It was a beautiful show with great storytelling and is a tradition that I try to do every year. Once the show was over we decided to walk back home to enjoy some of London’s amazing Christmas lights before hitting the hay.
We only had a few hours left in London the next morning, so we decided to leave our bags at the hotel and head off to Shoreditch to have a little explore. It was quite early so a lot of the shops were closed due to holiday hours but it was a great walk around nevertheless. We saw a lot of cool street art and the “Banksy wall”, stopped over at Dum-Dum Donuts (worth the hype) and then headed up to King’s Cross for the next leg of our trip!
Partners in Flight