As you might have noticed if you follow on Instagram, I went to London for the first time in October to visit friends. It was my first time crossing the ocean since I went to China in college and it was definitely much needed. I adored exploring foreign streets in a new city. There was very little culture shock, it being a culture so similar to the US and with 0 language barrier. I spent a whole week (Saturday to Saturday) there with a quick day trip to Manchester where one of my friends is studying, and it still didn’t feel like enough time. Already planning a visit back to see more, eat more, and spend more time with my Londoners!
As I took a million pictures of everything I did or tried, I’m going to break out my London trip into a series of posts rather than including all the pictures or trying to narrow down everything I captured while there. I want to document all of the highlights, from the gorgeous exterior architecture to the delicate sandwiches I ate at tea. This post being the first, I’m dedicating this to the sightseeing and indoor touristy things I did including museums and historical tours (hello, Parliament!). Follow along if you’re in the mood for a serious dose of English culture, everything from the V&A to an homage to Harry Potter.
Shopping along Oxford Street we popped into Liberty department store. I’m familiar with the brand from their gorgeous floral printed line with J. Crew and had to take a stroll through. My favorite part was the Christmas shop of course!
Paid a visit to King’s Cross to take a look the famous Platform 9 3/4. I didn’t want to wait in line to take a picture with the trolley but the station itself was a sight to behold and it was fun to match the location to the beloved books.
I popped into The British Museum with a friend to pass the time before we met up for dinner with another friend. The architecture itself was beautiful to behold. The best part was the FREE admission. Why does it seem like NYC is the only city that charges for museums these days?
The Rosetta Stone, which previously hadn’t been on my radar probably since learning about it briefly in middle school or high school, was a sight to behold. Awe inspiring how much it influenced research.
An Easter Island head! I was a little starstruck by this guy. An iconic figure in my book.
More department store wanderings, these are from Harrod’s of course. Such a gorgeous building in itself, the luxury items held within were almost secondary to their surroundings. Just look at those flowers and chocolates!
While in Manchester I visited a boutique that caught my eye (fittingly called Oklahoma – hello US!). It was full of such wonderful knick knacks I could have perused for hours. The decor was bright and colorful and the staff was sweet and helpful. I wish I could’ve taken the whole place home with me!
Once back from Manchester, I spent a rainy day visiting more free museums. The National Gallery was the perfect dose of art of all kinds after an afternoon croissant and coffee in their cafe. I always go straight for the Impressionists, but made sure to do a full loop afterwards.
With museum hours quickly coming to an end I hurried over to the V&A and sped through as many rooms as I could, prioritizing the fashion of course. The “Mr. Darcy” time period as I like to call it was definitely a favorite of mine. After ogling the interior itself along with the museum’s statues and contents, I continued to the upstairs.
Where I encountered the most appealing dual story library…
and gorgeous jewels galore. I’ll take one of each please! These definitely had me thinking of the royal family and dreaming of wearing tiaras.
After sating my appetite for museums, I continued on my priority list to book shops, of which London had plenty of intriguing options. During my morning in Notting Hill I visited the two above, one small and string with paper garlands, and one that led back deceivingly far with colorful and cheery holiday decorations.
While in London I knew I wanted to visit the House of MinaLima, which I had heard about through a post on my all time favorite blog, The Londoner (check it out, it’s everything a blog should be and more). As a big Harry Potter fan, I was thrilled to pore over the creative designs of the couple behind many of the Harry Potter world visuals you see in the movies. The way they brought the books to life is truly creative genius at work and walking into their world was like walking through a chapter of the book. If you’re a fan I can’t recommend a visit enough, plus it’s free!
The morning of my final day kicked off with a tour of Parliament, which was fascinating and humbling in the fact that I learned how much I had to learn about English government! They didn’t allow photography in many of the rooms but the great hall itself was breathtaking. It was fascinating to stand in the rooms where legislation is debated and I only wish I could’ve seen them in session!
Afterwards I wandered through yet another brilliant bookstore that I had seen on social media, Daunt Books. I was on the clock to get to my flight home otherwise I could’ve spent hours exploring every corner. After a quick tour and pausing over their section dedicated to London and travel (already dreaming of my next international jaunt!), I hurried out to head to Heathrow.
That’s the highlights of my indoor exploits while in London. Stay tuned for far more coverage of my time across the pond as I have far too many beautiful pictures to keep to myself!