10 Days in the UK

We had these lovely ladies visiting us for 10 days:

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They happen to be my aunt and cousin. Since we have a small family, we are a super tight family. I can’t really explain what it was like to have family visit after almost 10 months of not seeing them. And I know that if you are reading this, it might not be as interesting for you to see basically a family photo album, so I thought I would treat this as a great guide for what to do when you have 10 days in London (and the UK).

Allow time for jet lag. This is something I didn’t take into consideration and watching Mo and Caroline looking ever so pale and green on the Underground from Heathrow was a good reminder that the time change factor is a very real thing. However, we didn’t take that into consideration and the morning after they arrived, we jumped on a train to York – the medieval city that was once run by Vikings and Romans.

Take the train to York. It's only 2 hours away.

Take the train to York. It’s only 2 hours away. And when you have out of town guests, make them wear bright pink. They’re always easy to spot.

The city does have a bit of a creepy vibe at night.

The city does have a bit of a creepy vibe at night.

York Minster is stunning

York Minster is stunning

The pub is a must. And Yorkshire pudding and sticky toffee pudding.

The pub is a must. And Yorkshire pudding and sticky toffee pudding.

The York city wall

The York city wall

The Shambles - timber framed shops that were once all butcher shops.

The Shambles – timber framed shops that were once all butcher shops.

We spent 3 days in York and there was plenty to do and see. The food is amazing. Apparently, York is rated among the best cities in Europe for food and has a surprising number of Michelin starred restaurants.

Upon our return, Mo and Caroline spent a couple of days on their own doing touristy things in London – the London Eye, shopping on Regent Street, seeing the changing of the guard and Buckingham Palace. All the things that you really should do on your first trip to London. They had beautiful weather while they were here, which made things like the London Eye much more enticing.

Changing of the Guard.

Changing of the Guard.

Not all of London is chaos

Not all of London is chaos

Very large pelicans wandering around Green Park.

Very large pelicans wandering around Green Park.

Sunshine in the capital!

Sunshine in the capital!

Hope you're not afraid of heights.

Hope you’re not afraid of heights.

I spent one day with them wandering around South Bank. We went to Borough Market, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern and, of course, a pub. Not just any pub though – the George Inn. A place where Charles Dickens stayed, Churchill brought his own port and Shakespeare may or may not have been a regular.

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The George Inn. Mo and I look surprisingly well considering we were both sick as dogs. Mo was sick basically the entire time. Another thing to consider when traveling to the UK – don’t breathe on the flight over.

As far as events go, we watched a big Arsenal match at a local pub. We live about 10 minutes away from Emirates Stadium, so the buzz in our neighbourhood on game night is electric. And there is only one team you are allowed to cheer for if you value your life. We also went to the musical, Wicked, which was phenomenal. The small Italian restaurant across the street form the Apollo Victoria theatre had some great food – Il Posto.

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Grandma – note the lovely Roots purse you got me for my birthday. I absolutely love it!

Canada played Sweden in the gold medal hockey game while they were here (at a much more reasonable time than in Vancouver/Victoria), so we found Jetlag Bar, where they were showing the game for mostly Canadians. Go Canada!

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It was Caroline’s birthday whilst she was here, so we decided to take off for 2 days to the Cotswolds – just the 3 of us. The Cotswolds are villages about 2 hours out from London that are so pretty and picturesque and quintessentially British. Particularly fascinating for me is the history in the area with the Arts & Crafts Movement. William Morris, the founder of the movement in the late 1800’s, based his practice in this area so that craftsmen could go back to the roots of making things by hand. It was a rebellion to the industrial era and the mass manufacturing of lower quality products and the fear that skilled trades people would not pass along their knowledge to future generations.

We stayed in Cheltenham at what we dubbed “Faulty Towers.” And to our amazement, every restaurant in town was booked solid. That didn’t stop us though. We did what we had to and found a great pub – The Beehive. Unfortunately, a slight disruption when Phil lost his keys in London and was locked out in the pouring rain. It all got sorted though and our amazing landlord came to the rescue. And the keys were discovered back at the office (a 1.5 hour train ride away – each way – on a Saturday).

We rented a car and spent most of our time in the little villages – Stow-on-the-Wold, Bibury, Wadworth, and on-and-on.

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Beautiful pub – Falkland Arms – in a very rural location. Use GPS.

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Inside Falkland Arms

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Stone cottages and thatched roofs

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Just making a call home

And here are more pictures than necessary of The Swan Inn in Bibury where we had afternoon tea. The designer in me couldn’t help but post these. This is where I would stay if I ever go back.

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Miss you ladies so much!! Xx

 

 

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3 thoughts on “10 Days in the UK

  1. Looks like you had a great time experience greater London with your guests. I can’t wait to come and see you. Isn’t it good to know that craftsmanship is still alive and well to this day and that we haven’t lost the art of creating things by hand. Industrial age be damned!

  2. You and sparkles were great hosts! We had such a good time and you were so kind to leave out all the annoying things we did “you were snoring, no, you were snoring!”
    Miss you guys!
    PS. Snot update: no more snot
    PPS. Could you please send me some french toast from ottolenghi?
    PPPS. Is Sparkles Irish yet?

    • I’m glad you’re feeling better!! French toast is on its way, but only if you send some Blue Fox this way. Sparkles is Irish! Passport should be here next week!! Unfortunately he seems to have caught the London plague this week. Miss you! Xx

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