I’ve finally gotten around to putting the second part of our London holidays together! If you missed part one you can catch up on it here.
After our exhausting but exhilarating day at Sketch and Warner Brothers World on Sunday, we started the next week at a slower pace with a sleep-in and then a leisurely walk through Regent’s Park to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. 221b Baker Street was another attraction that Craig wanted to tick off his London list, while I haven’t read a single Sherlock Holmes book although I had watched a couple of movies. There was a long queue to get in as they only let in small groups at a time, and luckily we eventually made it inside just before a wild rain storm! It was very amusing that the tour guides acted like Sherlock was just out for the day and talked about him and his ‘belongings’ in the house as if they were real, though there were also a lot of mannequins on the top floor which were more than a little terrifying!
That night we headed over to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see Wicked! This was the third time seeing the show for both of us so we got some of the cheapest tickets available and were just content to see one of our favourite shows again.
Tuesday was also a fairly relaxed day with us both heading off to see friends for lunch. I was lucky to meet Liz from Advantage in Vintage in person for the first time! I have bought so many lovely things from her so I was so excited to meet up and we hit it off immediately. Later Craig and I went over to Chelsea to shoot some Review pieces for the blog with these colourful houses in the background.
Next morning we were up (reasonably) early to make our way out of London again, this time to Oxford! We caught the train from Paddington station and were there in about an hour. We had a quick wander through town before our stomachs started rumbling, so we found a 17th century pub called Chequers for lunch which served excellent macaroni cheese. We wanted to check out Christ Church and did manage to see the beautiful gardens, but the college itself was closed for the afternoon.
Plan B was to see New College, which was close by and also highly recommended. We realised once we arrived that the courtyard area was one of the filming locations for Harry Potter, so had to venture there straight away! The college and grounds were all beautiful, and we so enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere there. We also made sure to pass by the Radcliffe Camera and the Bridge of Sighs, being some of the most famous landmarks of the area. Later in the afternoon we did a tour of the Old Bodleian library, part of the second-largest library in the UK. This was another HP filming location (as well as the Divinity School downstairs), and we learnt lots including that all books are for reference only and so even kings and queens have to come into the library to read them!
After our whirlwind day in Oxford the day before, we took things pretty easy on Thursday. After a quick stop on Oxford Street (all will be revealed below!) we spent the evening watching Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre – a friend of ours had been dying to see it and Craig hadn’t seen it yet either, so that was all the excuse I needed to see it a third time!
Do you remember early in part 1 when I had said we’d taken a trip to Oxford Street, and that I’d tell you later what we bought? Well the first trip was to do some trying on, and the second trip on Thursday was to pick up the goods. So when we got home, it was time to get out the precious cargo that we’d got that day – my engagement ring! We had been looking around before we went and couldn’t go past a beautiful Tiffany design, and so decided to pick one up in London. We spent that first day in Oxford St in Selfridges (and then Bond Street) trying on different rings and picking out the right one, and it was then sent off to be resized. Though it was all a very mutual engagement, as we’d been talking about it for a while and Craig wouldn’t dare pick a ring without me (teehee!), he did go down on one knee in our apartment and ask for my hand, and by that stage it would have been rude not to say yes! We are so happy and excited and I honestly couldn’t be luckier to be marrying the love of my life ❤
On Friday we trotted off to the Portobello Road markets, one of the first places I’d gone to on my last trip and a definite highlight! The sun was shining and the markets were bustling, and of course going on a Friday meant it was vintage day! I made a beeline for Sarah from London Vintage who I’d met and bought from last time I was there. She always has the best things, and sure enough I picked up an exquisite purple rose print frock from her which is positively dreamy. I also helped out with new Portobello Green promotion on Instagram, and Craig and I found some of the yummiest eats!
On Saturday we planned to go to Westminster Abbey, but a combination of me getting up late and getting the opening times wrong curtailed that plan! Instead we hopped over to the Tower of London, which Craig had been hankering to see the whole trip. We were right on time to line up for a Yeoman tour guide, and ours was so entertaining and knowledgeable! Craig was so impressed that he got a photo with him. That gave us a great intro to the Tower, telling us about Traitor’s Gate, the living quarters, and the resident ravens, before we went on ourselves to learn about methods of torture and observe the crown jewels – where sadly once again no photos were permitted!
After that we had to get the classic touristy photo of Tower Bridge, before finding some dinner (Southern American cuisine) and dessert (waffles)!
If anything will get me up early in the morning it’s vintage, and with two vintage fairs on offer on Sunday I was raring to go! First we popped into the Clerkenwell vintage fashion fair, where Craig was my eyes in helping me spot the best vintage goodies. We split up for the afternoon; while I went across to the Hammersmith vintage fair, Craig went on the Jack the Ripper tour in Whitechapel. We met up again with some friends in the evening to see The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre, one of my favourites from my last trip. Both Craig and I have done theatre for years so we have been in many similar situations ourselves to the characters onstage! It didn’t disappoint, with everyone’s sides hurting with laughter by the end of the show.
On Monday we finally made it to Westminster Abbey while it was open! No photos were allowed inside, though I can tell you that it was most impressive and that we did see the tombs of many a famous person including the real reason Craig wanted to go, Sir Isaac Newton.
While we were in the centre of town we decided to take what ended up being quite a long walk to see some tourist spots such as Buckingham Palace (the queen was apparently in!) and Picadilly Circus. We couldn’t resist stopping in at Crosstown Doughnuts, which definitely lives up to it’s glowing reputation!
That evening we walked through Regent’s Park to the Open Air Theatre to see Jesus Christ Superstar. It started off as a beautiful evening, however rain set in soon after halftime and sadly the rest of the show had to be called off in case the actors slipped on the stage. Even though we didn’t see the whole production, I loved every bit of what we did see – the performances and staging were incredible!
We had booked to go to the Globe on Tuesday, so went over earlier in the day to explore around the London Bridge area. We got lunch (and Pimms!) at the Borough Markets, and I pointed out Bridget Jones’s house to Craig. I then sent him off to see the Globe exhibition (though they turned him away and he ended up at the Clink), while I hiked over to the Fashion and Textile museum because…
…the Anna Sui exhibition was on! This was an explosion of colour and texture, with so many designs on display. I spent ages there as I needed so much time to take everything in! Each area was scented with a different Anna Sui fragrance, and the layout was similar to the styling of her stores. It was amazing to learn about her story and influences, and to see so much of her work in person!
We met back up again at the local Pizza Express which Craig had been eager to try (and I wasn’t going to say no to pizza!) before heading into the Globe. We’d booked Much Ado About Nothing, one of our favourite Shakespeare plays and one we both knew well. It was set in the Mexican revolution, and the interpretation was so clever featuring bright and colourful costumes, dancing, a huge train set, and lots of gunfire! We especially liked the detail of the horses, which were crafted from wire and fastened around the rider’s waists, while they stood on plastering stilts to elevate themselves – it was so simple yet so effective!
We could hardly believe it – Wednesday was our last full day in London! We started if off by getting in one last photo shoot with some more colourful houses, making the most of them as we don’t have nearly as many in Auckland!
Next up was the Science Museum, another Craig request which I was only too happy to oblige on as I always need to increase my science knowledge. I especially enjoyed the motion master-type voyage through space, while Craig got to touch another moon rock!
We met up with our friends again for one last dinner before we left, where we shared our engagement news and had a most wonderful evening! And as we were dining in Kings Cross we couldn’t leave without getting a picture at Platform 9 and 3/4!
Our next adventure will now of course be our honeymoon! We’ve already booked to go to Japan and we’re super excited. What travel plans do you have coming up? Let me know in the comments!
Miss Hero Holliday