After arriving at Luton Airport and taking a bus to our hotel our first stop was Kensington Palace and Gardens. We enjoyed a relaxing stroll through both. From there we headed to the London Eye. Some people believe that the London Eye is worth skipping I however enjoyed it. It moves slow enough for you to truly enjoy the views of the city. The London Eye is just across the river from Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. If you have enough time in your day you can easily add one or more of these to your itinerary.
TIP Look into flying into Luton (LDN) rather than Heathrow(LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) to save money. Then take a bus from Luton into the city center.
If you are visiting London during Wimbledon try and go! We woke bright and early to wait in line to hopefully receive a queue card. We waited from 6am - 10am and received our tickets into Wimbledon! The gates officially opened at 10:30am where we were escorted to Court 3. This is the first court you can sit at if you did not receive a wristband for Court 1 or 2 while waiting in the queue. After staying for a couple of matches we began walking the ground of Wimbledon. We spent the day hopping from court to court, watching matches on the big screen from Henman Hill, and of course trying Wimbledon's cocktail aka The Pimm's Cup.
TIP Later in the afternoon you can try asking people as they leave the gates of Wimbledon for their tickets. We did this and ended up receiving Centre Court tickets!
TOWER OF LONDON
ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
Our third day in London we saw the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral before taking a train out to Hampton Court. Hampton Court was beautiful and well preserved. The gardens reminded us of Versailles.
If you enjoy Broadway Musicals try and add one to your trip. We saw The Lion King at Lyceum Theater and it was fabulous!
BUCKINGHAM PALACE - CHANGING OF THE GUARD
HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT
The day we went to Buckingham Palace happened to be the day after Michael Jackson's passed away. During Changing of the Guard the band played Thriller as a tribute to Michael Jackson. It certainly was unexpected and a once in a lifetime experience.
After Changing of the Guard we went to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. This is the perfect stop right after the ceremony. If you did not see Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, or Westminster Abbey earlier in the trip this would be the day to add them on. Other places to see would be Piccadilly Circus or the Shakespeare's Globe Theater.
DAY TOUR TO WINDSOR CASTLE, STONEHENGE, AND OXFORD
I have always wanted to go to Stonehenge, I think because it is so unique. We opted to take a day tour from London to see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford. It was a fun trip and a nice change of pace.
Our first stop was Windsor Castle for the State Apartments and another Changing of the Guard. Then we headed for Stonehenge. Upon arrival, it was smaller than I had imagined but still amazing to see in person. I recommend getting the audio guide it was very informative.
Our final stop was Oxford. Did you know that Oxford has almost 40 colleges? We walked around and saw 9 of them before enjoying scones and tea.
5 Days/5 Nights is a good amount of time in London. If you are going for your first time I would suggest going 6 Days if you are going to do a day trip elsewhere. This would allow you more time to see the city and experience it rather than just checking items off your list. I loved London and cannot wait to go back, experience Wimbledon again, and take our sons!
Next Stop: Amsterdam, Netherlands