We’re bringing you a whole episode dedicated to what to do in London. We visited for the first time on a three-day trip and packaged as much as we could into this trip to London as possible. From afternoon tea and ancient encounters, to English pubs and royal sightings – London was amazing! We’re giving you all our best tips for travel to London including how long to stay, what to splurge on, and how to see the iconic sights and navigate the tube when visiting London.
If you’re planning some upcoming London travel, this episode is a great listen. Brittanie and Jamal took this trip, so Kim was asking all the questions a first time visitor to London would want to know and we’ve gotten a ton of great messages about how helpful this episode was for solo trippers looking for what to do in London.
What to do in London – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re taking you across the pond to the iconic city of London,
1 (1m 6s):
Jamal, and I spent three full days exploring London, and there was just so much to see and do we had such a great time. I love London and I actually can’t wait to go back. Hopefully in the near future,
2 (1m 18s):
I’ve never been to London. I would love to go in the near future. I would love to go and experience an authentic afternoon tea while speaking in English accent. Of course, I have a lot of questions for this episode because I would really love to get there in 2022, maybe 2023, if possible. I’m excited. We’re doing this episode.
3 (1m 37s):
Well, I love how Brittany says she’s ready to go back because I told her London is one of the most favorite places that I’ve been in our travels. I told her London and Japan, like, I’m ready to go back. Even though we don’t want to do repeats until we hit off like our main ones. And so I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I hope it’s when you go Kim. Cause I know you really didn’t want to do an episode on London until you went, but we’re like, we need to do a London episode. It’s one of the few places in Europe that’s actually open right now.
2 (2m 5s):
3 (2m 6s):
Yes. So I loved London a lot. I wish we could have spent more time there. We spent only three days because we did a week long and then hopped over to Amsterdam a little bit too, which was a fun city. But believe it or not, I enjoyed London a lot more than I did Amsterdam and I can’t wait to dive into this episode.
2 (2m 23s):
All right, well, let’s dive in. We have tips, tips,
3 (2m 26s):
Tips always first.
1 (2m 28s):
So my favorite tip of course is to download offline maps because if you don’t have service for free or data for free in London, this is the best way to get around.
2 (2m 37s):
Do you have a tip for the best month of the year to visit?
1 (2m 40s):
Yeah, so it gets pretty dreary out in London. And so I would say anytime between March and September is the best time to go. The weather is more mild even still in like the summer months, still average like seven to nine days of rain. So October through January is more of their rainy season
3 (2m 58s):
And we had gone in September. So we were at that tail end and at one point it really rained on us real, real hard when we went to Stonehenge. But I think that was really about it, but London’s just known for that jury weather. So expect a lot of overcast. And if you go in the summer months, it’s usually pretty mild temperature, but Europe’s been getting a lot of heat waves as of late. So you just may be there on one of those crazy times. But for the most part, weather’s pretty good during that March to September.
1 (3m 25s):
And when you’re in London, you’re going to have to take the Metro around a lot. It’s the best way to get around London. And so there is a really good tube map app it’s called to map London underground. And so it does work really well for iPhones and it works offline as well. And you don’t have to put in the tube station, you’re getting towards, you can put in like major landmarks, like tower of London and London bridge. And it’ll tell you, which is the closest tube stations to go to and where you have to transfer and where you should get off.
3 (3m 54s):
I really liked that feature about this app because sometimes I’ve noticed a lot of Metro apps for cities around the world will tell you, okay, you want to get here to here, put in what station, but I don’t know what stations closest to the landmark that I want to go to. And this app allows you to, like Brittany said to just pull it in that landmark. So if I know I’m in one place and the tube is right by my hotel and I want to go to big Ben this morning, I just put in big Ben boom. It tells me which one. So really clutch makes it really, really simple. And the fact that it works offline is fantastic. Another really good tip. Speaking about the London underground and Metro is get yourself an oyster card and an oyster card is only available to tourists.
3 (4m 35s):
You can get it online. If you just Google London oyster card, you’ll get to the appropriate vendors. You can buy it ahead of time, online or certain stations and places within London will allow you to buy it. And what this card is is it’s a preloaded card and let’s just say, you want to put 50 pounds on the card for you. And basically it allows you to get discounted rates on the Metro. But once you hit a certain amount that you’ve spent in a day, all your other trips that day become free for you. So it gives you discounted rates and then it caps you. It’s not like other ones that we’ve encountered and experienced. Like when we’re talking about Japan, that just gives you unlimited. You still have to pay for these, but it has that cap that makes it really, really clutch.
3 (5m 17s):
And it’ll save you a lot of money.
1 (5m 18s):
Last if that we have for London is definitely stay outside of the city. If you’re looking for more of a budget or to save some money because staying outside of the city is so much cheaper, but what you should do is stay outside of the city, near a tube line. So that way you have really easy access that made it really, really easy for us to get around, but also to save money in the process.
2 (5m 39s):
Would you say that London is an expensive city?
3 (5m 42s):
Definitely. You already lose a lot of money in the conversion to dollars to pounds. It used to be like two pounds was $1. So you really lost half of your money when exchanging. It’s not that way anymore, but in general with your conversion you money and yes, it is expensive, but that’s why we suggest the oyster card stain out of central London, unless you’re trying to be fancy schmancy, envy, downtown, and
2 (6m 7s):
3 (6m 8s):
But the Metro line and staying outside city center as a really clutch tip to save money,
2 (6m 13s):
You guys said you were there for three days. Yes. That includes the flying from San Diego.
3 (6m 18s):
No three full days that we spent in London. And then on that fourth day, we left early in the morning to go to Amsterdam. So we got about three full days for us.
2 (6m 28s):
Okay. Let’s, let’s hear it. What are some of the highlights of the things that you did?
1 (6m 32s):
So Jamal booked us a tour on a double Decker bus. And what was really cool about that is we did that on our first day and it really gave us the lay of the city and the land because we got to hear about the history. And we got to do a short cruise on one of the rivers, the themes river out there. And so it was really nice to go to the city, get a good layout. And then later explore the city ourselves. We saw big Ben tower bridge, London bridge, and some just major highlights of the city.
3 (7m 2s):
I really enjoyed this and we’ve given this as a squad tip. And a lot of other episodes is when you go to a new city and if you’re going to be spending a lot of time, do like the hop on hop off or like a city tour. When in London you got to ride a double Decker bus. I mean, London made the double Decker famous, right? So we actually purchased this tour off of Viator and it gave us the lay of the land. As Brittany said, showed us all the highlights of city center and kind of surrounding area. And it did also include a afternoon trip to Stonehenge. And that’s what really sold it to me also was like, all right, we’re going to get a lay of the land, right? A double Decker, and then go to Stonehenge. Cause it’s far from downtown London and we weren’t about to rent a car and as good as their Metro and bus system is out there, didn’t want to do that.
3 (7m 49s):
So we really enjoyed that aspect and look for tours on Viator, Airbnb experience, wherever to do the double Decker.
2 (7m 57s):
So you would recommend the double Decker bus, first thing you do when visiting London.
1 (8m 2s):
Absolutely. I love
2 (8m 3s):
1 (8m 3s):
So we went in September, which is still part of their summer season. And so during the summer season, Buckingham palace is actually open for visitors to go inside. It’s the only time of the year that you’re able to do that because the queen in the summer months leaves the palace and she goes on her own vacations, her own summer vacation.
3 (8m 23s):
He’s vacationing in Scotland at this time. So that’s when they open it up for us tourists to go in. And what a unique experience. I mean, when are you going to get to tour a Royal palace? I thought to myself, we’re here during an unusual time in the sense that it’s open for tours. We have to go in and see it. And it is definitely grand. I mean, you see it from the outside and you think to yourself like, eh, you know, like it doesn’t look great, but then you’d go in and then you just see all the gold etchings, the artwork and the ambiance of it all. And it’s quite breathtaking.
1 (8m 54s):
Yeah. We were able to go through 19 of the rooms and they have a whole bunch of gifts that she’s received over the years from other famous people on display. And then you also get the chance to explore the palace gardens as well. And then on top of that, we saw some of the rooms that are used for entertaining and ceremonies. So it was a very unique experience to be able to walk through and learn about the history of the palace.
3 (9m 19s):
We got to see her throne, the throne room. They still have them.
2 (9m 24s):
Wow. Question Buckingham palace is that where they have those guards that you can do anything to and they don’t move at all. And did you, do, did you see them? Did they?
3 (9m 33s):
We did see them and no, we did not do anything,
2 (9m 37s):
But did they look like stone, cold statues, not moving.
3 (9m 42s):
They’re just standing out there in their little box that they have that looks like a tiny telephone booth and yeah, they are definitely not moving. We also did see the changing of the guard. I’m glad you actually mentioned the guards and the security forces. If you will then Ken, because we got to see the changing of the guard ceremony, where they come down, the Royal prominent street that they have, I forgot the name, but it is on the palace grounds or close to it where they do the changing of the guard. And it’s a very unique ceremony to see. And we were able to check that out.
1 (10m 10s):
Yeah. It was definitely a lot to see we, when we went, we didn’t even realize that we could go inside the palace. And so while we were there for changing the guard, we came across a sign saying that it’s open for tours. And we’re like, what better time to go than now? And just experience that.
3 (10m 25s):
And you know, it’s really funny as during the bus tour that we did, clearly they go around Buckingham palace, literally the front and the back. And I thought to myself like, okay, I mean, I’ve seen photos of this. It doesn’t look that grand doesn’t look that great. And then you get inside. And again, like I said, it’s very, very impressive. But after that, we also had to see the main sites of London. Even though we saw it on the double deck tour, we got to go ourselves, check it out. We went to big Ben, if you don’t know what big Ben is, I feel like you’ve been living under a rock your entire life. It is the clock. Yes. Well technically, no, Kim, I’m actually glad you said that big Ben is the name of the bell in the clock. It is just the normal clock tower of the Westminster palace, which is actually where the house of parliament sits.
3 (11m 10s):
So it used to be a palace. Now it’s the house of parliament and big Ben is actually the bell, but most people think it is that famous clock tower.
2 (11m 18s):
Okay. I’m glad that you clarified because you are our historians.
3 (11m 23s):
Yes. It’s a good little tidbit. If you ever played trivia and they ask you that it is not the clock, it is the bell itself, but what was kind of disappointing about big bend for us when we were, there was not the fact that, oh, it’s underwhelming it’s that they were doing restoration work to it. So we did see it. They had the scaffolding up of maybe about halfway and the actual clock was visible for us to see, but I wish we could have seen more, but it was such a unique experience. Yes, we saw it on the bus. But my favorite thing was when we were actually exploring it ourselves, we took the underground and then it literally has you come up from underground from the subway and then we’re right in front of it. And that was just such a unique experience.
3 (12m 5s):
Like you’re standing below it and you’re like, holy crap, this is actually huge. I’ve seen this so many times in my life, like on TV and movies and here I am, it was so cool to just come from the subway and then boom, it’s like right there.
1 (12m 16s):
Yeah. And big Ben is actually one of the most Instagrammed landmarks on the planet. And Jamal said, it’s so tall. It actually stands 316 feet tall. And it was built in 1859. And when it was built, it was the largest and most accurate clock in the world.
2 (12m 34s):
It seems like on this day, you guys were just going around, seeing all the sites, tell me that you saw the tower of London.
1 (12m 41s):
Could we not see the tower of London? I was so excited to see the tower of London because there is a lot of history within its walls and Jamal and I have some good days where we just Netflix and chill and we binge watch some shows. And there is a show called two doors in which a lot of the scenes in there are at the tower of London. And so I was so excited to actually be there and experience it firsthand myself.
3 (13m 6s):
Well, the tower of London itself has really quite interesting. It was used as a prison, a fortress, and even I believe at one point a palace. So today it’s actually used to house the crown jewels of the United Kingdom. So you could go in there, see those, it’s almost a museum now to explore everything Royal about it, but the unique history about it, of the fact that it was a prison. And going back to what Brittany was saying about the TV show that we watched, the two doors, the tutor was a Royal family back in the day. The most famous of them was probably king Henry the eight. I think he had something about seven or eight wives himself beheaded, a couple of them.
3 (13m 47s):
He beheaded one of his Queens at the tower of London. And we got to go to the spot specifically where she was beheaded. And it’s so interesting to see because one, we just watched it on the TV show. And two, I love history. I knew of her beheading. And now here I am at the actual spot of a place that I’ve learned about in history class.
2 (14m 4s):
I always feel like this is like vibe. You know, when you’re on those places, that major points in history have taken place. Like when we’re at Machu Picchu or, you know, like the Sistine chapel and Italy, you just, you’re just like, wow, like world altering history happened, right. Where I’m standing hundreds of years before. It’s crazy.
1 (14m 23s):
It is crazy. And Kim, you were asking about the guards. This place is heavily guarded because it houses the crown jewels. And so we did get to be closer to the guards here. Cause there were directly right outside of the building.
3 (14m 35s):
But what’s interesting about these guards here, that they’re not the ones that around that, the palace that stand all stiff and have the big furry hats that almost look Russian. These guards are called beef eaters. Oh yeah.
2 (14m 47s):
What do they look
3 (14m 47s):
Like? It’s weird. They still are dressed like they are from the classic time. They have these weird hats and not the big tall ones. I can’t really describe it. Like puffy looking pants and things of that. Yeah. It was really interesting. Just Google Beefeater’s London. They, they look different than the normal ones.
2 (15m 5s):
Oh, okay. Like puffy arms, weird jackets. You can imagine like George Washington hair.
3 (15m 13s):
Yeah. They’re still in the Royal red colors, but they’re a little bit more puffy than the traditional uniforms that you’re used to seeing. So the Beefeaters are the ones that guard the tower of London.
1 (15m 22s):
Yeah. So we did get to walk the grounds and we saw tower green, which is where some of the famous Royal executions took place. And so king Henry had three Queens that were beheaded and one of them was beheaded here, right at that spot.
2 (15m 35s):
What did they do to get beheaded?
3 (15m 38s):
It’s quite interesting. He became unhappy with a lot of his wives because they were unable to produce errors for him, but a lot of different things and he just got unsatisfied and then decided he was going to kill them. I don’t know if it was anything in particular other than just dissatisfaction. Wow.
2 (15m 54s):
Wow. We’ve come a long way for women’s rights.
3 (15m 58s):
And look at that. Now the UK has a queen instead of a king. Who’s going out killing people and killing Queens. So there you
2 (16m 4s):
1 (16m 5s):
Tower of London also has Ravens. We actually didn’t learn this until after we visited, but there’s a group of captive Ravens that are residents of the tower and they’re treated like royalty.
2 (16m 15s):
Oh my gosh. How does the Raven get treated like royalty?
1 (16m 19s):
I don’t know, but there were some superstition about their presence. And so their presence is believed to protect the crown and the tower. And so they feel like if the Ravens are lost or fly away, the crown will fall and Britain will fall with it. So they’re treated like royalty. So they stay
3 (16m 37s):
Another classic London site that you have to see as Westminster Abbey. This is the famous church that they have lots of famous people and even royalty are interned here. This is where they have the Royal weddings and it is a functioning normal church. So we were able to go on a normal day and see the chortle service, which is the choir service that they do have where they’re singing the hymns and everything like that. And so it was really fun and so interesting to go in there. Royal weddings happen there. You think about who’s been in there in terms of famous people around the world. And by that I’m talking, you know, presidents, prime ministers, royalty, not even just the UK royalty, but other royalty around the world when they’re there.
3 (17m 20s):
And it’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve been in a place where I know this many people of importance have been in
1 (17m 26s):
And it has beautiful Gothic style architecture. The building is absolutely stunning. And like Jamal said, it has just such historical significance, all coronations since the year 1066 of English and British monarchs have occurred in the Westminster Abbey. And it’s hosted 16 Royal weddings. No.
2 (17m 46s):
Oh my God. 1066. That is some history I can’t even wrap my mind around.
1 (17m 53s):
Yeah. And so Jamal said, you know, we did go for chortle, which is like their choir. And that was actually recommended to me from a former patient’s daughter of mine. And she was like, yeah, if you’re going, you should definitely go. It’s a very unique experience. And so we did, and we really, really liked it.
3 (18m 9s):
1066 was the year Kim, just imagine in 44 years that building’s going to be a thousand years old. That’s how old it is. And it’s still standing right there. So beyond just even if you don’t care about the people who are interned in there, I think Isaac Newton is interned in there. If I’m not mistaken or some famous astronomer scientists plus a lot of other people. So if you don’t even care about that, just the history about the fact that this is a thousand years old is incredible.
2 (18m 35s):
What exactly does interned mean?
3 (18m 37s):
It means that’s where their crypt and body lays at rest.
1 (18m 40s):
Yeah. There’s over 3000 people, a prominence of British history that are interned there.
2 (18m 44s):
Oh my gosh. So it’s a cemetery and a church. Yeah.
1 (18m 51s):
But other than that, it is free to attend services there. So you can go to morning prayer, holy communion and Charle.
2 (18m 59s):
Is there a denomination that, that church is
3 (19m 2s):
The church of England?
2 (19m 3s):
That’s a religion.
3 (19m 4s):
That’s a specific denomination. Well, I don’t know if it’s a specific denomination if it’s Protestant or what’s Definitely not Catholic. And you know, king Henry, the eighth we talked about who beheaded his wife. He was actually the king who broke the UK and England away from the Catholic church. And the reason why he did that and created the church of England is because the Catholic church wouldn’t allow his first divorce from his first wife because she couldn’t provide them with an air.
2 (19m 32s):
3 (19m 33s):
No, he did not be had that one. He did not be head his first wife or queen. He just divorced her. And when the Catholic church wouldn’t do it, he started the church of England. So Westminster Abbey is part of the church of England, which specific denomination I couldn’t tell you that. Can I do not know.
1 (19m 48s):
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2 (19m 59s):
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1 (20m 36s):
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3 (20m 50s):
And purchase your comprehensive Travel Squad Podcast, itinerary on our website at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, best of all, they’re on sale right now for $30. So travel on over and get yours today. But one thing that I wanted to do other than the famous sites of London that I wanted to go to and see was go to Harrods. And if you don’t know what Harrods is, just imagine this as the most luxurious shopping place in the entire world. Now, maybe it’s been taken over by a few places in Dubai and other countries like that, but Harrods is still world renowned. You can equate it to a department store, but everything is under its own brand.
3 (21m 30s):
They have restaurants in their luxury items that was said that if you want anything in the world, you can go to Harrods and ask for it. And they have a specific department to get it. You want a tiger as a pet Kim, you go to Harrods and you can go ahead and get it. You want a Ferrari that they’ve only made three cars of in the entire world. You go to Harrods, you tell somebody, and then you’re going to go ahead and get it. So it’s a regular store. It’s fun to go in and see, but they have a specific department that caters to the ridiculously affluent and wealthy where you can get those crazy, extreme things up.
2 (22m 0s):
Did you buy anything there?
3 (22m 1s):
I’m not rich enough to buy
2 (22m 3s):
1 (22m 5s):
A Christmas ornament. Okay.
3 (22m 7s):
I thought you meant the Ferrari Kim
2 (22m 9s):
You were talking about. Yeah,
3 (22m 11s):
No, that stuff I did not get, but yes, our London Christmas ornament came from Harris as a matter of fact.
2 (22m 16s):
Very cool. I didn’t know about that place. That sounds like a sight to see. And you want to buy something to like take that home and say, I shopped at Harrods.
1 (22m 24s):
You literally can be in there for hours and get lost. It is the most elaborate shopping Emporium. They have like a chocolate tier shop. They sell macaroons, they sell furniture. They sell electronics. They sell clothing. There’s a department for everything there.
3 (22m 40s):
So when you’re there, do check it out. It’s one of those things. That’s unique to the London culture beyond just the actual sites to see that we’ve gone over. But speaking of the sites to see how can you go to London and not ride the London eye, Kim Kim, this is up your alley. I know you’re all about city Ferris wheels. And you want to give a shit about the Miami situation. We ended up riding it, but it was a normal fairs where the London eye is not a normal Ferris wheel. It is grant. It is impressive. It’ll give you 360 degree views of London. You have to ride it, even though it is a tourist trap, I highly recommend it.
2 (23m 16s):
Does it feel Royal inside the carriages? No. Does London have skyscrapers? Does it look like a big city?
3 (23m 25s):
Absolutely. London does have skyscrapers. It’s funny. Not a lot of people know this and everyone thinks London is the capital of England. And to an extent it really is. But the truth is Westminster is the capital. And that’s the city center within London that has Westminster Abbey. It has the Westminster palace, which is the house of parliament where big Ben is. And it’s a very, very small quarter and that’s technically the Capitol. And then everything outside of that surrounding is London and is what’s deemed as the Capitol, but that’s the other city centers like finance, skyscrapers, everything like that is all in the surrounding area.
1 (24m 1s):
The London eye is enclosed because again, there’s a lot of dreary days. And on the day that we went, it did sprinkle a little bit. So it’s nice to be in an enclosed capsule and it’s on the south bank of the river themes and London. And so it’s across the way. And so it gives you these beautiful 360 degree views of the city. And at the time that we went, we went in back in, I want to say 2017,
3 (24m 24s):
1 (24m 25s):
So no, COVID no COVID restrictions. Each capsule can hold 25 people. And so it takes about 30 minutes for the fairest reel to rotate, but it goes pretty slowly. So you have plenty of time to get the views, get pictures, really enjoy it. I would just recommend not going when it’s super foggy, because then you wouldn’t be able to see across the river.
3 (24m 43s):
Another highlight to do in London is going to be to go to tower bridge. Now, most people, when they think of tower bridge and not necessarily the Dame, just the image of it, that’s what they think. London bridges and London bridge is not tower bridge. As a matter of fact, London bridge that gets all the fame in terms of just people speaking and talking about it is very, very unimpressive. I can’t even believe that it’s trash like that, but tower bridge is what you want to go ahead and see. And it is so, so awesome. It’s one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of London. And like I said, often confused with London bridge.
2 (25m 19s):
I can’t remember which one it is, London or tower, but lake have a SU Arizona has one of them.
3 (25m 25s):
It is London bridge. It is London bridge, not
2 (25m 29s):
Tower didn’t look that impressive
3 (25m 31s):
Exactly. As the London bridge, London bridge is not impressive. Skip London bridge. As a matter of fact, that’s a squad tip, skip London bridge. I’m going to say it again,
1 (25m 39s):
But go to tower bridge terror bridge is very recognizable. It’s a beautiful Drawbridge spanning 800 feet in length across the river themes. And it has these two bridge towers on other sides that look like castles. They’re very beautiful.
3 (25m 54s):
Yeah. And we ended up walking across it. And if you’re very fortunate enough to actually see them open the Drawbridge, it’s a very big rarity. It’s almost like when you go to Chicago and they lift the bridges that go over the river in Chicago. They only do it at certain times a year. And so we were fortunate enough to actually see them lift the Drawbridge. And our guide told us that it was a unique thing to see because they rarely, rarely do it now, but other than just going to the banks and looking at it, Brittany and I ended up walking across it. And I think that’s really fun, unique thing to do. It’s like if you were in San Francisco, you can need to walk across the golden gate bridge or at least a portion of it. Right.
1 (26m 32s):
We wanted to walk across tower bridge, go on the other side, walk down to London bridge and cross back over so that we, you know, did both but London bridge. Again, isn’t very impressive. But for any Harry fans out there in the order of the Phoenix, hairy flies over the themes river and over tower bridge on his broomstick. So London’s a great place for any Harry Potter fans. You can also cross the bridge by car and you can purchase tickets to the towers and the engine rooms and get a guided tour.
3 (27m 1s):
One thing that we didn’t say, and I can’t believe we forgot about this, and I’m only thinking of it now, as we’re talking about tower bridge is our double Decker bus tour. Not only included the afternoon trip to Stonehenge, it included a boat ride on the river team. So we even got to sail under tower bridge also.
2 (27m 19s):
So it opened up for
3 (27m 20s):
You. It did not open up cause we were low enough that it doesn’t need to draw. So it did not open for us, but that’s another unique way to see it. And it’s something that I would recommend doing. If you can, is take a sight, seeing tour on a boat on the river teams, it also gives you another very unique view of London.
1 (27m 35s):
Another spot to definitely check out while you’re in London is a shop called Fortnum and Mason. And it’s a famous store known for gift baskets, coffee and tea. And while I was looking on their website, they actually call their gift baskets, hampers.
2 (27m 48s):
Oh, that’s so cute.
3 (27m 49s):
That’s so British. Isn’t it hampers.
1 (27m 51s):
But their tea is amazing. So good. We picked up some tea. We went through it so quickly because it was so delicious. And Jamal actually has a cousin that lives in London. And so some of his cousins go there to visit and then they’ve come to the U S as well, whenever they bring us back tea from Fortnum and Mason, it is always so amazing. Particularly I love their elderberry flavor. And then they also have like a Royal blend, which is like a black royalty. Very, very good.
3 (28m 20s):
Well, speaking of ti, Brittany mentioned where you can go pick it up. I mean, you’ll see Fortnum and Mason everywhere from the airports to shops all around downtown
1 (28m 29s):
Kings cross station,
3 (28m 29s):
Kings cross station, but Kim, right up your alley, can’t wait for you to go and have afternoon tea. There are so many places that you can get classic afternoon tea and London
2 (28m 41s):
Surprise. You didn’t do it every day. You were there.
3 (28m 43s):
We did not do it every day. We were there because we splurged and went balls to the walls on this one, Kim, we went to a spot called Claridges. It is a hotel. They have a specific tea room where they have the afternoon tea. This place is so famous that Winston Churchill himself and princess Diana often frequented Claridges. This is where you want to go. If you are the high-end affluent people in London. So we paid a pretty penny for it, but it was well worth it. And every time we show you photos, Kim, you take a shit on it because they did not use the tiered tray.
2 (29m 16s):
That is what afternoon tea is all about a three tiered tray with desserts scones and small sandwiches. And the presentation is part of it. How could Claridges leave that out? Yeah.
3 (29m 26s):
I agree with you the presentation as part of it, but you are sold on the three tiered. They have beautiful plates and China, where that they bring it out on. They are not tiered, but they are very elegant, very classy. It is not cheap. Oh my gosh, Kim hater over here. But honestly, if you Google Claridges or best places to get afternoon tea in London, I promise you, it’s going to show up top five for sure. I’m sure there’s other places now that have come since then. But this one is one of those classic places.
1 (29m 55s):
What I loved about Claridges is one, it’s an experience. And two, you can change your tea every course. So, you know, they bring out your scones and they recommend tea for the scones. And you can choose from the entire list, but you have a tea to enjoy with your scones and then it’s time for the sandwiches. And they ask, if you would like to change your TA again, to pair with the sandwiches,
2 (30m 18s):
How long did you spend there?
1 (30m 20s):
Few hours, probably two to three hours. And then of course you get your pastries and you can change your tea again for pastries. But one thing that they did is you could order as many sandwiches or anything that you want. So if you want a double of something, they totally allowed that. And so we actually got stuffed up on the sandwiches and we only ate a few of our pastries and they box them up for us to enjoy for us when we got home.
3 (30m 44s):
Yeah. So I really love Claridges. If you’re into afternoon tea, Google places to go in London. I promise you it’ll show up on the top five, but there may be other places specifically if you’re like minded like Kim and what the tiered trays that might intrigue you a little bit more, but I do highly recommend Claridges just for its place in history. And what famous UK residents attended high tea there.
1 (31m 6s):
Yes, it’s very, very gorgeous. And they actually have their finest bone, China and silverware made for Claridges specifically
3 (31m 15s):
Bone China. What type of bones is it made out of Brittany? I
1 (31m 18s):
Have no idea.
3 (31m 19s):
Just bones. Apparently the
2 (31m 20s):
Bones of those Queens that were beheaded.
1 (31m 24s):
Another must do in London is to go to a pub. I don’t have one, particularly in mine. Just go to any of them. They’re so much fun. Grab a drink, relax, eat fish and chips. Mushy P is drink some beer
3 (31m 39s):
Bangers and mash all of the above. You have to go ahead and try a pub experience when you’re there. Yeah, you’re right. It really doesn’t matter where you go at all. Just experience a pub in the UK and London.
2 (31m 50s):
How was a pub in London different than a pub in San Diego?
3 (31m 53s):
Well, it’s not as rowdy. People are there to have a good time, but it doesn’t have that type of thing. I don’t know. Like, I feel like a pub is a place that’s really more, just a hangout place amongst friends and yes, you’re drinking, but you’re not there to do drink. Even though drinking is a big part of it. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it has this really unique vibe. And I will say a lot of bars here in the U S strictly are just drinks, pubs. There are full service when it comes to food also. I mean, you’re not at like table tables, like it’s a restaurant, but you can pretty much order food 24 7 when you’re there too.
1 (32m 26s):
So I know we have some Harry Potter lovers squad listeners. I’m
2 (32m 30s):
Looking at one.
1 (32m 31s):
Yes. So I’m going to give you guys some Harry Potter references. We did see millennium bridge, and this is the steel suspension bridge for pedestrians to cross the river themes in London. And we walked across it because this is the bridge that the death eaters destroy in Harry Potter and the half-blood prince.
2 (32m 51s):
Oh, but it was still standing when you saw it.
3 (32m 53s):
It was still standing. I was a little scared that they were going to come and destroy it as I was going across. But we managed to survive.
1 (32m 60s):
Also King’s cross station is another famous Harry Potter landmark. That’s where platform nine and three quarters was filmed, but they actually use platforms four and five for filming.
3 (33m 9s):
Yes, there is no nine and three quarters. If you didn’t know,
1 (33m 13s):
However, there is a spot within King’s cross that they’ve set up for a photo shoot where it does say platform nine and three quarters. And you can take a picture of you pushing a trolley through to the magical world. So that’s pretty awesome to get that photo up and we didn’t do this, but we did see that you can go to the Warner brothers studio in London and you can do a guided Harry Potter tour or a visit that for some Harry Potter fun.
3 (33m 39s):
Yeah. And one thing before we talk about our day trip to Stonehenge a little bit more, cause I know we referenced it. Kim, you asked about skyscrapers in London. I forgot the name of the building that we went to because it has been a while since we went by, you would be so proud of us. We went to a fucking rooftop bar in London in a skyscraper 50 stories plus up. And it was really cool. That top level was almost, even though it’s enclosed was almost like an atrium. So you went in there and had plants and trees and then just clear glass windows. And it gave you views of London. I don’t know. I don’t really remember. We actually searched rooftop bars, London, and we’re trying really, really hard to find it so we could reference what specific name, but it isn’t a skyscraper.
1 (34m 26s):
I put it in the notes. It’s called a sky pod bar.
3 (34m 29s):
Did you put, I missed it in the notes here. I missed it in the notes.
2 (34m 32s):
Leave it to Brittany, to sleuth the internet and find it.
3 (34m 35s):
Well, we, I remember we were looking for it, but yes, apparently it is here and my eyes have deceived me.
2 (34m 43s):
Well, I am proud of you. I’m very proud to hear that. And when I go, I will definitely hit that up.
3 (34m 47s):
Then another thing that you should definitely hit up going back to Stonehenge and that day trip that we did. So do keep in mind. If you want to go to Stonehenge, it’s approximately two hours away from London. Our tour included it. We rode on a motor coach bus do keep in mind, use the restroom before you go. There’s not really a lot of places to stop. As we were getting closer, Brittany really had to use the restroom and pee really, really bad. And you know, once you get up there, there’s a long line for parking for the bus. And we actually had to tell our bus driver, please just let us off right now so that we could run to the restroom as we were waiting because Brittany really had to go. So do use the restroom when you are at the station waiting for the bus. Yeah.
2 (35m 26s):
Have you guys heard of those period panties that absorb your period? Yes. I wonder if they would work. Like if you peed,
1 (35m 32s):
I dunno. I’m period panties, but I’ve never tried to pee in them. Kim. I might try that. Yeah. I’ll get back to
2 (35m 38s):
You. Okay, great.
3 (35m 39s):
I love how we went from London and stone edge to peanut period. It’s great. But you know what? It may be a good tip for when you’re traveling. If you’re a girl, you have them just, you know, it’ll help you go.
2 (35m 49s):
I’m excited to hear about Stonehenge though. Cause you know me with ancient ruins, they really get me going.
3 (35m 54s):
This one would have got you going, Kim. I’m not going to lie to you. Although, you know, it’s one of those things that you see when they show it on documentaries, TV,
2 (36m 2s):
Movies, how did it happen?
3 (36m 4s):
I don’t know. They still don’t really
2 (36m 6s):
Know what it is because not everyone knows. Yeah.
3 (36m 8s):
So Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument. It’s actually in the solace Berry plane in Wiltshire. If I’m saying it correctly, I feel like saying British names is always really hard for me. It’s almost like Hawaiian names. I don’t know why I just can’t really do it. But basically it is a bunch of stacks stones in a circle and
2 (36m 26s):
They just don’t they’re like gigantic
3 (36m 28s):
Like boulders boulders and they’re stacked in a circle and they really do think that it was some sort of calendar or the so that’s what they say. It is possibly who really knows on that one.
2 (36m 41s):
It’s like, how did these giant Boulder like rectangle boulders get stacked? Like they are
1 (36m 48s):
2 (36m 48s):
Without any equipment modern equipment that we have now that to move them.
3 (36m 53s):
Oh yeah. And so they’re about 13 feet, high, seven feet wide and each stone weighs about 25 tons. So that’s 50,000 pounds. So imagine how somebody wants to
2 (37m 3s):
3 (37m 4s):
In a perfect circle, stacked in some sort of like monument, if you will aliens. Yes, yes, yes, yes. If we want to go down,
2 (37m 12s):
Isn’t there something that says that the stones where they came from was actually somewhere far from where they actually are. Now.
3 (37m 18s):
I do believe that is the case. I don’t remember off the top of my head. I know that’s very true about the stones used to make the pyramids in Egypt. And I think it’s the same actually for Stonehenge. Also
2 (37m 28s):
It pyramids are made from aliens too.
3 (37m 30s):
Yeah. And so the stones that they used are not native to that area and the closest spot was about 70 miles away if I’m remembering correctly. So I don’t want to say this as if it’s fact, but I do believe that this is the case. And so it’s far away from where they’re built. So imagine how long and why somebody just decided to move all these stones this far to do this,
2 (37m 51s):
But somebody couldn’t do it. Some thing could
1 (37m 55s):
3 (37m 56s):
We’ll have a new podcast out for you guys soon talking about conspiracy theories. Believe me. I could go down that rabbit hole all
2 (38m 2s):
3 (38m 4s):
But at this point we’re on Stonehenge and supposedly it’s a calendar, as they say,
1 (38m 8s):
Yes, the monument is oriented towards the sunrise of the summer solstice and archeologists. Believe it was constructed between 3000 to 2000, B C.
2 (38m 19s):
That’s insane. That’s insane that we can even date things back that far.
1 (38m 23s):
But they also do think that it’s a place of burial, so,
2 (38m 26s):
Oh, let’s dig it up. See what’s under there. Yeah.
3 (38m 29s):
And Kim, we do have an ornament from Stonehenge that we picked up. Also not as unique as the one from Harrods, but Stonehenge. I don’t really remember actually at this point, all I remember is that it was just expensive in general. Cause London, like we talked about earlier is an expensive city.
1 (38m 46s):
So who goes on vacation and doesn’t love to eat. I love to eat.
2 (38m 50s):
Oh yes. You got to taste the flavors of where you’re at.
1 (38m 53s):
Yes. So we did do a lot of eating in London. And so Jamal’s favorite is probably the fish and chip.
3 (38m 60s):
I know Kim went you’d love it too. I mean, when you’re in London, you’re not going to try some fish and
2 (39m 4s):
3 (39m 5s):
It’s a white fish. It’s not as fishy. Oh,
2 (39m 8s):
Oh it’s a white fish. I want a black fish.
3 (39m 12s):
White fish is a little bit more mild. That’s the reason why I say it. But it is a UK and London, staple, fish and chips. You can find it pretty much anywhere within the city. So when you’re there, you do have to try that along with an English breakfast. If you don’t know what an English breakfast is, you could even get these at the pubs in the morning,
2 (39m 30s):
Get these on the cruises usually.
3 (39m 32s):
Yeah. Or any restaurant for that matter. But it’s basically fried eggs, sausage, bacon baked tomato. So they cut a tomato in half bake. It mushrooms. Your favorite camel baked beans.
2 (39m 43s):
I always thought that was weird. The big beans part it’s like baked beans in the morning.
3 (39m 48s):
It’s like, you’re camping. You know? Well, I will say this, the British are not known for their cuisine historically. Now they
2 (39m 56s):
Have afternoon tea and that’s all they need.
3 (39m 57s):
Yes. Yes. Apparently. So you know what? The more I’m going through the food staples here in the UK, Kim and in London, I don’t know if you’re going to really like
2 (40m 5s):
It. I actually love Shepherd’s pie. I
3 (40m 7s):
Love Shepherd’s pie too. It’s gonna be made out of lamb though for you.
1 (40m 11s):
See, you’re not going to want to go to London cab,
2 (40m 13s):
The fuck London. I’ll just eat afternoon tea every day.
3 (40m 17s):
There you go. But on a non tray place, I don’t think they all do them onto your face. See, it’s not up your
2 (40m 22s):
1 (40m 23s):
Fingers and mash Kim some sausage and mashed potatoes. Okay. Mushy peas. You know what? I was a little skeptical at first I was like mushy peas, but they actually are really, really good
3 (40m 35s):
Bomb. So give it a shot. You know, here in the U S with fish and chips, we have obviously the chips, which are the French fries and it usually comes with coleslaw. We’ll over there in the UK. It does not come with coleslaw. It comes with fries and mushy peas. And let me tell you something I’m fucking in love. I thought to myself, Mike, God, they took peas and just mushed them. But somehow it’s absolutely
2 (40m 55s):
The seasonings. Like did they do anything just besides mush?
3 (40m 58s):
Yeah. It’s definitely seasoned. There’s some salt pepper and a couple other things in there. I’m sure seasoning wise, but yeah, just the basics is what you need. But I really love the mushy.
1 (41m 7s):
Like our canned peas here. These are actually like really good peas.
2 (41m 11s):
I’ve come around to peas. They’re pretty good at in fried rice and stuff. So I’d give it a,
3 (41m 16s):
The trick with pieces. You can’t cook them for very long. They have to be cooked to the point where they’re cooked. Well, I mean, they’re just barely cooked and then they mushed them, but they still need to be like a bright green. If you cook them too long, they’ll turn like an opaque. Ugly looking green. Yeah. You definitely don’t want that.
2 (41m 31s):
I envision like a brownish green nudge.
1 (41m 33s):
This is like a bright green mush. Okay. But there was a restaurant called duck and waffle that we went to actually with Jamal’s cousin named Dean. And it’s a restaurant on the 40th floor and it’s open 24 hours. So it has really good views and pretty good food.
3 (41m 48s):
Yeah. We really did enjoy duck and waffles and it’s famous in London. So if you want to go to a specific spot to eat with a good view, I would recommend duck and waffle. And then we mentioned the Shepherd’s pie, but most people maybe don’t know what it is. It’s basically a pie. So almost think of it almost like a pot pie. Right. But it’s really with meat. Usually it’s ground lamb. Maybe Kim you’ll find ground beef. Yes. With veggie base of mashed potatoes and other veggies like peas, carrots and things like that in there. And it’s all baked together. And I told Brittany, I said, I can’t leave London without having a Shepherd’s pie. I did loved it. It was great.
2 (42m 24s):
The one time, I think I’ve had it that I remember we actually were at afternoon tea and Escondido and they had many shepherds pies and it was like me carrots, peas on the bottom then mashed potato topping. So good.
1 (42m 39s):
It’s all you have to have it. And Jamal did mention earlier the sky pod bar, but he said, we couldn’t remember the name.
3 (42m 45s):
Remember having a difficult time finding it. Apparently you found it. And I don’t remember it so kudos to you, Brittany, to scour for,
1 (42m 50s):
But that’s the rooftop bar situated amongst the gardens offering some of the best city views and you can drink dine and you can enjoy live music. There
2 (43m 0s):
Are there a lot of rooftop bars in London
3 (43m 3s):
When we were Googling this to try to find it. And apparently I didn’t find it. Brittany found it as we’ve discussed. I mean, literally there showed over 50 of them that
2 (43m 11s):
I looked up just one list. So there’s
3 (43m 13s):
A lot. Yes.
1 (43m 14s):
And Kim was going to go to London for the rooftop bars and the afternoon tea. She’s going to say, fuck this to all the other
2 (43m 20s):
Food. And that’s the, I might see like Buckingham palace and all those things, but I’ll be busy with afternoon tea. Yeah.
3 (43m 26s):
Yeah. And Stonehenge, you got to get the ruins to get you going. Oh yeah, of course.
2 (43m 30s):
Well, it is my favorite time of the week questions of the week. First question we have coming in hot Emma B. She says, how many days do you need in London for a first-timer?
1 (43m 49s):
I would say three to four days is the perfect amount of time. Full days though. Not like travel in days and whatnot. You need three to four full days to fully experience funding. Okay.
2 (44m 0s):
Okay. I’m just going to piggyback off this, but another question on all the things that we listed, you mentioned tower bridge, you can skip. Is there anything else you could skip,
3 (44m 8s):
Not tower bridge to skip London
2 (44m 10s):
3 (44m 11s):
You know, I don’t know about that. I mean, we went out of our way for a couple of things to do millennium bridge and then go to Kings cross
2 (44m 19s):
3 (44m 20s):
You could omit those, but it’s really not going to take a lot of time because there are two blind is so awesome that it doesn’t take a long time to really get to it. So I don’t want to say there’s certain things that you can omit. It’s really your flavor. You’re not going to go to London and not really see these famous sites. Right. Everything else in between maybe if somebody doesn’t care about history, then you don’t really need to go to Stonehenge. Am I glad I went? Yes. When I was there was I underwhelmed? Yes. Could it have anything to do with the fact that it was pouring rain on us that day? Yes. So I mean, it really, really depends on that, but I would agree with Brittany three to four days, you’ll definitely be able to see and do everything you could for sure. Spend longer time there if you want. One thing that I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get to do was go to London’s natural history museum.
3 (45m 5s):
I heard it’s like one of the best top three in the world. My cousin has been there, came highly recommended. We just didn’t really have enough time. And I want to go back to specifically do that and see these things again, because I enjoyed London so much.
2 (45m 17s):
Second question we have, we might’ve already answered and they’re asking where’s the best place for afternoon tea in London? I know we said Claridges, but is there anywhere else you would recommend?
1 (45m 27s):
Well, when we were doing research, of course, we came across some other places. They have afternoon team at the drawing room at Brown’s hotel at the drawing room at Duke’s London. So a lot of them are like the drawing rooms for specific hotels, but there’s a place called Charlie and the chocolate factory afternoon teeth. Ooh. Which also has really good reviews and afternoon tea at the monotonic on the gardens, which sounds pretty fancy.
2 (45m 52s):
Yeah. I like that one. Do your research, make sure they have the tiered trays before you book
3 (45m 57s):
Or be classic and eat on the bone, China at Claridges where royalty has feasted before, you know, to each their own, I guess. Right.
2 (46m 5s):
Yeah. Sure, sure. And then our third and final question here is, is this a good trip for a solo traveler?
1 (46m 13s):
That’s actually a really good question. And yes, this would be a great place for a solo traveler. London is so easy to get around. The tube lines are so easy to navigate by herself. Everyone speaks English, so language isn’t going to be an issue. And I feel like it’s a very walkable city as well, and we didn’t feel unsafe at all. So I feel like it’s a really good place as a solo traveler to visit. Maybe
2 (46m 36s):
This will be my first solo trip.
3 (46m 38s):
I think it would be a really good spot. And like I said, the pubs are for drinking, but not really for drinking for social. So if somebody is a solo person, you’ll get an experience of having gone to a pub in the UK, in London. And you can meet people there too. So it could almost be like your version of a hostel you’re going there. You’re chatting and you’re having a good time. So I do think London would actually be a really good spot for a solo cam. If it’s your solo trip, I hope it’s an awesome one, but I would really love to go with you and take you to Claridges so that you can stop raining on our parade on that one. And you can really enjoy the afternoon tea.
2 (47m 11s):
I will have to think about that.
3 (47m 12s):
We can make a special request, tell them we don’t want this. China, do you have cured China? And we’ll see what that is. Yeah.
2 (47m 17s):
Ah, there we go. Special requests for the queen. Alright. Squaddies thank you so much for tuning into this week’s episode. Keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast, tag us in your, and send us in your questions of the
3 (47m 31s):
Week. If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,
1 (47m 45s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.