London called, we answered

by Chip (aka Mark) Graham on October 27, 2014

Call us crazy, its OK, but a long weekend in London was just what we needed.  I haven’t been into London in over ten years, so it was fun to go back.  We left San Francisco on Thursday, connected in DFW, and arrived in LHR at about noon on Friday.  Thanks to being a very frequent flyer on American we got to take advantage of the arrivals lounge, which allowed for a much needed quick shower and change of clothes before heading into town.

Tip #1: Take the Heathrow Express to/from the airport.  It is clean, comfy and runs every 15 minutes for a short 15 minute trip to Paddington Station in central London.  There are some trains that do make some local stops so be sure to get on the non-stop train.

We stayed at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel Exteriorwhich is a very short walk from Paddington Station and very close to Hyde Park.  It is a nice hotel with excellent service and comfortable rooms.  The neighborhood is very Islamic, so lots of Halal options and Houka lounges!

That night we used to Uber to get us to dinner at Bistrotheque, which we had found online and booked via OpenTable.  What a great restaurant, read my post on Bistrotheque for more details. That night we crashed and recovered from our crazy two days of travel.

On Saturday we got up and walked through Hyde Park, grabbed a sandwich at one of the cafés hidden throughout the park.  Tip #2: Don’t go to Hyde Park hungry!  The cafés have very few items other than ice cream…and only a couple of them have sandwiches.  We lucked out and found one that did have sandwiches. There is a restaurant inside the park, but we weren’t that hungry yet.  We then took the tube over to Leicester Square and walked around SOHO and Covent Garden, then tubed from Charing Cross over to the Embankment and walked across the river and along the South Bank.  We stopped at the Understudy, which is part of the National Theatre.  They serve a range of draught craft beers, wines and cocktails.  Tip #3: Give this place a try. It is a great place to have a sit and sip a nice glass of wine watching boats move along the Thames and to watch people, of course!

We walked a bit farther and headed back to the hotel to prep for dinner.  We walked from the hotel to Bricole, a nice Italian restaurant.  Check out my post on Bricole here. Today we walked just under 6 miles not counting the miles between tube stops underground and the hundreds of steps on those multifloor stairways!!

After a nice dinner and some good wine we headed back to the hotel for a sleep before our early flight.  We took the Heathrow Express back to the airport and managed to get through security in just a few minutes.  Heathrow is not the horrible mess it used to be.  They have made some nice changes that seem to have made it a more navigable airport.

It was a a fun trip, and would do it again.



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