london layover

10 July 2019

There's something special about the first time you leave your home. The first step on foreign soil, the first breath of new air, the first time experiencing a new place. For me that place was London, England. On my way to France, I spent two whole days in the heart of London and it was a dream. Even jetlagged and delusional I loved every second.

There's only so much you can do in a city with just two days, but I was very satisfied with what I did. The first day was a whirlwind. I was so stimulated by everything that was new I didn't even know how to process it all. I remember driving down the street to get to my hotel and couldn't help but feel like I was dreaming. Nothing was real. But it was.

It's so strange to be in a city so similar to home, yet so different. Beautiful, old, historic architecture is mixed in with all the new, modern buildings. It's breathtaking. I also could not get over how people drove. There were seemingly no rules as cars, buses, and bikes wove around each other through the narrow streets.

After arriving at the hotel, some friends and I fought off our jetlag and took a walk through Kensington Gardens. The garden was everything I could have dreamed of, and felt like it had come from the pages of a fairytale. I've never seen a place more green and lush in my life. It was so peaceful there, and I could have laid out in the grass reading and napping for my whole life probably.
After the gardens we decided to do some exploring outside of the city. We took the Tube to Hampstead and found the loveliest quiet neighborhood. It was nice to have a break away from the business of the heart of London.

Hidden amongst this residential area, we found a small white house. It barely looked like anything besides a house. But when we took a closer look, it was the house of John Keats, a well known romantic poet. The house where he lived in Hampstead has now been turned into a museum. So of course we had to visit!
The house was so nice and I learned so much about John Keats and his life. I found a literary kindred spirit in him as we went through the museum. I don't read a lot of poetry, but I desperately need to read some more of his in the future.
The second day had some more structure to it. I went on a tour of the city, stopping at the famous monuments. We, of course, had to stop at Buckingham palace.
The palace is such a beautiful place. It was a massive building with hoards of people eagerly taking pictures in front of the gate and hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen. The Queen wasn't actually at the palace when I was there, but it was still such an incredible experience to visit a place so well known.

The best part of touring London is that you can just feel the history under your feet everywhere you go. There are so many hidden gems that are easy to overlook. Having a tour guide was so helpful and I learned so much about the city.
My favorite part of my whole two days in London was without a doubt The British Museum. I love museums so much, and this museum quickly captured my heart. It was so cool to walk through and see all the artifacts from so many different cultures and time periods all around the world.
I took an art history class a couple years ago for school, and I was so excited to see so many pieces I had learned about all under one roof. The Rosetta Stone and the pieces of the Parthenon were especially incredible to see.

If you ever have a chance to go to London I cannot recommend this museum more. And admission is free, so there's no excuse not to go! It's worth spending several hours exploring all the exhibits.
The final hours of London were filling with more exploring. Walking for hours through the gardens and streets. We took the tube around the city, and found a nice pub to eat fish and chips.

There are several more things I wish I would have been able to see or do while I was in London. I still want to go to Westminster Abbey and find the pub where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met with their writing group. But for two days, I really feel like I got the most out of my London experience. I hope that if you ever get the chance to go to London, you'll have just as amazing of a time as I did. It's definitely a city worth visiting!

This trip will hold a piece of my heart, and these memories will stay with me forever.


  1. This sounds AMAZING! I can't wait to hopefully visit London myself someday. <3

  2. Sounds like you had the best time!! London is definitely on my want-to-visit list.


  3. There's nothing quite like traveling and visiting new places. Sounds like an exciting layover!

    Serena | poetree

    1. You're certainly right, there's nothing like it!

  4. oh how I miss England! I've been there only once but there's so much more to see.

    1. It would take many more trips to experience all that England has to offer!