I jumped at the opportunity to spend New Years in London, despite the notoriously rainy weather and that I’d already visited twice previously and seen the big tourist sites. This time was to be very different; not only was I going to spend it with a local (my boyfriend) instead of a fellow traveler, but we were going to head out on a road trip deeper into the countryside.
What was meant to be a 9 day trip to England turned into a prolonged 16ish day adventure extending to Ireland & Northern Ireland… it doesn’t take a lot to convince me to extend a trip 🙂 Due to the abundance of sites and stops, I’ve divided this post into two parts. So without further ado, I give you…
For this particular trip I went with Avis because it offered the best deal.
*SIDENOTE* I have to admit that until recently, I hadn’t really cracked the code to rental cars. I was using compare sites like priceline.com and hotwire.com combined with googling discount coupons and using my AAA subscription; however, I still felt I was paying too much. I just recently learned that car rental companies can actually charge whatever they want for rentals. The agent is in complete control of what you pay – meaning if they’re in a good mood, they can upgrade you or charge you next to nothing. I’ve been looking into this (stumbled upon this article) and plan on using negotiation tactics for my next trip to see if walking in and naming my price may pay off.
– LONDON –
- Little Georgia Cafe
- Pie Minister
- Brick Lane – for a good curry
- Food markets!
- Borough Market
- Camden Market
- Brixton Market
For A Night Out…
- Brew dog – Get your craft beer fix here
- Bedroom bar
- Bar kick – For the foosball
- Zigfrid’s – a late night club with awesome electric/trap music
Afternoon Tea at the Ritz
It’s been a dream of mine to have high tea at the Ritz in London… and it finally came true! For roughly 60£ per person you’re served : 2 assorted sandwich platters, a plate of scones (the best I’ve ever had), a dessert tray, a pot of tea for each person (you can pick your own-the Dargeeling was fantastic), and a glass of champagne. A server also comes around with the daily breads and cakes for your choosing. You get a 2 hour seating limitation, so be sure to soak it all in and enjoy!
Fulham Football Match
Some Transit Tips
- If you’re renting a car and going to be driving it at all in London, be mindful of congestion zones/times. You can easily look up the zone map online to avoid being charged a fee
- One thing I love is that the tube uses apple pay! This lets you forgo the responsibility of an Oyster card – just register a credit card to the Applepay app on your phone and hold it over the sensor when you enter/exit the turnstiles. Simple!
- Bike hire is available all over the city for a 2£ rental fee plus 2£ per half hour
– OXFORD –
- Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel
- Book a Harry Potter tour or make your own by looking up where most of the Hogwarts scenes were filmed, like in Christ Church College, Duke Humfrey’s Library, and the Bodleian Library.
Spend the day wandering through the colleges, small alleyways, and pubs… not just the high street!
- The Eagle and Child – “Lord of the Rings Pub”
- Turf Tavern
- The King’s Arms
– THE COTSWOLDS –
- Stow-on-the-Wold : Grapevine Hotel
*Drive through the small towns and stop at a local pub for lunch
– STONEHENGE –
I was a little surprised by the price of admission to this site that sits in a field on the side of a major country road. They do offer student discounts, however if it’s not raining and you have some time, I recommend parking in the lot and walking the 2ish miles for free. The price you’re paying includes a brochure with some history but you’re dishing out about $20 just for the bus ride down the road and back… oh and I guess some of that goes towards restorations…
Food & Drink :
- Bankers – For the fish & chips
- The Indian Summer
- Fountains Head
- The Bath Arms
- The beach!
- The Brighton Pier & the skeleton of Brighton’s West Pier
- The Arches – A string of bars and clubs great for a night out in the summer
- The Lanes – Small, old, weaving, “nook & cranny”, pedestrian-only shopping streets
- Brighton Pavilion