Welcome to Edelweiss Design House and our first Journal entry! Each month we will have a “Travel” Journal entry talking about our favorite destinations around the world and in the USA.
Having lived there and visited my sister every year while she was attending Regent’s University, London is my absolute favorite city. There is just something about the British culture, the rich history, the Royal family, that I am in love with. So we thought we would take a trip across the pond and start off our Travel series with a few of our favorite things to do, see, eat, shop, and enjoy in London!
Dine in or take away. Fun Fact: Did you know that dining in is less expensive than getting your meal to go or take away? The Brits want you to stay, enjoy your meal, and enjoy the company you are with. Whatever your preference, here are my favorite spots:
Duck and Waffle
Take the private entrance via the express glass elevators to the 40th floor of the 24/7 restaurant. Make reservations, especially at sunset because the panoramic views of Big Ben and Westminster are perfect. Order the duck and waffle. It’s the closest thing to southern chicken and waffles as you can get! Take your time and enjoy the views because they are spectacular! On your way out, stop a few floors down to Sushi Samba and check out their insanely cool tree that glows orange.
The best frozen and healthy yogurt you can get. Better than Pinkberry in my opinion. Plus their catchy taglines like, “the first Snog is the best” are what set this place above the rest! I like my Snog with fruit but they have brownie bites, cookies, and chocolate chips to satisfy your sweet tooth.
One of the most intriguing and memorable venues in London. Be sure to visit every themed room especially the ladies room. You will be talking about that experience for the rest of your trip.
London is known for its fashion. The shopping is so amazing from Topshop to Chanel, you are sure to find something fabulous at any budget.
The iconic and world renowned department store. A million square feet of food halls and shopping, Harrods has literally anything you could ever need, at a higher price and if you can weave your way through the droves of tourists. Either way it is a must see. The first escalator was built here in 1898 and brandy and smelling salts were offered to customers who were overwhelmed by the “moving staircase” experience. Make sure to find the ring Dodi Fayed, the Harrods heir, was never able to give Princess Diana. He purchased the several thousand pounds engagement ring the day before her tragic death.
Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill
Not sure you will have a Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts sighting but you will see a road full of treasures, antiques, and knick knacks. It’s like Diagon Alley for grownups. And where I met Robert Pattinson, by George Orwell’s house. It was magical.
Tucked away, Liberty London has the Harrod’s high end fashion without the tourist traffic. Check out their gorgeous one of a kind fabrics and their new line of bags made exclusively for Liberty.
How do you take your tea? With milk? Honey? Afternoon tea in London is similar to a long brunch here in the south.
Located next to Green Park and Buckingham Palace, The Ritz is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Sommelier. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea or if you are in the mood to celebrate, the champagne afternoon tea is exquisite! Scenes from Notting Hill were filmed in the lavish rooms.
The Orangery at Kensington Palace
After you try to catch a glimpse of Kate and Will at their home in Kensington Palace, take a stroll through the beautiful formal gardens to the Orangery for afternoon tea. The Orangery is in a gorgeous garden pavilion built for Queen Anne in 1704.
London has some of the most beautiful architecture and history. Between the iconic landmarks and vast amounts of museums, trying to see it all in a few days in next to impossible. But if you are crunched for time here are my favorites:
Because it’s Big Ben and as famous as the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. Listen to the chimes and make sure to get a picture from the south of the Thames River with the whole of parliament.
One of the most beautiful cathedrals that has hosted some of the happiest and some of the saddest moments. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married there. A happy moment years after the funeral of the Dukes mother, Princess Diana, took place there.
London bridge is falling down! The famous song everyone sang growing up. But London Bridge is wrong. It is in fact called Tower Bridge and it is breathtaking!
Tower of London
A beautiful fortress and home to the Crown Jewels. Let the Beefeaters take you on a tour and tell you about the ghosts that still wander the halls. Anne Boleyn was executed here among many other important figures in history.
Home to the Queen and one of the most beautiful palace’s inside and out. If summer hours are open, make sure to take a tour. Every room is exquisite!
National Portrait Gallery
Get lost in this museum of art that houses the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Kate Middleton’s portrait even had a stay here. The best part, admission is free!
There isn’t a street corner in London that doesn’t have a pub. The after work suits flood their local pub for a pint of beer with their mates then go home for the evening. Each pub is so quaint and make sure to get some bangers and mash or fish and chips.
Ye Olde Cheshire and Cheese Pub
The most iconic pub in London where literary greats Mark Twain, Charles Dickens (who referred to it in a Tale of Two Cities) Yeats, and Wilde frequented. Remember to duck as you go down the stairs.
Of course, we can’t talk about London without mentioning the royal family! Kelly Michelle and I have a mutual love for Princess Di and Kate Middleton (KM knows her and Kate would be bffs), and we were on the edge of our seats waiting for pictures of Pippa’s recent wedding to hit our instagram feeds! Pippa looked stunning in her lace dress and carried a small bouquet of peony, sweet pea, freesia, astilbe, waxflower, alchemilla mollis, and green bell. Prince George, dressed in his knickers, and Princess Charlotte, carrying baby's breath in the shape of a heart, were definitely the cutest cherubs in attendance.
At the age of 5, I remember sitting in my living room with my mom watching Elton John sing “Candle in the Wind” at the funeral service for Princess Diana. I immediately went out to buy the purple Beanie Baby bear made in remembrance of the Princess of Wales and it quickly became my most prized Beanie Baby in my ever growing Beanie Baby collection (For the record, I had an impressive collection). Princess Diana was the epitome of elegance, as I have never seen a photo of her *not* looking fabulous, but it was her kindness and compassion that made her a true queen in the heart of the people.
My love for the royal family only grew when Kate Middleton came on the scene and married Prince William in 2011. Of course she looked beautiful in her Alexander McQueen gown, but let’s talk about the flowers! Did you know that Kate had more than FOUR TONS of foliage- including eight, 20 foot high trees- to create the lush, English garden look inside Westminster Abbey?! Yes, Kate is a girl after my own heart, as I too would like to request four tons of foliage be brought in for my own wedding one day.