London and Beyond with Sister and Friends

I was a bit pleasantly surprised at myself this past week as my sister and her friend Colleen visited from Wisconsin because I really know my way around London now!

When I first had visitors back in March and April, I felt a bit lost. I led my mom and Markie onto the wrong bus one day, and I wasn’t sure where to go to for good dinners or fun nightlife. What a difference the months have made! So with my sisters nine days in the city, I really wanted her to have the best time possible.

We started her visit with one of my favorite English past times, afternoon tea. We headed to the Hilton Islington for an afternoon of mini sandwiches, scones, and nice pastries – I was so full after!

The Hilton’s Afternoon tea

Sunday after a late wake up, we headed over to a popular pub in my neighborhood, The Jolly Butchers, for Sunday Roast. Sunday Roast is a delicious English tradition which consists of vegetables, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and a meat – normally beef.

A delicious Sunday roast

After that, we headed to Big Ben and Parliament. Since it was Sunday, Westminster Abbey was actually free to enter provided you went to a church service. So, I participated in my first Evensong which is basically a  church service that is mostly singing with a sermon included.

The next day, my sister had booked a day trip for us all, so we spent the day at Windsor Castle, followed by Stonehenge and Oxford. While we were at Windsor Castle, the Queen was actually home, but sadly we did not see her (next time!). After was Stonehenge which seemed bigger to me than the first time I visited, and our last stop was Oxford. I’ve been to Oxford twice now as well, but always on bus tours, so my time there has been really rushed. The city is quite beautiful though.

The next evening, in the Kensington area, my friend Miriam had reserved a Groupon wine and cheese tasting for us. The wine tasting was great, and only cost us £12 each! (For the deal we used, click here).

Saturday, my last full day with my sister was jam packed as well. We did an escape room in an old tube station, followed by a bit of shopping in Camden Market, and then walked up to Primrose Hill for a great view of the city.

The evening was concluded with a visit to Madison rooftop bar, and dinner at another great Italian restaurant in Kensington.

Last but not least my week ended with a game I have been waiting for since I bought tickets in February – my hometown team, the Washington Redskins, played against the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium in London. Mark and I went and had a great time despite the end result of a tie. Apparently the stadium was sold out that day – an 87,000 attendance!

All in all the week was amazing – it was great to have friends and family in town, spend proper time with my London friends, and have Mark here.

What’s Next?

Next weekend Mark and I are heading to Luxembourg, a small country nestled between Germany, France, and Belgium. We are staying in Luxembourg City to explore the city briefly, and also heading to the Moselle Valley, a wine region in the country.

Till next time all!