London -- sophisticated, cosmopolitan -- with a classic style and a dry sense of humor. Following the 2012 Summer Olympics, it's polished to a high shine as we noted upon our arrival at Heathrow Airport. We were met by a driver with our name on a placard and were swiftly whisked to our hotel, the Marriott Marble Arch, a perfect location for seeing the sights. Freshening up is required after the red eye flight but later we took the concierge's suggestion and walked to the Spaghetti House for a delicious Italian dinner. A quick trip to see the holiday windows at Harrod's and Harvey Nichols and it was back to the hotel, via taxi, before jet lag set in.
London certainly dresses up for the holidays. All around us we discovered a blaze of colorful lights, ornately decorated trees and fabulous window displays, all gussied up for the season. The festive, slightly glamorous vibe certainly added an extra dash of merrymaking for our holidays.
Window displays at Harrods Department Store
The Changing of the Guard
After purchasing our 2-day 'hop on, hop off' bus passes were boarded the 'Original Tour' for a trip to see the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The weather was brisk but clear with puffy clouds, the perfect day to visit the "Eye", the spectacular new slow viewing wheel. Passengers board pods that rotate slowly with the most incredible views of London I have seen.
The London "Eye" offers breathtaking views of the city over the Thames~highly recommended for a bird's eye view of London.
Scott's first visit to London
Traveling with my family made it extra special for the holidays. My mom, Jeri, who generously planned the trip for us. My sister, Heidi, and her boys, Jordan and Jared, and my usual sidekick, Scott.
Brummus~a stylish spot for a hot toddy
Evensong at Westminster Abbey~gorgeous.
Rain in London~not a big surprise. That's my chic mom, Jeri, with the umbrella.
Hopping on a City Tour-jump on jump off variety.
We chose the 'Original Tour Company'.
The Tower of London and the Crown Jewels.
Touring St. Paul's Cathedral~a must!
Architect Sir Christopher Wren's Masterpiece.
Get the individualized guided tour (on iPod) and explore.
I could have stayed all afternoon.......
but we had High Tea at Le Meridien
and a show to catch.........
A fabulous show........anybody need a tissue?!
London was a whirlwind this trip. We hit some of the highlights but definitely want to return with more time to explore. In previous visits, I have enjoyed strolling through Hampstead Heath and Notting Hill. For our next trip, I hope to add the West End to our agenda.
Have you been to London?
What are your favorite must-see spots?
Hotels I recommend:
What to Do in London:
All Images: Heather Lindstrom