Part one of our European vacation was in London.

Day One

Chilkoot was quietly weeping in the car on the way to drop us off at the airport. KrisDi’s parents were in town to watch them while we were out of town. We got to hang out at the United club in Seattle and eat free food and drink free drinks. We had lunch in Chicago during our layover — Reggio’s deep dish personal pizza and an Italian beef. Generally, travel was fine — we were worried about the mother with two small children — but they were awesome. There was a screamer somewhere else, though. Immigration in London was super slow. Took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station (where I also found 50 yuan), found an ATM to get some local cash, and then the underground to Victoria Station, and then walked to our hotel. Getting around London was actually super easy with the tube.

We went to Camden Market for lunch, which had like thirty thousand little food stalls and/or shops of various varieties. We had a wide variety to choose from. We had arepas — thick corn meal “bread” with seasoned meats on them for lunch, Chin Chin liquid nitrogen ice cream, Ethiopian Coffee. Then we walked to BrewDog, where we waited out a brief but intense downpour.

We went back to the tube and went to Piccadilly Circus, where again it rained a lot, and we took shelter (and beer) in the White Horse, a Sam Smith focused pub. We walked from there to Green Park (including a search for a toilet, which wasn’t free), and visited Buckingham Palace. Then we walked to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament. On the way back to the hotel for the evening, we eventually found dinner at the Barley Mow, a pub. Fish & Chips, Steak & Ale Pie, and beer.

Day Two

Our first full day in Europe. We struggled to find breakfast at 7:30. We ended up buying tickets to see the Tower of London and wandering nearby until we found All Bar One, where I had the Full English Breakfast. Afterward, we walked back to the Tower of London, where we eventually determined the “Guided Tour” was actually more like a “Roughly Unidirectional Mob with an Unintelligible Costumed Shouter” and self-guided ourselves around the vicinity. Lots of interesting stuff there. Then we wandered around a small street market just under the Tower Bridge.

We went to a pub called Hung, Drawn, and Quartered for lunch and a beer. The we walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where we decided 20 euros each for entry wasn’t worthwhile.  Then we walked to the Globe Theater (just saw the outside), and to the Borough Market (which is awesome). We had exotic meats (including zebra and kangaroo!), and raclette — basically, toasted cheese on baby potatoes. Delicious (unlike the zebra and kangaroo).

We took a train to the London Eye, but the line and the price were unacceptable.  We walked some more to Trafalgar Square, where we helped each other climb on top of the giant lions. We wandered some more, looking for food and/or beer. We stumbled onto St. James Palace.

We walked some more until we found the King’s Head (Nicholson’s). We ate dinner which was OK, and we had sticky toffee pudding, which was really good.

We walked around in a circle before decided to visit the Goat (Greene King) for beer and more snacks. Then walked and tubed back to the hotel, where we continued to endure shitty internet connection.

Day Three

Our last full day in London. We decided that rather than searching for breakfast, we’d get room service. The Full English Breakfast was again a good choice. Lots of delicious stuff.

Then we headed out to Abbey Road for the Obligatory American London Tourist Picture. From there, we visited the gift shop affiliated with the dude who actually took the picture for us, and then we walked to Kensington Gardens and saw the palace there. We didn’t go through the palace, though.

Then we walked to the Albert Memorial, across the street from Albert Hall. We loitered around for a while before visiting Churchill Arms, a very old pub that has somehow grown a (very good) Thai restaurant in the back. However, when we arrived for lunch, their gas was broken, so there was no cooking. Just as we finished our beers, however, they got the gas back, and we ate delicious Thai.

After lunch, we went to The Muffin Man, hoping for “traditional” (“tourist”) English Tea with crumpets or cakes or scones or something — which they had, and it was delicious. We went back to Kensington Gardens to take a nap in the grass, and then walked through to Hyde Park and the Marble Arch.

We then wandered a while before hitting the Lowlander Cafe for Belgian beers. For dinner we wanted Indian, having heard that London is a great place for great Indian. However, we struck out at three different places — Dishoom, Masala Zone, and Punjab either had ~2 hour waits or reservations only (with no reservations available). So we found a pub — the Crown and Anchor — for a desperation dinner at 8 PM. Then back to the hotel.


  • I love the naming convention of two random nouns — “The Crown and Moose”, “Iron and Music”, “Fire and Mayonnaise”…I could go on and on.
  • It’s surprisingly hard to find an independent pub in London (at least in the areas we were). Almost half we saw were associated with Greene King, most of the other half were associated with Nicholsons, one or two were associated with Fullers, and the White Horse was associated with Sam Smith.
  • I like carbonated beer more than I like cask beer (in general).
  • The Tube is awesome.
  • Food was better than rumored, on the whole.

Posted by snaotheus

1 comment

There are some fascinating historical reasons for many of the pub names, some of which go back to before people were in general literate and had to recognize different kinds of stores by signs with images on them.

I’m disappointed you didn’t go the V&A or the British Museum, but it sounds as if you had the fun you wanted to have… beer … food … beer … food… 😀

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