London Calling

London Calling | The Fresh ExchangeImage via: Golden Years

For nearly three years, Mike and I have tried to make it over to England. My family has deep roots in the area and still have family members in the London area. We decided that for our Five Year Anniversary and our Babymoon (kill two birds with one stone) we would head over for ten days for a visit. So six months ago we cashed in our air miles we have collected recently and decided it was time to hop the pond. Having a place to stay with our amazing family during the time on top of free flights made taking a few days for our last big international trip was an easy decision. We leave on Monday afternoon to make our way there for a relaxing few days in a new city to take the time to preserve the last bit of this stage of our life.

Though I have been nervous to rock the boat because our pregnancy has been quite easy thus far, we figure this is the perfect time to enjoy a little getaway to a new place. Though I feel as if we just got settled again, we decided there is about to be a lot of settled at home time coming up. This will be our last big trip other than a trip to Texas for a baby shower before our little guy arrives in February.

We hope to do a lot of traveling with our little guy once he has entered the world. Travel has been such a major part of our life, and we want to continue that with our kids as well. We know it will be different. Even this trip will be different than our trips in the past, but every trip brings new excitement, inspiration, and memories no matter the pace you take it.

I am so glad we traveled a lot when we were younger and just married. The four weeks we spent in Paris, two weeks in Italy, 20 days in Spain and Portugal, the week in South Africa, and the times we spent separately traveling as well. All of it was wonderful and perfect at those times in our lives. Already travel is changing and shifting, but we feel good about the change it is taking. We had the wild, see it all, and stay out late into the night days that were awesome. Now, I am looking forward to long sits at cafes and leisurely lunches or strolling stores with less of an agenda and the feeling of FOMO. Though I wouldn’t hate to have a real Taylor Swift moment such as this one.

Our time in London is mostly going to be spent with family, but we will be in and out of the city quite a bit. The weekend we are there we will be taking a few nights outside of London.

We are so open to any recommendations for places to see while we are in London. The main thing on my list is the Tate Modern, but any other museums, cafes, shops, restaurants, touristy things or anything would be wonderful to know! We are so excited to check it out.

This time, we won’t be doing day-by-day posting as we have done in the past. We have posts planned after the trip that will give a guide to what we did with a full photo recap of the trip. We will be posting a lot on our Instagram so you can follow our day-to-day there. I will also be sharing more about traveling while pregnant and what I wore. We will do a full breakdown of we both packed for ten days as well. Let us know if there is anything else you would like to hear about as well.

Excited to hear your recommendations!!

Leave a comment

  1. You are going to love London so much! I had the best memories as it’s still one of my favorite places i’ve traveled. Can’t wait to follow up on instagram with you!

  2. hello,
    thought that i could give you some insider recommendations…

    My Favourite Museum is the V&A and it’s worth visiting even if just to wander through the beautiful building. The cafe is worth stopping at for the decor… However all of London’s museum’s are a great visit. we’re very spoilt for choice!

    In St james’ park there is the Inn in the park which is run by peyton and byrne. it can be busy but as you’re visitn out of season you may find it ok. it’s a good stop off if you are doing the touristy thing by westminster/buckingham palace/trafalgar square.

    one of my favourite plces on earth is kew gardens. we only just moved from living opposite so we would spedn most weekends wandering in there. it’s worth a visit at any time of year and the marianne north gallery is just stunning… and whilst you’re at that end of the district line, petersham nurseries (just the other side of Richmond) is a must for tea & cake or a delicious lunch in their restaurant. it’s worth the trek! (we had our engagement photos taken here!).

    london has some great places to watch the world go by. I love sitting on the south bank outside the royal festival hall with a coffee or glass of wine.. the southbank usually has a lot going on during the summer months- i don’t know what’s on currently but it’s good to visit anyway…. and then it’s easy to stroll across one of the bridges to see Somerset House (home of fashion week), the savoy and covent garden.

    if you want to get out of london, head west to oxfordshire/gloucestershire and spend a few days in the cotswolds. the soho house group has just opened upanother outpost- soho farmhouse- and i’m dying to try it! there’s plenty to do in the grounds plus it’s not far from some great pubs and places to visit (the wild rabbit, daylesford organic…). plus some of the best spas in the world happen to be in the area. there’s c-side at cowley manor, and spas t both Barnsley house and calcot manor all in the beautiful english countryside!

    happy to send you further ideas… hope you have a fab time! x x x

  3. you’re heading to london at the perfect time of year! The Saatchi gallery is a must see, anyone of Ottolenghi’s cafes, whether the take-away locations or the the dine-in option in islingTon, is sure to offer incredible dining. I also recommend spending some time on the east end, Broadway Market in Hackney is only open on saturday’s but the neighborhood really comes to life. Plus, it is perfectly situated between London Fields and Regents Canal which are great for a long, leisurely stroll. You’re going to have an incredible time!

  4. Hi there, i hope you have a great trip to london! I just emailed you a long list of recommendations – check your mailbox 🙂 enjoy!

  5. I loved walking through the tate, though some areas are for members only so you won’t get to explore every floor. I know it’s super touristy to do, but if you do happen to find yourself short on time I’d recommend checking out one of the hop on/off bus tours of the city. It’s a great way to see a lot in one day and not feel rushed at the same time. I believe they come with a river cruise ticket, too.

    I enjoyed exploring the covent gardens area. walking through harrods was pretty neat even though I couldn’t afford anything but the food.

    I haven’t been to london in 6 years, so I’m sure lots has changed. My husband and I are getting back over there next fall and visiting a friend that lives in Cambridge, too. I’m looking forward to posts after you get back!

  6. I moved from the deep south to London this year and I’m loving being in a constant discovery phase in my new home city! Shoreditch is always a favorite — the hipster capital of the world with tons of amazing food, coffee, and vintage shopping. make sure to get afternoon tea at some point (sketch and the orangery at kensington palace are my favorites). thE Breakfast Club has THE most amazing brunch, so ya gotta make it there. Stroll the Southbank at sunset if you’re able and pop into the Natural History Museum. It’s free, fun, and BEAUTIFUL. Hyde Park is so pleasant and perfect for people-watching.

    Enjoy every moment. London is so happy to have you 🙂

  7. Be sure to go to Columbia Road Flower market on sunday (it’s hectic, but still so wonderful). get coffee at Monmouth in SOHO (or at their shop at borough market, another must visit). there is a tiny park hidden in the middle of the city called the phoenix garden, feels a million miles away, but is a perfect place to sit with a coffee and feel transported elsewhere. Another favourite london thing is to go sit at the top of primrose hill and look out over the city with a picnic. Hampstead heath is wonderful to explore if you have time, and visiting the old highgate cemetery (only open on guided tours), and/or having roast at the beautiful pub in highgate is also amazing. I also love the london fields/broadway market area, sundays on brick lane, the 10 bells pub in spitalfields (even if not having a drink!). Getting homesick for my london years now!

  8. How exciting! I adore London! As for food recommendations, Truscott arms was absolutely divine! My husband and I ate both in the pub and the RESTAURANT and both were some of the most delicious food we encountered in our trip to europe last year. The scotch eggs and their fish and chips were delectable! Great pub feel and decor. it was ACTUALLY authentic as in it wasn’t owned by a chain. it’s surpRising how hard it is to find a pub in London that isn’t owned by a chain.

  9. I’ve been in and out of London since i was little, The National Gallery is a personal favourite of mine. Philippa’s recommendation of Kew Gardens is a fantastic one, especially if you are going during the autumn. When I was about 14 years old i went on the london eye and at that point it was one of the most incredible, that would depend on the weather though I KNOW we don’t have the best of it most of the time.
    There is a galleried pub in southwark called the george. it has an amazing atmosphere, which one would expect from an establishment visited by Dickens.
    my favourite place to eat though is definitely this tiny prezzo, it’s an upmarket italian RESTAURANT chain we have here, tucked away in a side street in South kensington.
    Last time I was there i’d just applied for Visa to spend the summer in the us.

  10. Sketch is a must for afternoon tea. Also east for cute boutiques. Shoreditch, Stoke newington, dalstoN and hackney for cool independent stores and cafes . You will love ‘nook’ in stoke newington!

  11. Definitely keep travelling once you have kids. It’s not as hard as people make out especially if you start them young. We’ve been to Rwanda in East Africa twice with toddlers, Portugal, France, Amsterdam and have plans for Finland, Belgium and Spain coming up. Kids get so much out of visiting new places. For your London trip, try the British Museum, South bank, Regent’s Park… oh and Brick Lane is worth trying to get to for the best fresh bagels!

  12. There are a lot of awesome places in London, I would highly recommend getting the Cereal Mag London guide or any of the Quiet London books! Exmouth market is a must, make sure to check out Brill coffee there. Also make sure you see the changing of the gaurd, the Churchill war rooms were really cool too! Have an amazing time 🙂

  13. I’ve just travelled at 25-26 weeks pregnant (I think I’m a couple ahead of you) and it’s been totally fine. I really recommend comfy shoes, maternity leggings (best things ever) and a bag that won’t hurt your back. Drink plenty of water to avoid headaches, and pee before you leave every cafe & restaurant! Try to get an extra pillow at night to wrap your legs and bump around for some more support. Eat well, little and often & carry snacks to keep your mood up – I got so grumpy this past week from going a few days without fruit or veggies.Londoners on the whole are very friendly, but they can be quite pushy when they’re trying to get somewhere – especially on public transport in rush hour. Mostly people are kind, will offer you their seat and let you on trains/buses first. I hope you have such a fun week, London in Autumn is really wonderful.

  14. So eXciting that you’re visiting London.
    I lived there for 3 years during university and visit often. I’d recommend a stroll through Spitalfield’s Market oN a SundAy, HampsteAd Heath and Parliament Hill for views over the city and a weird sense of being in the country in the middle of the city, whoever above recommended Magma was totally right – i think you’d love it. I Also seconD the RECOMMENDATION of Highgate for a chillEd Sunday stroll. Islington is a pretty adorable neighbourhood too. If you’re into Mexican food, WaHaCa is ace but accessibly priced, tHey have several of them across Town.
    Hope you, Mike and bump Enjoy!

  15. I lived in London for almost 10 years and I still go often because of friends and family. Must dos:
    – The Wolseley for Breakfast. You should be able to book online for during the week pretty easily. Precise English service and a gorgeous atmosphere. And not as pricey as you would think.
    – Markets: Columbia Flower Market on a Sunday (can tie it in with a wonder down Brick Lane). It will be busy but worth it. Broadway Market on a Saturday. Maltby Street Market is another Saturday option.
    – A walk along the Southbank, over Waterloo Bridge and then rest with a coffee at Somerset House. If it is sunny but a little chilly the terrace is the perfect sun spot.
    – Favourite Museums: National Gallery and V&A but definitely the Tate too.
    – You can head to Westminster Abbey for free by going to Evening Song. You will also get to experience it how it should be rather than a tourist site.
    – Hampstead: A cute village-y feel and you have to get the crepes from le Creperie du Hampstead. It is outside a pub and there is normally a queue. But worth it.
    – I love wondering around Soho. There are lots of great eating options. Tuscanic on Old Compton Street is Delicious! And gelato from Gelupo on Archer Street.

    Okay that should keep you busy!

  16. I’ve only just stumbled across your blog thanks to some research ahead of a trip to porto this weekend so I thought I’d share a few recommendations in exchange.

    Markets – Agree with others Columbia Road Flower Market is beautiful. For food Maltby Street Market & Druid Street Market are good alternatives to a busy borough Market. You’ll find smaller markets at Brockley, broadway, netil and primrose hill (new).

    Coffee – I’d recommend London’s Best coffee app if you like a good drink because there are so many.

    brunch – granger & Co (you can book in the clerkenwell branch), the Modern Pantry, Bourne & Hollingsworth.

    lunch/ Dinner – Dishoom, Cookhouse Joe, Polpo, Brixton Village.

    Parks – Kew Gardens is Lovely. But Kensington Gardens is almost as nice (check out the Italian Gardens), I like Holland Park too as it is a bit less manic.

    I could go on and on! Hope you have a great time!

    Laura

  17. HELLO, THIS MIGHT BE TOO LATE A RESPONSE BUT WE JUST GOT BACK FROM PORTO, LISBON & SEVILLE AND FOUND YOUR BLOG THROUGH RESEARCH FOR THOSE PLACES. LOVED LOVED LOVED PORTUGAL TOO. ANYWAYS, WE WERE IN LONDON FOR 12 DAYS THREE YEARS AGO SO SOME OF MY RECOMMENDATIONS MIGHT NOT BE CURRENT, BUT HERE’S SOME OF THE PLACES WE ENJOYED: SHOREDITCH: DISHOOM (THE SHOREDITCH LOCATION), OZONE COFFEE ROASTERS, OLD SPITAFIELDS MARKET, BRICK LANE MARKET, RED CHURCH STREET (A CAFE ON THIS STREET CALLED MAISON TROIS GARCONS); HYDE PARK & THE SERPENTINE GALLERY WITHIN THE PARK; MUSEUMS: NATIONAL GALLERY, REALLY ENJOYED THE BEAUTIFUL OUTDOOR SEATING AREA OF THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM ON A NICE WARM DAY, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY; BRITISH LIBRARY; WALK THE STRETCH OF THE SOUTH BANK – THE DAY WE WENT THERE WS THE SOUTHBANK BOOKMARKET AND CAFES ALONG THE STRETCH; BOROUGH MARKET; WESTMINSTER ABBEY; FOOD & DRINKS: WE LOVED GETTING A SNACK AND DRINK AT THE UPSTAIRS CAFE OF THE TATE MODERN AND SITTING BY THE WINDOW WITH BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF THE MILLENIUM BRIDGE AND CATHEDRAL, MONMOUTH COFFEE (IN COVENT GARDEN); OTTOLENGHI (SWISS CHARD AND CHEESE PASTRY OH MY GOODNESS), FOOD FOR THOUGHT IF YOU NEED A HEALTHY PICK ME UP & THERE’S ALSO A FRESH JUICE SPOT IN A CUTE LITTLE COURTYARD AREA NEARBY THOUGH NAME ESCAPES ME NOW, PUBS: OUR FAVORITE PUB WAS THE YE OLDE MITRE PUB TUCKED AWAY IN A TINY OLD LITTLE ALLEYWAY NEAR ST. ETHELDREDA’S CHURCH (BUT IT’S A BIT OUT OF THE WAY), THE GEORGE INN, BLACK FRIARS PUB, LAMB AND FLAG IN COVENT GARDEN, AND NEWMAN ARMS (IN FITZROVIA); FERNANDEZ AND WELLS (HAS DIFF LOCATIONS).