London 2018 – The REAL First Day

You know, it’s amazing what 12 hours of sleep does for a person. Not that I slept for 12 hours last night! I slept for a very respectable 11.5 hours though. 😀 As I said in yesterday’s brief post, I somehow managed to stay up a little past 9 PM (though I was back at the hotel at 6 PM – I thought I’d fall asleep right away), so I was really hoping for a solid night’s sleep. And I got it! Although I woke briefly a couple of times in the early morning, I didn’t get out of bed until about 845a. Glorious! It’s funny though because I kept thinking “Oh no, I shouldn’t sleep too late!” probably because I’m not someone who usually sleeps in. But it’s not like I had anywhere to be right away this morning (except downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast, where I’m writing this post). Once this post is done, I’m looking forward to a great, full day in London!

Wait, let’s back up a bit. How was the flight? All told, it was fine! I was excited the day of my flight because I noticed that there was no one sitting in front of, next to, or behind my aisle seat (the flight wasn’t very full overall), but I unfortunately didn’t get to keep quite all of that good luck by the time the flight rolled around. I did end up with someone in front of me (who never leaned his seat back, so that was fine) and behind me (who seemed to be asleep for the entire flight – lucky him!), but the seat next to me was open – hurrah! That’s the one I really wanted to stay empty because it’s nice to have that space between me and the person on the other side of it (the plane was a 2-3-2 configuration) and it gives us both a place to put stuff without crowding our own seats. The flight was smooth and we landed in London about an hour early, so I was a happy camper.

See?? A happy camper on the plane!

Although I did consider an Uber (as Scott and I did in August), I decided to stick with my standard transport of taking the Underground into central London. It seemed to fly by pretty quickly this time (perhaps because I spent most of the train ride trying to figure out why my phone wouldn’t connect to a network, which I eventually got sorted), with just one station change at Gloucester Road to hop onto the Circle & District to St. James’s Park, which is about a two-minute walk to my hotel. I’m staying at the hub by Premier Inn – London Westminster Abbey, where I’m just down the street from Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and lots of other London sights. It really is a perfect location! Since I’ve actually only stayed in a London hotel once, I did a lot of research to find a good option and this one hasn’t disappointed. The reviews are all really positive, both about the staff and the hotel itself, and I found that to be true as soon as I checked in! Ava at the front desk was very bubbly and helpful and made sure I got a room early, since I arrived an hour before check-in time. She even made sure I got a room with a window (since not all the rooms have them in this hotel), which I appreciated. I did run into a minor problem when I got in the room and the AC seemed to not be working (and before you ask, it’s not hot outside by any means, but I can’t stand to be in a still room with no air circulation and I hate being hot, so AC is a must when there’s no window that opens). The staff were helpful again though, saying that they’d actually been having problems with the whole building for the past couple of days (eek!), but that it was nearly fixed. Within about 20 minutes, it was working fine and it was perfect through the night last night – I was cold when I woke up! I sleep best when I’m cold, so that was perfect. 🙂 Here’s what the space looks like:

Based on my experience so far, I’d say 601 is a good room to get! It has its own little vestibule and the much-desired window, so it feels more separate from the rest of the rooms.

Looking into the room from the door. As I mentioned when I booked this hotel, the rooms aren’t big, but they’re surprisingly functional! I’m here for six nights and I found the under-bed storage and the hanging space behind the mirror to be plenty for my stuff.

The bed is perfectly comfortable!

Love this mural above the bed! #lovelondon

A small, but very functional bathroom. As with other Premier Inn hotels I’ve stayed in, the water pressure is great!

Now, what did I go and do to shoot myself in the foot? I forgot my UK plug adapters! I’ve never done that on a trip before, but it wasn’t until I was taking stuff out of my bag to plug in that I realized grabbing my adapters to pack never even crossed my mind. I literally didn’t even think about it! But again, easily solved. A quick trip to a souvenir shop yielded the adapters I needed, so I got them, got back to my hotel, took my requisite post-flight shower, and then went back into the city.

What do I do when I’m running on literally no sleep after a long flight to my favorite city? I walk around to see as many favorites as I can! I’ll let the pictures tell the story because there really wasn’t a pattern to where I went and I didn’t have a specific agenda. But the weather was really nice (mid/high 40s and pretty sunny) and all the walking around kept my energy up so I could stay awake. And stay awake I did, for a few hours at least. Take a look at my photos below!

Westminster Abbey is literally down the street from my hotel!

Another shot of Westminster, this time from the front.

A replica of the Abraham Lincoln: The Man statue in Parliament Square.

I always love this shot! Unfortunately, Big Ben is undergoing some major work, so it’s totally covered in scaffolding.

Outside the Horse Guards. Note the sign next to the horse.

This collection of people is, I’m sure, what drives the need for the sign as I’m sure some people have been bitten or kicked!

Peeking at the London Eye through the buildings.

Hello, Trafalgar Square!

Love the way the sun is hitting St. Martin-in-the-Fields!

Selfie in one of my favorite happy places!

Always love an Underground sign.

Thanks for the inclusive traffic signals, London!

I came back for another shot of Trafalgar Square at dusk.

I’m not actually sure what building this is, but I just happened to be passing by and loved the look of the door.

I couldn’t walk through another favorite place, Leicester Square, because of the setup for Lumiere London. It looked like there were several reporters filming stuff in there!

I caught Westminster lit up on my way back to the hotel!

How cool is this?!

Not pictured above are my drink at Retro Bar (more of those to come in the near future, I’m sure) and my dinner at Tortilla (had to get it out of my system!). And now that it’s late morning, it’s time for me to head out for another day in the city! I’m also going to be seeing My Gay Best Friend tonight, so it will be a good day! Most every day is good when I’m visiting London though. 🙂

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!