When Graham found out he was getting a one month vacation during his third year of medical school, we knew we had to take a trip to Europe. We each studied abroad and neither of us had been back to visit since. Graham studied in London in the fall of 2009, and I studied in Lugano Switzerland in the spring of 2013, so it had been far too long!
We knew from the start that London would be our first stop. When I first met Graham, he talked to me about his time living there and we are both huge Wimbledon fans, so we’ve been wanting to go to experience this town together.
Not only did we get to explore together, but we also got engaged while visiting! Graham had been planning to propose since March, and when we went to Wimbledon for a couple's photo shoot, he got down on one knee in front of centre court! It was a surprise to me and our photographer, and I'm so happy to have photos documenting the occasion.
Click through for more details about where we stayed and played, or watch the video recap here:
We stayed at the citizenM Shoreditch and it was a great base for exploring! Aside from it being a super clean and beautiful, smart room, it was also conveniently located near multiple bus lines and tube stations.
EATING IN SHOREDITCH
Shoreditch is a super hip neighborhood with various yummy restaurants to try. Via Emilia had some of the best Italian food we’ve had outside of Italy and the Cereal Killer Cafe was a novel experience for us too! We also heard great things about HomeSlice and Pizza East, but we didn’t get a chance to try them.
Since we had both visited before, we didn't take time to see some of the most popular attractions like Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, or Buckingham Palace, but here are the sights & neighborhoods we did explore:
- Brick Lane
- Kensington Gardens/Palace
- The Victoria & Albert Museum
- Notting Hill
- Portobello Road Market
- The London Eye
- Big Ben & Parliment
- Tate Modern
- Tower Bridge
- Canary Wharf
- Millenium Bridge
- St. Pauls Cathedral
- Trafalgar Square
- Piccadilly Circus
- Oxford Circus
- Carnaby Street
- Sketch London
LENGTH OF STAY
4 nights is a great amount of spend in London. I honestly would've liked longer, and I definitely wouldn't try to visit for less than three days. You can buy a visitor's tube pass for the length of your stay online before you leave, or at the airport. It gives you the best value if you plan on taking the tube daily (which we definitely recommend!).
If you're going without an international data plan, you can download the London Google map to use offline without internet, but look up transportation from the airport to your hotel before you arrive. We took all public transportation, but a cab or uber is way easier and more convenient if you're not budget conscious. Speaking of the tube - picking a hotel near a tube stop can be helpful in allowing you to see as much as the city as possible!
DOCUMENTING THE TRIP
Engagement aside, I would still highly recommend hiring a photographer to document at least part of your trip. It's so hard to get selfies and I always hate asking strangers to take photos, so a dedicated photo shoot is a great option, especially if it's a destination that's particularly special to you!