Analytics Tracker

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

UK Trip Part 1: Mumford and Sons & Tower of London

WOW do I have some catching up to do! I wanted to blog while I was travelling and do a semi-real-time trip account, but our internet connection was never strong enough to upload photos so I decided to just wait until we got back.

So without further ado, trip blog!

We left MN at 9:45pm on July 5th and arrived in London at about noon on the 6th. Unfortunately, it turned out that our hotel was about one billion miles from the airport and there were a ton of road closures so we ended up with an almost two hour cab ride right out of the gate. It was really expensive....welcome to London!

We stayed at the Holday Inn Stratford which is right next to Olympic Park. This ended up being a great location - Stratford isn't very central in and of itself, but Olympic Park is right next to Stratford Station which is on both the Central and Jubilee lines, so you can get to most places quickly and without having to transfer.

Anywho, the cab let us out a couple of blocks from the hotel, and we proceeded to haul our bags up a lift (escalator) and through the massive crowds of people who had suddenly descended into the vicinity of our hotel.

"Wow," I thought. "This seems really crowded, even for a Saturday night." Then I noticed people in uniforms directing traffic and deduced that there was obviously some sort of event taking place that night. And THEN I heard a loudspeaker announcement instruct people to "Keep to the right for Mumford and Sons."


Obviously I wasted no time in figuring out what exactly was going on. As it turned out there was a music festival that night, in Olympic Park, featuring Mumford and Sons. Opening bands included Ben Howard, Vampire Weekend and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Umm, yes please.

After I had finished freaking out and convincing Ben that we HAD to go to this concert (he readily agreed, although was admittedly a bit skeptical of our ability to stay up that late) we checked in at the hotel, dumped our bags in the room, and ran down to the street to see if we could find tickets. Do not shower or wash face, do not change clothes, do not collect $200. Gross, admittedly...but less gross considering we were about to spend the next several hours outside, in the grass, jumping around with bare feet (or maybe more gross? Also the jumping was mostly just me....). We may or may not have taken turns napping on the ground between sets.

The concert was AMAZING. All of the bands were fantastic, and I was super excited to see Mumford and Sons since I probably won't be able to make it to their show in St Paul.

On the way to the concert - tickets in hand!



The next morning, we got up early and had breakfast before heading over to the Tower of London. Since it was the weekend, we knew it would be crowded so we wanted to get there right when they opened to avoid as much of the crowd as possible.

The tower still houses the crown jewels, but has also been used as a fortress, the royal palace, a prison, and armory among other things. There are tons of creepy and weird stories about the tower - two young princes were (likely) murdered there in the late 1400's, and apparently Anne Boleyn's ghost is still running amok.

Outside the Tower of London

Demonstrating how to use a Trebuchet (this is a small-scale version...about 1/3 size)

Duly noted!
Dragon made of armor and weponry! So cool.

After a couple of hours at the Tower, we walked down to St Katherine's pier for lunch at the Dickens Inn, which was recommended to me by a coworker who used to live in London. The Dickens inn is a great spot - they have a pub on the ground floor, pizza on the middle floor and a fancy-ish restaurant on the top. My colleague highly recommended the pizza, so Ben and I shared a small pie with prosciutto, olives and arugala with a salad on the side. It was delicious! Definitely recommended, plus St Katherine's is a cute area and fun to walk around in.

The Dickens Inn

Mmmm pizza
After lunch we wandered around for a bit before heading back to the hotel. We both went for a quick afternoon run and showered, then caught a train to Soho for some dinner and bookshop browsing. Unfortunately everything closes early on Sundays so we didn't get to do much shopping, but we did find a nice dinner spot: Maison Touareg, a Lebanese and Moroccan restaurant on Greek Street. I ordered the Veg Tagine, and Ben had a Chicken drink I had wine and Ben had a mocktail. The man loves his mocktails...and I love to make fun of his mocktails.
Maison Touareg

Mocktails - the real man's drink!

So that covers the first couple days of our trip - I'll be back with more hopefully tomorrow! We've been back since Saturday but have pretty much hit the ground running with work, vet appointments for the pets and other various nonsense but I will get caught up soon :)

Hope you're all having a great week!!


  1. 1. way to go on seizing an chance to go to that concert! i bet it will be one of your life's fondest memories :)
    2. you look amazing.
    3. it is kinda hilarious he drinks husband is all about the craft beer and bourbon cocktails. i would get serious side eye if i ordered a mocktail ;p

    1. 1. It was so worth it! You're totally right, it is going to be one of our cherished memories from this trip.
      2. Aww..thank you! :)
      3. You know, it's funny because he also loves single malt scotch and quality cocktails (as do I) but occasionally he just can't resist the mocktail. And I can't resist making fun of him for it :p

  2. In my defense, I would always choose a good single malt scotch. But one with every meal seems a tad expensive, and if you choose to avoid alcohol for one day each week you might as well do so with a non-soda option...

    (There really is no defense, I suppose...but they're so tasty...)

  3. I really enjoyed this post- especially the concert pic and the one of Dickens' Inn with all of the flowers! Looks fun!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...