A father-daughter new year’s trip, enjoying food, music, shows and the great views.
- + 10
Europe14 days / January - December 2019
Highs & Lows
Last minute seats at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho, for the Scott Hamilton Quartet.
Didn’t plan the trip with enough time and tickets for most shows and events we wanted to attend to were not available.
The trip started early morning the day after Christmas, taking the tube from Heathrow to London. We stayed at the Club Quarters Hotel, less than a block away from Saint Paul’s. It was magical to step out of the hotel and immediately see this wonderful cathedral, as well as being so close to the tube, and in a great place to start a walk around the city. Being December London was cold but very manageable if you came prepared with a couple of jackets and gloves. The sun was rising at 7:45 am and setting around 4:00 pm which gave us around eight hours of light, which meant we rose with the sun. London was filled with the Christmas spirit, from the wonderful Christmas markets by the Thames, Winter Wonderland by Hyde Park, Christmas in Leicester, and so many others; there were lights and decorations anywhere you went. Even with the cold the city was alive every day and night; anywhere you went there was something to do.
While staying in London, there was much to do inside the city as well as further from it. We spent the first ten days in the city, walking as much as we could and looking for spots to take in the culture; we found amazing food, anything from Asian to fast food and everything in between. We were able to get tickets for West-End shows as well as smaller music clubs, and museums in the city are a must. My personal recommendation would be to walk the city, but a double decker bus is a great option for short rests and a great view of the streets; the tube also gives you the chance to visit some spots a little further away like Greenwich and Wimbledon.
From London, we went to Cambridge for a couple of days; this gorgeous city is around two hours and twenty minutes away from London by bus. We stayed at The Mill Suites by the City Centre district, a really nice place for a couple of days and a good distance from the train station or the usual bus stops. Cambridge is a city filled with beautiful architecture, museums, great shops, good food, and a lot of history; you are bound to find something of your liking. Since we were there during the first days of January it didn’t seem like there were many classes going on besides a few exam rooms closed here and there, but you still get to walk around some of the colleges and gardens.
After returning to London for one day more, we took an early flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh where we stayed at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge-Royal Mile, a beautiful hotel with great views and amazing location in the city. We were welcomed by really strong winds which pushed you around as you walked and startled everyone by banging doors in the shops; still the winds prevented us from feeling the colder weather right away. We stayed in Edinburgh for five days, which gave us time to visit all the beautiful sights, the castle, nearby mountains, beautiful streets and try great food. We loved that we could find a city where you could go on a hike and relax at a jazz club just a couple of blocks away; there is something for every taste. We had just enough time to really get to know the city as well as relax before the trip home.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have bought tickets earlier for the Warner Brother Studio Tour and probably I would have packed another jacket.
Anything go wrong during the trip?
Yes, a silly mistake. We went to The Globe to buy tickets for a play and didn’t notice they had booked us for a week later -when we wouldn’t be there anymore- than we had asked until the night of the play.
How was the food?
There was a bit of everything in the trip, but my favorite was the street food in London, or Asian food restaurants.
What tips would you give a friend?
Give yourself enough time to visit London and all the great places near before moving to another city.
If you’re travelling during winter, definitely pack warm clothes, maybe some thermal underwear and look for a scarf or light fabric to cover your face from the wind to prevent it from getting burned. Aside from that, just make sure you have comfortable shoes.
I am a fan of walking, so mainly that. In London use the tube and in Cambridge its nice to rent a bicycle for a while.
I make most of my reservations on Expedia or directly on the hotel websites.