Our trip to London Baby!

If you follow me on instagram (@cosmibellblog) you’ll know we were in London last week! For my boyfriends’ 30th birthday in January I decided to get him a trip to London because it is something we could do together 😀 Plus we love it there!

We did so much while we were there and I thought I’d share our little trip with you all 🙂

We arrived in London late afternoon and checked into the gorgeous Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa. We always stay here whenever we are in London and we love it. The breakfast is amazing! In the evening we just relaxed in our room and got some room service

On Tuesday headed down to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home before spending the rest of the day at the Tower of London.

The dogs and cats home is where they film ‘Paul O’Grady’s For the Love of Dogs’, which we love, and we were lucky enough to see them film a little while we were there. Admission is only £2.00 and totally worth it to see all the gorgeous dogs and cats – I was so tempted to take them all home with me!

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Admission for Tower of London is £28.00 each for adults, which I do think is a little steep although we did spend a few hours here. Beware, there are A LOT of steps in this place and it is definitely not wheelchair or buggy friendly. It was cool to see the history of the tower, even though this isn’t usually something I would enjoy.

On Tuesday evening, we went for dinner in our favourite little Italian restaurant in London, Da Scalzo. They serve gorgeous food at brilliant prices and have live music every night! It’s the perfect atmosphere and not far from where we were staying. I also found a great deal for the restaurant on http://www.booktable.co.uk – 2 courses and a Gin and Tonic or Pint of London Pride beer for £16.00 each. It was definitely a limited menu, but still plenty of choice, and the gin and tonic was gorgeous!

Wednesday was the day! Warner Brother Harry Potter Tour 😀 I had booked this tour way back in January and been giddy ever since! I am a huge Harry Potter fan and have been wanting to do this tour for ages 🙂 It was by far my favourite thing we did in London this time round. Andy isn’t the biggest Harry Potter fan but he loved the tour as well. It really isn’t just for fanatics like myself, anyone who is interested in movies will love this as well – there are so many, set, props, animatronics that they used in the films.

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We chose to take the train, which meant we had to get a 5 minute taxi from our hotel to Victoria Station, then the tube to Euston station, then the train to Watford Junction station and finally the Warner Bros shuttle bus. In total, it took us about 2 hours to get to the studios, although keep in mind that we were not staying in the most central hotel.

Once we got there, it was pretty easy to pick up our pre-booked tickets from the machine and we headed on in. The lobby is definitely a wow-factor when you walk in (especially when you see the massive que ahead. To actually enter the tour, we were waiting for about 30 minutes.

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The tour starts when you enter the ‘Cinema’ room. There is a large cinema screen where they play a short clip of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint talking about their time at the studios filming the 8 movies. Then screen lifts and the tour starts…

I have put together a little video from our tour with the videos we took 🙂

We had lunch in the Backlot Cafe, which was surprisingly reasonable. We both got a hot dog and a sandwich (both were delicious) and a butter beer to share. The butter beer is disgusting IMO, insanely sweet!

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Andy wanted to head to a karaoke bar while we were in London, so for dinner we decided to go to Bunga Bunga in Battersea. Oh dear, what to say about this place.. OK the decor was very cool, the cocktails yummy, but the food was horrendous! We got a garlic pizza bread to share for starter which was quite nice, if a little burnt around the edges. For my main, I ordered the carbonara. The dish was just so over seasoned that all I could taste was pepper (they had even used ground pepper as a garnish around the edges of the plate.. ) Andy had a pizza and he said it was only ok, I had a slice and wasn’t a fan but that may have been the toppings. The place was also dead, it was us and one other couple in the restaurant for the whole time we were there and so there was no karaoke (there was two for 1 cocktails tho, which were yum). I would definitely not recommend for food, but it seems like a place that’d be good fun on a Friday or Saturday night for some drinks.

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Thursday, I had planned as our ‘museum day’ and so we headed off to Trafalgar Square. We hopped on the tube at Sloane Square (about 20 minutes walk) and hopped off at Charing Cross, the exit is right at Trafalgar Square! The square was extremely busy, as expected, so we just took a few pictures and headed up the steps and into the National Gallery.

I was super excited about visiting the National Gallery. I have such a strong love of art, but had never been here on all my trips to this city! The highlights of course were ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ by Jan Van Eyck and ‘The Supper at Emmaus’ by Caravaggio, and of course Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ are even more gorgeous in person. The gallery was very warm and stuffy, and with Andy not having the same interest level as me in art, we didn’t stay for too long. I definitely think it is well worth a visit though, even to just see the building as it is quite spectacular. Admission is free, all bags are checked at the door.

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We then headed off to the London Film Museum to see the ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibition. It was quite close, only 10 minutes’ walk away from the National Gallery. Admission is £14.50 each for adults and well worth it. The amount of props and vehicles from all the Bond movies is something we loved! We are big movie buffs and huge fans of the Bond series so this was right up our alley. Andy also got a picture doing his best 007 pose! The only thing I would say is that the museum isn’t the largest and 2 hours is probably the maximum you could spend here.

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After a quick bite to eat and the nicest hot chocolate I think I’ve ever had (Crown – Cafe Português, Charing Cross) we headed off to the M&M’s World shop on Leicester Square. Man, this place was packed to the brim! It was a bit crazy and sent both of our anxieties off a little with just the sheer amount of people, a lot of tourists and a lot of kids. We stayed for all of ten minutes for me to get a bag of M&M’s from their candy wall!

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Thursday night, we decided to eat in the hotel because we were really tired from all the walking around London 🙂

Then Friday arrived – check out day 😦

We had a late flight back to Dublin at 10pm, so we availed of a late checkout of 12pm, and reception then kindly minded our bags while we headed out for a bit of shopping on Oxford Street. Turns out we both had aching feet from the week and could no more be arsed to shop 😀 We pondered around Oxford Street for little while and then headed to our favourite cafe for lunch. Kula is located just off Oxford Street at St Christophers Place and they do the nicest sandwiches! I got a ham and cheese toastie and a hot chocolate, yum 😀 They also do amazing cakes and waffles here if your looking for something sweet.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to relax in the bar/ lobby for a few hours before we needed to leave for the Gatwick Express back to the airport.

We hopped in a taxi to Victoria Station to get the 7.15pm train. We did leave a little more time then we would need because we had trouble with the Gatwick Express not being as prompt as promised, but this time around we had no trouble and were at the airport in 30 minutes. I get a lot of anxiety flying, so this was great for me! I find the more time I have, the less I seem to panic 🙂

Once we were checked in, dropped our bags and gotten through security (yes, I beeped ) we went looking for the McDonald’s we remembered being there from a previous trip… it’s gone!! I was so disappointed and hungry 😦 There are actually no fast food places in the airport. There are a lot of sandwich places and a few sit down restaurants, but we weren’t really in the mood for either. Afterwards we decided to go to Pret A Manger and just get sandwiches, and they were surprising tasty.

We had an absolute ball of a time in London and it was a great way to celebrate Andy’s big birthday together!

– C


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