I recently went for a weekend away in London with Leona (my girlfriend) to celebrate her 21st. I surprised her with everything I’d planned including a hotel stay, Covent Garden, tickets to The Shard with cocktails in The Shangri-La and a little trip to Camden Market – I’m a hopeless romantic, right? I thought I’d write a post about everything we got up to with some hints and tips on things you might find will come in handy.
I’d booked for us to stay at The London Bridge Hotel, literally a few seconds walk from The Shard and Borough Market (Tip: if you’re planning on visiting either of these places, I’d definitely recommend this hotel!). Being the charmer that I am, I’d been in contact with the hotel and told them that we were celebrating Leona’s 21st and that I wanted it to be special. When we arrived at the hotel, they’d upgraded us to a Superior room and given us 2 complimentary glasses of champagne! (Hint: if you’re staying somewhere for a celebration, getting in touch with the hotel will likely result in some form of freebie!)
As Leona hadn’t been to London before (she’s a Northerner, what can I say), we wanted to see as much as we could during the weekend. Once we’d dropped our bags off and checked in at the hotel, we hopped on the tube to Covent Garden. If you’ve ever been before, you’ll know about the ‘statue people’ (I’m sure they have an actual name but don’t ask me what it is), I’ve seen them so many times over the years and still have no idea how they do what they do! We watched a few other street artists, did a spot of shopping and had a nice meal at Mabel’s, a reasonably priced quirky little restaurant/bar down Maiden Lane (Tip: they have 2 for £10 on cocktails at certain times which for London prices is an absolute steal).
I’d pre-booked us tickets to The View At The Shard for 7:30pm so that can we could see the sunset over London (it just gets cuter, I know). Unfortunately, the weather on the day that we went was absolutely pants and instead of a sunset, we saw a whole lot of cloud! Luckily, a lady at the bookings desk was kind enough to give us 2 more tickets to use any time over the next 6 months (Hint: if you visit The Shard and can’t see anything much due to bad weather, they will usually offer you a ticket to return on another date). The view was still averagely good and I imagine that if the weather had been better it would’ve been amazing – but this leads me onto my next point!
GONG at The Shangri-La
Seeings as we didn’t have much luck with the view in the day, we hoped that when it got darker and the lights came on across London that the view would be better and we definitely weren’t wrong – it was incredible. We left The View At The Shard and went to GONG, an Asian-themed cocktail bar on Level 52 of The Shangri-La Hotel – because there’s nothing that an overpriced cocktail can’t fix, right? (Tip: GONG and The Shangri-La are separate to The Shard itself, so if you are wanting to go you won’t be able to get back into The View unless you have a day and night ticket). What’s also great that if a window seat isn’t available when you arrive, you’ll be offered one as soon as one comes available so that you can fully appreciate the view! (Hint: there is a waiting list for a table at GONG, so I’d recommend booking in advance or you may face up to an hour’s wait – like we did!). GONG is one of the many cocktail bars here, they’re all pretty pricey as you can imagine considering the location but with the view you get, it’s hard to complain.
I know I said before that I’d planned this trip for my girlfriend’s birthday, but there was a little more to it than that. She wasn’t my girlfriend at the time, not until that night anyway – I asked her to be while we were having cocktails looking out on the view in the photo above! I’d hope that makes up for the whole missing sunset fiasco? I’d bought her a charm and when she realised that it said ‘girlfriend’ on it, I asked her and (evidently) she said yes. It was all very cute but I’m not quite sure how I’m meant to up my game for a proposal in the not so near future…
After an expensive first day/night, we decided to take a slightly cheaper option for our last day and check out Camden Market. Aside from it being slightly drizzly, we still took advantage of the market and bought a few ‘designer’ t-shirts, a couple of touristy bits (to commemorate Leona’s first time in London) and most importantly, a bubble waffle. To anyone who doesn’t know what one of these is, you haven’t yet lived. I’m just going to let the photo explain this one for me…
How good does that look?! It was a waffle filled with melted Nutella, strawberries, cream, mini Oreo’s, magic stars and more melted chocolate. If I remember rightly it was around £6 which I think is a pretty decent price, especially if you share it between the two of you (Tip: I’d recommend sharing one unless you’re dead hungry because they’re pretty filling and quite sickly, but in such a good way). We took a look around the whole of the markets, managing to fail spectacularly at a Photo Booth in the process (that badly that I’m not even going to post it on here) whilst enjoying what else Camden Markets had to offer.
That’s about it for this post – I love writing about experiences/trips I’ve been on so keep an eye out for more of these in the future. As for a weekend away in London, you can’t really go wrong. There’s something for everyone and you can always find something to do that suits your likes (and more importantly your bank account). I hope some of you find these hints/tips helpful – if you like this kind of post and if you think I should I write more of this style, let me know, I’d love to hear what you think.
See you on the flip side,