I had been dying to travel to Europe since the pandemic, so I booked a flight and let the rest fall into place. This trip was for me about seeing friends and enjoying mainly England which is one of my favorite countries in the world. (yes, I know I have more to see but this country says cake and tea with milk is acceptable pretty much any time of the day. Don't event get me started with the accents!)
Time of Year: May 20-June 5 (Mid to late June is the best time to travel to these countries)
What I packed: (only took a backpack) long skirts, jeans, spanx dress pants, lulu leggings, t-shirts, tanks, dresses, Rothy flats, Reef sandals, and wore rain boots. (everyone wears sneakers these days so I highly recommend those and skip the flats)
Where I went:
England: London, Richmond, Shere, Chilworth, Winchester, Kent, Cantebury, Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Cheltenham (part of the Cotswolds)
Sweden: Stockholm and Uppsala
Everyone that has seen me since returning from my trip has asked me what my favorite days were and favorite meals....Day 5 and Day 15 were my favorite days, but all hold a special place in my memories and heart. My favorite meals were at The Pig, Maggie Jones. the mushroom risotto in Borough Market, and Kasai.
Day 1 I took an overnight flight from Boston, and arrived at Heathrow at 10 AM. Took the tube from Heathrow to Hasten Cross where my friends Luke and Joe picked me up. Luke and I had lunch at the Ivy in Richmond, and saw Ted Lasso season 3 being filmed! Later, we met up with Joe and his girlfriend Phoebe to grab drinks at the Slug + Lettuce.
Day 2 The four of us took the train to Waterloo to explore London after having a nice breakfast near their home. We did a cruise on the Thames, and hit up a few different bars that day.
Day 3 Luke dropped me off at Heathrow so I could catch an early flight to Dublin. Once through customs (which took an hour), I got on the Airbus 700 which I pre-booked online for about 9 euros, and took me to the city center. I then dropped my bags off at my hotel The Temple Bar Inn, and headed out to explore Dublin. I visited Saint Patrick's Cathedral, heard the bells ring at Christ Church Cathedral at noon on a Sunday, Dublin Castle, Halfpenny Bridge, and had fish and chips at Leo Burdocks. The Inn was ok, great location, but I would have preferred to stay at the Shelbourne Hotel. I checked out a few bars including Temple Bar (naturally), Quays, and Buskers.
Day 4 Explored Trinity College to see the library and the Book of Kells, and did a tour at the Guinness Storehouse. Couldn't go to Dublin without visiting Guinness. My flight was in the afternoon so I took the Airbus 700 back to the airport. Once arrived at the Gatwick airport, I picked up my car that I hired for the week, and headed to Shere. I explored the town to see Saint James Church, and have dinner at the White Horse Pub. I then drove over an hour to Chilworth in Southampton to stay at the Chilworth Manor for the night. I explored their gardens, and used the pool and sauna before heading to bed.
Day 5 Explored Winchester then drove to Kent to meet family friends Tim and Lorraine. We visited Sissinghurst Castle and had scones and tea there after exploring the breathtaking gardens. (My favorite afternoon tea of the whole trip!) We then did a wine tasting at Biddenden Vineyards, then headed to dinner at The Pig.
Day 6 Breakfast at the Wild Goose inside the Good Shed in Canterbury. Explored downtown Canterbury to see the cathedral from a distance even though it was covered in scaffolding. I then said goodbye to Tim and Lorraine, and drove to Cambridge to check into the Graduate Hotel. I walked around, and some lunch at a Honest Burger. Did some more exploring before meeting my friends Bobby and Marcus for dinner at the Ivy in Cambridge. We had gelato at Jack's to end the evening.
Day 7 Drove from Cambridge to Chipping Norton to get a tour of Cornwell Manor for future destination weddings there. I then drove 18 minutes north to explore Stratford-upon-Avon, then an hour south to Oxford. I ended my night by driving another hour to my hotel called Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham which was the nicest place I stayed at my whole trip. I had myself a solo dinner, wine in the tub, and called it a relaxing night.
Day 8 Woke up bright and early to drive 2.15 hours back to Gatwick to catch my flight to Stockholm. I checked into my hotel At Six, and met my friends (Karin, Adam, Danny, Johann, and Gustav) for drinks at SUS (Stockholm under Stars) which is technically a part of my hotel. Five of us then went for dinner and drinks at Kasai (did the tasting menu), and ended our night at East. Stockholm nightlife is definitely a younger crowd but The Berns Hotel has a great club(s).
Day 9 Stockholm for Brunch at Mister French, shopping, and took the train up to Uppsala. We arrived in Uppsala later in the day so we decided to relax and go see the new Top Gun Maverick movie.
Day 10 Karin and I had fika at Guntherska Hovkonditoriet, met up with Adam and his crossfit friends and had dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Relaxing yet soul fulfilling day since I haven't seen Karin since 2019, and I was so excited to see her new flat in Uppsala.
Day 11 Took the early train back to the Stockholm Airport to fly to Gatwick for the final leg of my trip. Took the tube to Paddington, and checked into The Chilworth London Paddington which was a 5 minute walk from the station, (If you want a really close hotel to the station, stay at The Hilton London Paddington) Once checked in, I explored London, and took lots of photos from Notting Hill to Chelsea to Kensington. I had a big meal at Maggie Jones, then headed back to the hotel to rest because I was getting pretty tired from moving around so much.
Day 12 Walked London (Little Venice, Abbey Road, Green Park) then took the GWR from Paddington to Bath for a few hours. Great shopping in Bath with some amazing views btw). I took the afternoon train back to London, and took myself out for a night. I had dinner at the Ivy Asia in Chelsea, saw The Lion King in the West End, and ended my night with a cocktail at Opium in Chinatown near the West End. (If I were to pick a different show, it would be Phantom of the Opera since it originally opened there in 1986 which is 2 years before Broadway)
Day 13 One of my BFFs Amanda flew in to spend the rest of the trip with me so to start our trip together we had breakfast at the Chiltern Firehouse. We then checked into our Airbnb in Notting Hill, and headed to Mayfair to meet my family friend Shaney. The three of us got a bottle of champagne at Claridges, and had ourselves an afternoon! Shaney then left so Amanda and I went for afternoon tea at the Wolseley, explored the Ritz, took photos on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, and had dinner at Holy Carrot. (if you are vegan/or are trying to be healthy in London, this place is for you!)
Day 14 The day the queen's platinum jubilee began in London. We headed towards the Mall to watch the Trooping of the Colors. Unfortunately, I had to leave to go meet a family friend for lunch. I walked/Ubered to Canary Wharf to meet Torsten at Emelia's Crafted Pasta. After a lovely lunch catching up, I met back up with Amanda at The Manor House Rosewood Hotel for tea before getting an uber to the Harry Potter Studios Tour. I highly recommend just getting an uber there. It cost us 90 GBP total round trip which we split. It was so convienant to be dropped off and picked up right there without having to walk from a train station or take a bus. The only thing I will say about the tour is DO IT! Oh, and the chicken sandwich was fantastic (get extra burger sauce for the chips aka fries), but the butter beer ice cream was not good/didn't taste like ice cream at all to me. That's all I will say. Can't wait to hear your experience!
Day 15 London Amanda and I had a wedding meeting over tea at the Pavilion in the Kensington Gardens. I would like to do all meetings that way from now on thank you =) From there, we walked the park over to Harrod's where the fun really began. We found out that our favorite champagne had it's own terrace bar so naturally we had champagne and caviar before starting our shopping. I then went off for my drybar appointment followed by getting my makeup done at Bobbi Brown. I then bought my first pair of Manolo Blahniks. We headed back to the airbnb to freshen up, then ubered over to the Savoy for drinks at the American Bar. I ended up wearing the same blazer as the staff so naturally we became best friends, and I ended up behind the bar. The head bartenders were Juan and Cristian. Go see them! Since we stayed there until 11 PM never eating dinner, our new best friends got us a table at the hotel's grill where I had steak tartare (average) and Amanda had beef wellington (amazing), but the best part was the free yogurt macarons they give you with your bill. JUST WOW. From there, we had a drink at Mr. Fogg's then danced until 3 AM at Salvador & Amanda's.
Day 16 London Met my friend Marcus for his birthday. We had afternoon tea at the Royal Horeguards Hotel, took the tube to Primrose Hill to see the city's skyline, had my favorite mushroom risotto at Borough Market for the first half of the day. The second half of the day included drinks again at the Savoy, dinner at Duck and Waffle, followed by drinks at Opium. I had to take my test that night in order to fly back the next day.
Day 17 Amanda and I walked around Kensington for my last day in London. We ate at Maggie Jones, and then I took the Heathrow Express from Paddington to Heathrow. I went from Paddington to being through TSA within an hour.
Best Bagels: Beigel Bake
Until the next trip. Keep finding the beauty out there. xoxo Steph