Our second full day in London started out as an eventful and frustrating one. We decided to be super tourists and do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour through Big Bus Tours. I did one last time I was in the city and really enjoyed it! It was a nice way to see all of the highlights within a short amount of time, with the freedom to get out and explore as well. Well, that’s not the experience we ended up having and we called the bus tour a total flop. We can’t blame it all on the tour company, though–part of it was on us and part of it was on the weather.
It all started with us getting to the Hyde Park Corner tube stop and not being able to find the correct bus stop for the tour bus. I think we went to four different corners before learning it was the one across from the Hard Rock Cafe. When we finally got to the correct corner, we saw how the signage is so small for the tour company that it’s easy to miss. Bus arrives, we get on. It’s not the correct route we wanted. We had no idea. So we did the full loop of the route we didn’t want to ride on. Fail #2. We actually ended up going back by our Gloucester tube stop and joked how we should have just gotten on there. Oh well, not the end of the world. We got off the bus after the full loop and waited for the correct bus. Bus arrives, we get on it. Well, it was the correct route, but we didn’t get the bus with the live commentary like we wanted. Fail #3 of the day and it wasn’t 10AM. We said “whatever” and sucked it up because we were on the correct route and wanted to enjoy the upper deck before rain set in later that day.
The bus tour comes with a river cruise, so we opted to do that in the morning knowing it was suppose to rain the rest of the day. We hopped off near the Westminster tube stop and headed down to get on the boat, which would take us down by the Tower Bridge. The ride only takes about 30 minutes, and by the end of our ride it had started to rain. By this time, we were hungry so we headed to a pub near Tower Bridge called The Minories. It was cool because it was stationed under a railway, but the food was only okay.
We headed to the Tower of London after eating. That was another attraction that I didn’t go see during my last visit to the city. Tim was super interested in it, so we went and ended up spending a few hours there. We didn’t opt for an audio or guided tour, but there was plenty of videos and info along the way for us to learn the history. I will say that I learned much more than I expected to! We started by doing the Wall Walk around the perimeter, then making our way to the Crown Jewels and the White Tower. By that point, I was over the crowds and the rain so we headed out. We actually stopped into the Starbucks outside of the Tower to dry off. And because I wanted hot coffee. No shame.
We left (taking the Underground instead of waiting for a tour bus) and headed to the SOHO area of town. The rain had finally started to let up–yay! We stumbled upon Kingly Court, which is super cute and great by the way. You come across the best finds just by walking around! Our friends that live in Cambridge were coming down to meet us for dinner, so we posted up at Whyte & Brown for a couple of drinks while we waited for them to arrive in the city. Our friends came prepared for the evening with a dinner recommendation at a French restaurant called Pierre Victoria Bistro. It ended up being one of my favorite meals of the whole trip–everything we tried was so good! After dinner we walked around SOHO more before finding ourselves at an Irish pub in the middle of Chinatown. Go figure.