Friday, April 5, 2013

Joanne's London trip!

I can't believe I haven't been to London more, especially as it's so close to Dublin.  So I booked it as Will's Christmas present last year.  But the main reason was to bring him to Michel Roux's restaurant, Le Gavroche.

After a short flight to Heathrow and a tube ride to London, we arrived at the London Bridge Hotel.  This is a 4-star boutique hotel which is opposite London Bridge and beside Borough Market, the ideal location for Will the foodie!  Our room was modern and clean with a huge and comfy king sized bed.  The toiletries were from The White Company, which was the cherry on top.

On Saturday morning, we got up early to enjoy the buffet breakfast at the hotel before we headed over to Borough Market.  This is the best food market I have ever been to and is a source of quality British and international produce like bread, cheese and seafood along with cakes and wine.  Everything looked and smelled divine and next time we head to London, we'll make sure to have breakfast or lunch in the market.


Unfortunately we had other plans - the London Eye - time to be tourists!  I had booked the flexi standard tickets here the week before, which meant we just had to collect them on the day and we could go on the London Eye whenever we wanted.  We went at 10am and it was a great experience with gorgeous views, even though the day was cloudy.  I'd definitely go on it again, maybe at sunset on a clear day which I'd say would be stunning.  Each capsule holds about 16 people, so there's plenty of room to walk around and see the views.  There's also the option of booking out a capsule for you and your special someone along with some champagne.


Later that day, we went to see Big Ben, Covent Garden and the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.  I was dying to see this but we were a bit late getting there.  The crowds were crazy!  The website says the ceremony starts at 11.15 and lasts for 45 minutes, but I'd recommend getting there at 10.30 to make sure you have a good view and aren't trampled on.  Click here for the schedule.


After a day of seeing as much as we could, it was time to get our glad rags on and head to Le Gavroche.  I've never eaten in a Michelin star restaurant before, never mind a 2 Michelin star one, so I was afraid I would feel out of place and it would be very up itself.  But from the second we walked in, I felt at ease and completely comfortable.  As we were there early, we were seated in the bar area and given two amuse bouches.  One was catfish and the other was a small tartlet and both were gorgeous.  We were also given the menu to look at, even though we knew we were going to be having the 8 course tasting menu.  What I loved about Le Gavroche were all the little things.  Like I had booked the dinner for Will's Christmas present, so they had given me a menu with the prices and his had no prices, which was a nice touch.  We made our order and we were brought downstairs to the restaurant which was buzzing.  As each course came out, the waiter explained everything to us and I have to say, each course was better than the last.  If you want to read more about the meal itself, Will has written about it on his blog here.


Sunday was another fun filled day!  After we stuffed ourselves with the buffet breakfast again (who would have thought we would have room after Le Gavroche!) we went for a walk down to Tower Bridge.  We needed to walk off some calories before going for afternoon tea.


Will had done some research and booked the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair which was absolutely gorgeous.  We've had afternoon tea in a few places around Ireland, but this was on a different level.  We ate chocolate long pepper cake, tonka frangipane tart and rhubarb compote, apple mousse Brittany sable, exotic cheesecake with shortbread, coffee and cranberry macaron and chestnut and blackcurrant choux.  I've never even heard some of these words before, but the food was stunning as you can see.


And what trip to London would be complete without a visit to Harrods?!


It was a jam packed weekend and I can't wait to go back to London again.  Karen is heading over there at the end of the month for a couple of days and had better take some of my tips on board!  We're now aiming to bring Lovely Mammy Bits over too as she's never been and we'll look for any excuse for a holiday!

What should Karen do when she's in London?
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6 comments

  1. Swit swooooo, living the life of reilly, eh? Looks like you have a fab time Joanne :)

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    1. Had such a great time Simone. Really wannna go back at least once before the end of the year

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  2. Loved this post, I've never been to London so I wouldn't have a clue what to recommend. The meal & afternoon tea look amazing, those little desserts! Fabulous. Gorgeous pictures, thank you for sharing them with everyone x

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    1. Oh you really should go!! It's such a fun place and so close by! We got to see loads but still plenty of things to do next time, like seeing a show or something! Cant wait :)

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  3. Great post! You guys have really enjoyed your trip. I have never been to London but upon seeing this post of yours. I am planning it now and i will def say it to my hubby.

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