Making the best of a bad situation…shopping & sightseeing in London

 

British Airways Flight

Have you ever handed your luggage over at the airport with trepidation?  Have you ever thought, “I hope it makes it on the plane and to my destination”?  Until our trip to Europe in the summer of 2010, it had never really crossed our mind; our luggage ALWAYS appeared on the baggage carousel at our arrival airport.  But…not this time…

The feeling of excitement that exists when you first step foot off the plane at the beginning of a trip is incredible.  It is one that we look forward to every time we travel.  Even though we had been to London once previously, we were so excited to be returning and beginning our 67 day adventure exploring London and the rest of Europe.

So with huge anticipation we headed to the baggage carousel at London’s Heathrow Airport and waited for our bags to appear.  Evan’s arrived first – it always does! And then we waited for Tracy’s luggage.  We waited… and waited… and waited, watching as other passengers on the plane happily scooped up their luggage and began their journey.  Then, the new bags stopped arriving and there were those poor lone bags that went unclaimed and rode around and around on the carousel.  At this point, panic set in for Tracy…”Where is my bag?” she thought. 

With a feeling of dread, we headed over to the lost baggage counter to inquire about the whereabouts of Tracy’s luggage.  We were able to find out that it never made it onto our flight from Vancouver to London and that it “should” arrive soon.  So, we set off to our hotel, prepared to still fully enjoy London but with a new plan – Tracy needs clothes – and what better place to go shopping than in London!

So, with our old plan, check out some of the great sights in London and the new plan, find clothes for Tracy, we headed out to explore London. 

Tower of London - White Tower

White Tower inside of the Tower of London

We wanted to visit the Tower of London as we had missed it on our previous trip to this vibrant city.  From our hotel, we hopped on the subway, a fabulous way to get around the city quickly, and headed straight to the Tower of London for its opening.  We had been given a tip, that upon entrance, to immediately bypass all other sights at the Tower and head straight to the Crown Jewels.  This tip proved invaluable as we sailed into the rooms that house the Crown Jewels and saw all of the spectacular treasures with no line up!  By the time we exited the rooms with the impressive collection, there was already a long line up.  Our recommendation, go early to the Tower of London and straight to see the Crown Jewels, then after, explore the rest of the grounds.

Now, with one sight done, it was time to find some clothes.  We have been fortunate to be in London twice during the summer months of July and August.  During this time, London stores have huge sales and the deals are plentiful.  If you are visiting London to experience the shopping, there are some definite must-sees!  Our recommendations include:

1. Harrods

Offering a huge variety in shopping including fashion, food, and furniture, this iconic department has something for everyone.

2. Regent Street

This street, located between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus is lined with many of the most popular stores around the world, including some London originals, offering some amazing deals!

3. Piccadilly Circus

London - Piccadilly Circus

The vibrant Piccadilly Circus!

A spectacle in itself with huge neon signs and a bustling hub activity, Piccadilly Circus is a must-see in London as well as a central point for some great shopping.  This is a great starting off point for discovering the array of shopping stores along Piccadilly Street or Regent Street.

4. London Markets

London is home to a huge array of markets selling a variety of goods from antiques, fresh produce and baked goods, to designer clothing and accessories.  For a great list of the Top 10 markets in London check out the suggestions on Visit London’s page.

5. Marks & Spencer

A London classic, the flagship store is located at Marble Arch but smaller versions can be found throughout the city.  Not only can you find reasonably priced clothing but they also have a food hall which offers a great alternative for the traveler who is looking for a cheaper meal.  Grab some of their pre-packaged snacks or meals to keep your food budget on course while in London.

After finding a few necessities for Tracy so that she would not have to wear the same clothing for several days, it was time to check out more of the famous sights in London.  On our list of not-to-be missed are:

1. Westminster Abbey

London - Westminster Abbey

2. Parliament Houses

3. Buckingham Palace

4. Hyde Park 

After a busy day of sightseeing and shopping, the perfect way to wrap up the day and show off your fancy new outfits is with a theatre show.  London is home to some of the best plays, musicals and performing arts shows in the world.  We had booked tickets to see the musical Jersey Boys in advance and headed over to London’s lively Soho district to catch the show. 

London - Jersey Boys

Why not take in a show?

London - Soho District

! London’s lively Soho District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great experience and show!  It was the perfect way to end a jam-packed day touring and shopping around London.

We hope you enjoyed our entry in the Visit Britain Shop Blogger Competition!

If you could go on a dream shopping spree in London, what stores or places would you be sure to visit?

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Some posts on our site, Travels4Couples, do allow us to make money. However, we do not sacrifice our integrity and only post those articles that match our brand and we feel would interest our readers.

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