On the fourth, we met our mom in the train station in Amsterdam. We had lunch there and wandered around before our train arrived. We had a connecting train and had to go through England’s immigration control. We almost missed our next train, but luckily, many other passengers from our first train were also getting on our second train, so they kept the train waiting for us. We finally got to London and were all so tired but we got home and got to bed, but not before some spaghetti for dinner.
On the fifth, we decided to get groceries and walk around where we are staying. We explored some cafes and shops, as well as the playground that is close by. The Vinyl Cafe played cool records and an extensive collection of them on display. We had lunch there and continued shopping on the market.
The next day we got the touristy things mostly out of the way. We rode the bus for over an hour and got to see lots of the city throughout the journey. We arrived at Trafalgar Square and took pictures by the statues. We got some ice cream and admired the artists outside the National Portrait Gallery. Then, we went into the gallery. After a couple hours spent in there, we went to the Shakespeare statue and found some dancers and performers before finding dinner at the city’s only 100% gluten-free Italian restaurant. After taking longer than expected to eat, we rushed to go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was great.
On the seventh, we packed sandwiches and made our way down to St. James’s Park to have a picnic and a walk in the park. We then walked to Buckingham Palace and took pictures outside of it, as we did not get up early enough for the changing of the guards. Then we walked around Westminster Abbey but saved going inside until later. We walked over the River Thames, took some pictures with Big Ben and looked at the London Eye, as well as took a break in the green across the river from the clock. After, we went back to where we are staying and packed for our trip to Durham.
Beginning the morning early, we made our way to the train station to go to Durham. Since many trains were down in Scotland due to power shortages, we ended up missing our connecting train and having to ride a train which had three trains’ worth of people on it. We were miserable on the crowded train, standing for a couple hours with others popping champagne around us but we made the most of it. Once we got to Durham, we walked around and inside the Cathedral and did some exploring, ate at the Fat Hippo, and ending the day with a medieval performance.
The next day we took a tour around the castle and then enjoyed the parade for the Minor’s Gala, a great celebration in Durham. We got baked goods from Be Temped, my new favorite place for amazing gluten-free service and goods. Altogether, we went there three times throughout the four days we were there! We hung out for a bit in our rooms and went exploring for a bit again.
The last day of the week was Pippa’s birthday. We went to Crook Hall and Gardens, which is a historic house and site dating back to the 13th century. It is said to be haunted, as many things in Durham are. The gardens were beautiful and we even met a little cat during our visit. We went shopping a bit and took another trip to Be Tempted to celebrate Pippa’s birthday. After, we hung out in our rooms once again before dinner at Pizza Express.
Watch the England Week 1 video: