As we booked our cruise for Iceland that would begin and end Southampton, England a visit for a few days before the cruise would be in order. Our flights from Puerto Vallarta were via Air Canada because I found an exceptional deal for the 2 of us via Vancouver, Canada and then direct to London Heathrow in Premium Economy for about $1500 USD per person round trip. It did make us overnight in Vancouver, however it was an excuse to explore this great city with a friend who lives there. I divided this voyage into 3 parts for easier reading; 2019 London, England; 2019 Iceland Solstice; and 2019 England to Iceland Cruise.
After searching on VRBO and Airbnb, I was able to locate a 2 bedroom apartment in the area of Vauxhall right along the Thames River featuring a secure building with a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms. It was perfect for the 4 of us traveling on this vacation. Total cost was about $1000 USD for 4 nights, not bad for being in the Center of London with easy access to the bus station across the street at the Vauxhall Station. There were several restaurants and a grocery store right in the first floor of the apartment buildings.
Arriving in the morning, we started to explore our surroundings and of course a London cab would take us to the main sites that we had planned during our 3 days in London. All of the main sites had to be included and they were the London Eye, The Shard, a London theater show, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, and London Bridge & Tower. My first choice in any new city is the hop off hop on buses, so we had pre-purchased a travel coupon booklet/app called the London Pass. This pass allows you to purchase the value depending on the number of days you are in London and provides free access to over 80+ attractions/sites using the funds loaded onto the app by deducting the amount of the cost of each attraction. Very easy to use and we actually got access to almost all the places we planned to see for the original cost of only 125 pounds. https://www.londonpass.com/
So, of course our first stop was to get on the Hop On Hop Off bus to get a lay of the land around London. We make the complete round trip and the decide to hop off in the center of London near Tower Bridge to explore some sites. We go to the London Eye which is highly recommended, not included in the London Pass, but well worth the extra expense. Great views from high above London.
Since the Tower Bridge is right around the corner we head over to the Tower museum and look at the Crown Jewels as well as several interesting British historical items. In memory of our Father who recently passed away, we enjoy a real German meal at the Munich Cricket Club and Biergarten with real German beers and food!
Our next day takes us for a long walk to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. We arrived a bit late, but we are still able to see most of the show and luckily found a local Brit who explained to us all the intricacies of this event.
We return to our AIRBNB apartment and pick my mother and have to head back out to explore the last few places in London that were on our “to do” list. Which is a quick look at Westminster Cathedral where the coronations are held and then off to Harrods for a spot of tea. The full blown tea service at Harrods can run you about $70 USD, so we opted to just order some savory and sweet items from the menu while enjoying our “spot of tea”. A quick walk around the store and a purchase of a souvenir item made our last day complete in London, England!
Our final morning includes transfer to Southampton for our cruise ship as well as a stop at Stonehenge Tour included. A great farewell to England and I hope we can return soon!