Travel Journal: London, England

Seen through the eyes of Vanessa and Beau Clark

We went because: We were celebrating Beau’s 40th birthday.

Hotel recommendations: Grosvenor House, conveniently located on Park Lane.

Tower Bridge, London

Where to eat: Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden was amazing. The ambiance was beautifully unique with a glass ceiling—which retracts in nice weather—that was partly masked by cascading flowered greenery and tiny lights. We chose the prix fixe menu, and there was not one thing we ate we didn’t love. We also went to two of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants: Fifteen and Barbecoa, near St. Paul’s Cathedral. Both were delicious!

Favorite dish on the menu: At Clos Maggiore: the Roasted Duck Foie Gras, the Crisp Confit Duck Leg, or the Hand-Rolled Fresh Pappardella. At Fifteen: the Dorset Crab and the Bocca di lupo.

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: Comfortable shoes. We read that in London you should always be prepared for rain, but during our weeklong stay we ran into only one afternoon shower.

Favorite historic landmark: We both loved Churchill War Rooms.

Local attraction worth a drive-by: It’s more than a drive-by, but get tickets to a play at Shakespeare’s Globe. You can invest in gallery tickets or purchase less expensive tickets to stand in the “yard.” We saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream there and felt transported back in time!

A great experience off the beaten path: There are so many vast parks to walk through. In Green Park, there are pairs of beach loungers to rest in. The parks were quiet and peaceful, even on the day of Prince George’s birth.

TJ London pond

Worth the splurge: A private day tour. Our guide, Richard, explained history, architecture and topography in a manner that was worth every pence! Did you know the lions in Trafalgar Square were made from the melted metal of enemy cannons from the battle?

Not worth the splurge: Novikov, an Italian restaurant. The only thing memorable was the bill.

Something surprising we learned on the trip: Brits are incredibly polite. I’ve never traveled anywhere where locals were kind to everyone, including each other, whether members of the service industry or not. This civility made the trip very enjoyable.

We would suggest this trip to others because: There’s an immense wealth of places to see and things to learn in London. Plus, they speak your language, ever so politely, and the queen lives here! Need I say more?