Tower Bridge

Travel Journal: London

Seen through the eyes of: Cheryl Payne

Who went: My friend Jennifer Poche and I 

We went because: Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, her 70th anniversary on the throne, and we wanted to join the celebrations. We also won grandstand tickets to Trooping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade. We could not pass up the opportunity. 

Trooping the Colour with Prince Charles

Hotel recommendations: We stayed at a wonderful flat in the Chelsea neighborhood. The two-bedroom/two-bath flat had a full kitchen, making it easy to have breakfast in the morning and snacks and a cocktail in the evening. Plus, we were able to have our own rooms and spread out. The Tube station was a short walk away, and many neighborhood restaurants were nearby. 

Where to eat: We love a pub! Our favorites were The Red Lion and The Hereford Arms. 

Favorite dish on the menu: Fish and chips and a pint of beer make for a delicious dinner. Just no mushy peas! 

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: Comfortable walking shoes! London is a walking city so be prepared to walk everywhere, even when taking the Tube. We walked about 50 miles in six days. Also, a light rain jacket. The weather changes frequently and rain is always a possibility.

Jennifer and Cheryl at St. George’s Chapel

Favorite local attractions: The Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, the British Museum, and Westminster Abbey were some of our favorite attractions. Buckingham Place is also a favorite, but access was limited due to the Jubilee. Fortunately, we both had toured the palace on previous trips. 

Favorite thing we did: Attending Trooping the Colour was by far our favorite thing. We were lucky to have seats in the grandstand to watch the festivities. An amazing military parade held for over 250 years, Trooping the Colour is the queen’s birthday parade and this year kicked off a weekend of Platinum Jubilee activities. Prince Charles inspected the troops, with Prince William and Princess Anne riding alongside him while members of the royal family watched. The parade featured 1,400 soldiers and 200 horses, and a massed band of 400 musicians performed and marched. The Royal Air Force fly-past finale featured 70 aircraft in recognition of her majesty’s 70 years as queen. While we were disappointed the queen did not attend due to mobility issues, we did see three future kings and two future queen consorts! 

Cheryl in a classic red phone booth

A great experience off the beaten path: A short train ride from London, we spent one day in the town of Windsor, touring Windsor Castle and St. George’s Chapel.  

Worth the splurge: The entire trip is a splurge but well worth it. 

Something surprising we learned on the trip: Even in England, sometimes a language barrier exists! 

Insiders’ tips: Use the Tube, London’s subway system. It is incredibly easy to use and can take you anywhere you want to go. 

We would suggest this trip to others because: London has something for everyone: history, architecture, museums, theater, sports, shopping. There is so much to do and see.

This story originally ran in the August 2022 issue of inRegister.