Lovely London

Last week Tom, Lindsey and I traveled to London to meet up with Grant, who is studying abroad this semester in Rome.

Lindsey spent eight weeks interning and studying in London a few summers back, but the rest of us had never been. She was a fabulous tour guide of this city she knows and loves so well.

We visited many of the typical tourist attractions and I offer you the the following few pictures as proof.

The family on a Thames River cruise…

Thames River Cruise

In front of the Tower Bridge…

Family in front of Tower Bridge

And one of the many, many pictures I took of Big Ben, which I couldn’t get enough of.

Big Ben and London Eye

But I’ll spare you the rest of the landmark photos, which you’ve likely seen a million times. What I really want to share with you is all the everyday beauty I found in London.

A quick note: this post will be longer than my usual posts. I debated whether to spread the London pics over several posts (and I do have one future post I’m planning), but in the end I decided to put most of them here, in one place. 

So what’s so charming about London? In a word: everything. From the accent to the architecture to the black cabs and doubledecker red buses, which you really do see everywhere. Even the names of the Underground Tube stops are charming (Picadilly, Paddington, Waterloo, Chancery Lane, King’s Cross, Covent Garden..).

Let me start with the street where we stayed.

London Street

We rented a flat in the Notting Hill area of London and this was our street.

London Flower Box

This was the doorway of a small hotel a few doors down from us. Our flat was a basement flat, like the window you see behind the railing in the picture above.

My goal was to get some pictures of the flat before we had unpacked and spread our stuff around and messed up the beds, etc. That didn’t happen, but I was able to get a few shots. Despite the flat being in a basement, it was bright and airy due to the high ceilings and lots of white.

London Flat Fireplace

This was the fireplace in the sitting room. It appears not to be a working fireplace due to the outlet and stereo speakers inside. lol. I seriously loved that mirror.

London Flat Master Bedroom

Above is a shot of the master bedroom. One of the owners is an artist, so the flat was filled with original artwork, which was a treat.

London Notting Hill Vacation Rental

Twin gold mirrors (also loved these) in the master bedroom.

London Flat Vintage Chandelier

This was the chandelier over our bed. There were several in the flat similar to this.

Notting Hill Flat Hallway

This was the hallway that led from the sitting room to the bedrooms. We joked that this small child’s bed was for 5’2″ Lindsey. She and Grant actually had a bedroom with twin beds just across from this. There was a stackable washer and dryer in the cupboard you see there.

The flat had a large sitting room with a table, chairs, and sectional. There was also a small kitchen that was perfect for stocking drinks, snacks, and breakfast stuff. I didn’t get any pics of those (big blogger fail) but I did take a picture of these London maps arranged in a tarnished piece of silver, a detail I loved.

London maps in silver

Back outside, this was our street sign at the end of our block.

Clanricarde Gardens Street Sign London

All the street signs in Central London look like this. Here’s another example.

London Street Sign

I’d like to start a movement to get our US street signs changed to this. Are you in? Also, I’m just noticing the greek key pattern in the stonework above the sign. Lovely details everywhere you look.

Another of my favorite things about London…the pubs.

Sun in Splendour Pub London

They’re everywhere and they’re all so inviting.

The Albert Pub London

Earl of Lonsdale Pub

Our favorite was The Champion, near our flat.

London Pub Interior

London Pub

The seats in front of the fireplace were taken or we would have grabbed them. My apologies to the unidentified family below who ended up in my picture.

London Pub The Champion

Another charming feature everywhere you looked…the doorways of London. I could have driven my family mad stopping every three feet to take another picture. Luckily for them I kept moving, but I did manage to snap a few.

Tower of London Doorway

This gorgeous doorway with the aqua door is actually at the Tower of London. The Beefeater guides there live on site, some with their families. What an iconic (and kind of spooky) place to live.

London Hotel

I was taken by everything about this elegant hotel doorway: the lighted trees, topiaries, wooden doors, carvings above the doors, and the Union Jack flying above. Sigh. Every detail perfect.

London Doorway

I couldn’t pass up a picture of this red door.

Charming London Home with shutters and ivy

Or this blue house with shutters and ivy in Notting Hill.

A few more of my favorite shots.

Spring Flowers in London

A field of flowers in bloom in front of Kensington Palace.

London Springtime Street

This shapely brick wall with Cherry Blossom tress in bloom behind it.

London Blue Hour

London Street at Dusk

And a couple of shots of London streets during that gorgous blue hour.

And I’ll leave you with some pictures I took on our last day, as we walked to and from our flat to the Portobello Market. These are all of shops and stalls in Notting Hill.

Portobello Road Notting Hill London

Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Flower Stand

Notting Hill Shop

Notting Hill Bookshop

I hope that wasn’t too much scrolling for you. And I hope you found London as inspiring as I did. Have you been? What was your favorite thing?

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  1. Adore London…I have been there 3 times now, and about to go back in May (unfortunately it’s for a work conference, but I’ll be sure to enjoy as much as I can squeeze in). When I was there last year they were filming scenes from the latest Bond movie, it was quite a thrill to see! Wonderful pics of you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing the beauty and brightening up my Monday! (“Mind the gap!”)

    1. Yes! Mind the gap! lol Enjoy your trip.

  2. Great pics!!!! Looks like such a fun trip. Your family is adorable. Have a great week,

  3. How nice that you were all able to get together! I’ve never been to London, so I appreciate you posting the non-touristy pictures that give a sense of the every day life there.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them, Karen. I love the landmarks, but the everyday life stuff is really interesting and inspiring to me. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Bonnie Schantz says:

    I was in London in 2004, but very briefly. I did the red bus tour. Also had lunch at Harrods and bought some souvenirs. We were on a farm tour the day before in the Cotswald area and stayed at a quaint inn. It was so charming. Thank you for posting these pics of your beautiful family and the areas you enjoyed. It warmed my heart and made me yearn of a return to England.

    1. Bonnie, I hope you get to go back someday! Thanks for sharing your memories with me.

  5. Just the pick me up I needed 🙂
    I spent a summer session at University of London and it was so amazing. I loved the art museums, the Tube, the shopping, and I had the tastiest tuna melt I’ve ever eaten in my life at a pub there.

    1. What wonderful memories, Paula!

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