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For the Royals, Cabinet War Rooms, and Jack the Ripper: London, England “The Basics”

I love a British accent. It makes everything sound so fun. I think this is why I love Lisa Vanderpump so much. 

I mean think about it. No matter if it is an everyday word or a curse word, it just sounds so much classier with a British accent. I wish that were true for my Brooklyn accent as well.  

I have only been to London once but it has left quite a lasting impression on my heart. I went there in 2009 prior to my first visit to Paris. It was in honor of my brother’s graduation from college. I thought it was the perfect way to celebrate; naturally. 

I worked on planning the details for this trip for months. I wanted everything to be perfect. I have to say I even managed to impress myself this time.

Although this trip was nearly ten years ago (I can’t believe it!), the thoughtfulness I put behind my itinerary will serve you just as well today as it did for me back then.

Before you set out for your destination across the pond there are a handful of things you need to know.

The first is a great and I believe a necessary part of keeping costs low and experiences rich; the London Pass. I am a much more well traveled person now than I was then, so this was my first experience with such a pass. I now know to look for them whenever I travel to a major city. Be sure you always do the math before purchasing! This will ensure that you are going to enough attractions on the pass that it is worth purchasing. Otherwise single entry tickets per attraction are a preferred way to go.

The London Pass are sold based on amount of days and whether or not you wanted to include your metro fares as well. That is what I did. I was in town for five days and got a three day pass (they are only available in specific increments). Thus I planned to do actives that were free or not included on that pass the other days. I also took into account places I could walk too, thus saving me from spending money on train fare unnecessarily.

The metros in London are remarkably easy to follow. There are maps everywhere and the lines are color coded. The first time we hopped on we managed to get it right away without a problem. I often wonder when the shoe is on the other foot and tourists are in New York City how they manage to avoid getting lost. Our system is so much more complicated and the stations are way dirtier. It is a much more pleasant and safer ride in London. 

P.S. Don’t look for any trash cans in any metro station like I did. After the terrorist bombing in 2005 where such facilities were used, they were all removed. Must be nice to live in a city where tragedy has a positive impact on daily life. 

The London Pass planning may sound more complicated than it really is. You can easily hop onto their website and check it against the list of places are have your heart set on visiting. Remember a proper game plan ( is the only way to prepare for an epic trip, big or small.

The next important tip, is related to hotels. Location is always the most important aspect (after price) when it comes to finding the perfect home away from home ( I choose to stay at The Grosvenor which was right around the corner from Victoria Station, the main hub of the metro system. It was also walking distance to many places I was going to and I loved that the address had “Buckingham Palace Road” as part of it. I also got breakfast at the hotel restaurant included in my rate which was such a score!

Hotel rooms in Europe are notoriously small so I was prepared for that. Samantha Brown had also properly warned me (and anyone else who watched her shows) to make sure to request air conditioning as well as a shower to ensure you have a room that meets your needs.

A word of caution, you need to take seriously the words written on the street when you are about to cross. The traffic runs opposite as it does here in the U.S. which I knew but somehow kept forgetting. I almost died a thousand times when I would step out onto the street while reading words like “keep left” or “keep right” when it was really already too late. Thankfully drivers in London are more cautious than in N.Y.C. otherwise I wouldn’t be here telling you this tale.

But since I am alive and mostly well, we are about to embark on this magical journey together. Let me show you the London I love and the London I can’t wait to return to!

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