Since we were already planning a trip to Ireland for a December wedding, my family jumped at the opportunity to head over to England to spend an extended Christmas holiday with family. A 10ish-day trip somewhat quickly turned into a two-and-a-half-week trip and with every call from my mom (“Are you ok with leaving on the 22nd?” Yes. “Would it be possible to leave on the 20th?” Yes. “If we left on the 18th, could you make that work with your schedules?” Um, yes.) I got more excited to spend a little more time across the pond.
We stayed outside London in Tunbridge Wells, but took advantage of everything we could see with a few train rides into the city. Although I’d been to London before, I got to see Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and the changing of the guard for the first time. I love revisiting places because there’s always so much more to see!
We walked so much even though we took trains and the Underground to get some places. I think one day we walked nearly 10 miles. It’s my favorite way to see a city, though – to take everything in and see all the small details in between two places. Plus, it balances out the generous amounts of eating and drinking we treat ourselves to on the trip. Mitch and I also like to stop in random shops and restaurants along the way to experience all kinds of places we might not have found in a Google search. We’ve discovered some of the best food and gifts to take home this way!
Our family’s Airbnb in Tunbridge Wells was amazing, too. It was set on top of a hill overlooking the main town area which was a beautiful sight, and only a short walk to shops, food and the train. We went food shopping at Marks & Spencer and had breakfast at Basil. We grabbed drinks at The Duke of York and also ate a cafe lunch in the Pantiles. And, somehow, we scored a cozy corner table at Sankey’s Public House on Christmas Eve before having a proper Christmas Day lunch at The Beacon.
I left my nice camera in America took a few photos here and there on my phone, but honestly, I kept it put away a lot while we were out (also to save battery) and it was really nice to just soak it all in. We got lucky with very few rainy days and were really able to cover a lot of ground. Christmas definitely wasn’t the same abroad – in a really good way – and before we knew it (cough, Dec. 26, cough) we were up, up and away again for a quick puddle jumper over to Dublin for round two!