London Travel Diary

 

Three weeks ago my dream of traveling to London, UK became a reality. I have shared bits and pieces of the trip on my Instagram feed and want to share more about the experience here on the blog. This was a trip two years in the making and I'm so happy that I had the chance to travel with one of my best friends, LaDonna Marie. It was actually something that we wrote about doing in our vision journals and promised that we would do together. We had the chance to truly enjoy the beauty of the city and the weather was just perfect for all the walking that we did.

Getting There

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

I live in Southeast Georgia and a few years ago, LaDonna relocated her family to Mississippi. So in order to catch a flight to Europe together we had to meet up in Atlanta. Once reunited at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, we were on our way to adventure in London.  I was very excited and nervous to fly since it was my first time on a plane in over 20 years. We lived in Germany for a good portion of my childhood and returned to the US when I was 10 years old. I always knew that my first trip back out of the country would be to Europe. Delta Airlines was amazing. Everything about the airline felt safe, reliable, and incredible attention was paid to service. I can't wait to fly with them again. 

 

Arrival 

Heathrow -London Airport

       Luggage: Rockland  (similar) 

Since we flew out of Atlanta, GA overnight it seemed like it took no time at all to arrive in London. I loved the view from our window seat. I was awakened by the light from other passenger's windows and felt refreshed by the beautiful green and water below. Taking the Heathrow Express we arrived at Paddington Station within 15 minutes where we purchased Oyster Cards for the underground trains/trolleys. We hopped on a train which took us directly to the Tower Bridge District only a few minutes from our hotel. 

Hotel

The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel

I was very impressed with the modern appeal and elegance of our hotel. Everyone was polite and greeted you at the door with warm smiles. The room was warm and cozy but still very spacious. I'm in love with the sleek black and steel bathroom. There was plenty of lighting for doing hair and makeup. The best part was the three-head shower that felt like a massage! (sorry, no photo). 

       Robe: Kate Spade (similar)

Day One Sight-Seeing

After checking into the hotel, we immediately freshened up and made our way to Tower Bridge which was only about a five minute walk. It was quite crowded but we made our way over the bridge to do a little shopping for souvenirs and do some people watching along the River Thames. After about an hour of aimlessly wondering around, we stumbled upon the London Bridge which looped right back around to the Grange Hotel. Here are a few pics that were snapped of this lovely location.  

 

Day Two Sight-Seeing

Buckingham Palace + Big Ben

Shortly after arriving and sharing that we landed safely, a friend of LaDonna's from Georgia actually reached out via Facebook to let us know that she was now living (yes, LIVING) in London and wanted to give us a tour of the city. She was so kind to take a full day to show us around and made certain that we had an amazing experience. There was no stone left unturned. My favorite stop was definitely Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth II resides and Westminster Abbey, which is where Prince William and Princess Kate married. Along our stroll we took in sights of the London Eye and Big Ben.


Harrods

Shopping & Afternoon Tea  

Our friend & tour guide, Ann took us to Harrods one of the largest and most famous stores in the world. After taking in all the beautiful high-end fashion, we were treated to a lovely “English Afternoon Tea”. It was very pretty and the smoked salmon sandwiches were soooo good! 

     

Picadilly’s Circus + Chinatown

Some how we maneuvered through the crowds at Piccadilly's Circus and made our way The National Gallery and Chinatown. Taking a few pics along the way, of course. 

Diva's Of Color Conference + Award Ceremony

After all of that exploring we attended the 2018 Divas of Colour Conference. The theme for this year was “Mind Your Mind”. Breaking the stigma of mental illness and inspiring healthy living...mind, body, & soul. My bestfriend won an award for "Author of the Year" along with many other winners & speakers in categories ranging from the arts, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship. I enjoyed all of the speakers and stories resilience from the attendees. 

     

Meeting a Member of Parliment, Dawn Butler was a highlight of this trip. She invited LaDonna and I to parliament the day after the event but we had to catch a early flight back to the United States. Ms. Butler was a phenominal speaker and incredibly kind. 

Phenomenal Women Pictured Above (left to right) Nusrat Zamir, Shelly Carpenter, Dawn Butler (MP), and LaDonna Marie. 

     

London was so amazing! I’m truly thankful for traveling grace and the experience of meeting so many lovely people along the way. I hope to visit again soon with my children. 

I appreciate you taking a look at my London travel diary!

 

xo,

Shelly C.  

P.S. Tell me....

What’s your dream vacation? Have you even been to London?