Long before the wedding plans even began, Steven and I both knew Europe would be the perfect place to spend our first few weeks as newlyweds. After the logistics were sorted, we each chose a country: mine was France & his, Croatia. Northern Ireland was also an absolute must as that's my homeland; my dad was born & raised in a small town in Country Antrim and the majority of his extended family is still there. We couldn't imagine hopping the ocean and not stopping by for a visit. So, when my Aeroplan points whipped up a redeye flight to Heathrow the Monday evening following our wedding weekend, we booked immediately & dreaming up our adventure.
Our time in London was short & sweet - I'm talking a mere twenty four hours! Steven snoozed nearly the entire flight to Heathrow and I watched a bunch of movies in between naps. When we landed, it was late Tuesday morning and holy heck, we were officially honeymooning (!!!)
The Heathrow Express sped us from the airport to Paddington terminal in a quick fifteen minutes and from there, we made our way to our hotel just off Hyde Park. I have a genuine soft spot for boutique hotels and thankfully, my husband tolerably goes along with the often eclectic, usually tiny, always darling spaces. After I found a particularly good rate for the neighbourhood, we checked into the Arbor Hyde Park Hotel, a beautifully restored 19th century townhouse.
We burst out laughing over the coziest of cozy square footage, made ourselves espresso, and ventured back out into the gorgeous August weather in search of much-needed lunch. Steven has some food allergies, the most serious of which being to gluten, so we're extra careful when it comes to dining out. Around a few corners, we found a little English pub with cider on tap and a full GF menu! Hello, good English mash.
Even though London wasn't part of the initial plans, we dedicated some time to mapping out our afternoon & evening amongst a few sightseeing spots - Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben, plus a few hole in the wall cocktail bars. And then, we made a rookie travel mistake. After the previous week of wedding wonderfulness, after fourteen hours of traveling, after jumbling our inner clocks zooming through more than half a dozen times zones, and after filling our bellies with good food, we got back to The Arbor and we decided to take a nap.
I'd love to tell you we woke up an hour later feeling so refreshed, then strolled through London hand in hand, gazing lovingly into each other's eyes. Sorry to disappoint, folks. We actually woke up nearly seven hours later, feeling entirely refreshed, albeit a bit silly. Such is life. After wandering down to the lobby in search of late night dinner options, we decided to grab a quick drink in the lounge.
Turns out, the hilarious group celebrating next to us was the owners (!!!) and their renovation team, whom were all clinking glasses over the first birthday of the hotel's stunning restoration. They heard our Canadian accents, plus a few mentions of the wedding, and the night rolled on from there. We stuck around until the sun was nearly up making friends with these wonderful hosts, who shared terrifying renovation mishaps and asked a billion questions about our wedding day & honeymoon plans. When we finally did make it back to our room, there was a chilled bottle of bubbly waiting for us, compliments of the hotel! It was such a sweet & thoughtful gesture.
Had we planned a bit better, I'd have loved to hop across the street to King's Cross Station and drool over that white steel roof, not to mention pop by Platform 9 3/4! However, we settled in at Searcys Champagne Bar, spent some time scribbling down shared wedding memories in the journal I brought along, then devoured delicious bowls of GF pasta on Carluccio's seemingly outdoor patio. From there, it was a breeze boarding the train (my first ever European rail experience!) and we were Paris bound!
And so, although the London recommendations only total one gem of a hotel & some delicious travel eats, neither of us regret those uninterrupted hours of sleep that overthrew our London day. Planning a wedding takes a lot out of you - it's busy and fun and overwhelming and packed full of really, really good moments. Still, by the time we set off on our honeymoon, Steven and I were both craving some quiet alone time, together. No hard feelings, body + mind, we know you were just telling us what yah really needed.
I really have no idea how I'm to fit the trillion photos we have from Paris into one post. We only spent four days in The City of Light but oh my goodness did we walk and wander and explore. Whether it's one post or two, there'll be Parisienne prettiness on the blog next week!
a note - I (finally) sorted out my fickly account so you can now officially follow Mr and Mrs L on Bloglovin' (!!!)