London has easily become one of my favorite cities. There is something about the way the city intermingles with the past so effortlessly that gives it an undeniable charm. So it was no debate that spending New Years Eve in London would be nothing short of pure magic…which it was.
We only spent three full days in the city, including NYE night, so we packed a lot into our time here. The city was also particularly busy it being a holiday weekend, so were intentional with our routes and “must-dos.” I hope my recap and recommendations provide some inspiration for any of you out there with London on your list.
We flew Norwegian Airline out of LAX on a Friday evening. Norwegian is probably the best cheap international airline out there. I plan on writing a separate post soon on how I travel on a budget, so stay tuned for that. But for now, take note of Norwegian Air. I have seen one way tickets to London from LAX as low as $159!!!
We landed in London around Noon on Saturday, which proved to be perfect timing. We grabbed an Uber and made it into the city before evening.
“There is something about the way the city intermingles with the past so effortlessly that gives it an undeniable charm…”
We stayed at The Cumberland Hotel right next to the Marble Arch (eep!) and literally on the corner of Hyde Park. PERFECT LOCATION. This was the first thing we booked and we booked it early (I want to say around May). The gentleman at the check-in desk actually asked us how early we booked the room because our rate was unheard of, especially for NYE weekend.
After settling in, we got ready for our first night out! We took a quick Uber to a cute pub called The Sherlock Holmes, right off Trafalgar Square. It was a busy Saturday night so we were lucky to get a walk-in table in the upstairs dining room (apparently, making reservations ahead of time is a big thing in Europe).
This place is home to the BEST Fish & Chips I have ever had in my entire life. This, paired with the charming vibes and good wine, made for the perfect first meal in London!
Afterwards, we took a walk down Oxford, Regent, & Carnaby Street which were all lit up for the Holidays. It was stunning!
We weren’t prepared for the massive crowds that accompanied these views, but it was the perfect way to end our first night in one of my favorite cities!
We started the next morning with coffee at The Admiralty. I had dined at this cute pub with my sweet husband the year prior and it was one of my favorite spots…definitely a must on your list if you are looking for somewhere to stop in Trafalgar Square.
We then spent that afternoon enjoying tea & pastries on one of B-Bakery’s double decker red buses. I have experienced this tour twice now and it is definitely one of the best ways to experience afternoon tea in the city!
The first time I took this tour with my husband was actually the moment I fell in love with London. I still remember how it felt driving through London’s streets, as places I had dreamed about since I was a child flashed by outside the window…I couldn’t believe I was there, living and breathing it all…
Afterwards, we spent a few hours wandering the city, taking in all the sights of the magical city!
“I still remember how it felt driving through London’s streets, as places I had dreamed about since I was a child flashed by outside the window…I couldn’t believe I was there, living and breathing it all…”
The London Eye
Big Ben – currently under construction for the next few years, so a bit of a let down!
And we of course had to make a quick stop at an iconic red telephone booth!
We ended our self-guided tour with a quick drive to the famous Tower Bridge which sure didn’t disappoint!
And to finish off the night, we dined at one of the most charming Pubs: The Albert. We tried to be intentional with the places we dined at, because we wanted to get a true European experience, rather than dining at regular restaurants with food and vibes we could get back home. It’s worth the extra walk or drive to find places that are unique like this pub! We would often times ask locals for recommendations, so that we could experience “off-the-beaten-path” places too!
We decided to spend NYE morning in one of the most iconic districts in London: Notting Hill.
After wandering the streets for a bit, we stopped for breakfast at Eggbreak, which is home to some of the best brunch food I have ever had! Definitely a must if you are ever in the area.
Our day was short because we spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for our NYE river cruise! Before the cruise embarked, we dined at a Pizza Express on the Bankside pier before grabbing drinks at the Swan which has views of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater!
New Years Eve
London Party Boats 2019
In anticipation of the streets being extremely busy, we had booked tickets to the London Party Boats river cruise months in advance. This was probably the best thing we could have done on NYE in the city. We paid a bit extra for the Jewel of London boat package, which included dinner and drinks in the price.
“It felt like a dream…to be standing in the middle of Big Ben and the London Eye, hearing the echoes of so many different stories standing in one place…”
We had so much fun on this cruise, and met some super fun people! The cruise ended with watching fireworks at midnight from the boat on the Thames River. It felt like a dream…to be standing in the middle of Big Ben and the London Eye, hearing the echoes of so many different stories standing in one place, celebrating together. My heart was overwhelmed…to be there with sweet friends, living the dreams I had as a child…
It truly was the best way to ring in 2019!
Up Next: The One Where We Go to Ireland!
Want more on London? Click here to read on my first trip to the city!