“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” – William Shakespeare
Raise your hand if you’re the worst blogger ever. (Raises own hand)
I completely forgot to post the last post in the Keeping up with Jacqueline: Great Britain series… I was scrolling through the back end of my blog and found this post with all the pictures ready to go, all it needed was for me to actually write the post. Last year was rough so I’m giving myself grace, but one of my goals for 2021 is to blog more. (Heaven knows I have enough content for it, it’s just finding the time to sit down and do it!) So, we’re gonna play catch up and talk about my final day in London!
This day was so bittersweet. It had been a very long and very fun trip, but I was exhausted. We had gotten up super early for our sunrise bridal session and I could barely keep my eyes open. To be honest I hadn’t slept that much the entire trip partially because I’m an insomniac and partially because I just didn’t want to miss a thing. But even as tired as I was I wasn’t ready to go home. There is so much I want to see and do in England and one week just isn’t enough time to even put a dent in my list. But in hindsight, while this trip was far too short for my liking, it gave me so much clarity.
I want to spend as much of the rest of my life as possible in England. I’ve already begun building my life and making decisions that will allow me to be able to go back and forth as much as possible. My mom and I are trying to plan a trip over there as soon as we’re able to… AND my Mom has decided to see if she still qualifies for dual-citizenship! I am so excited to spend more time on the other side of the pond in the coming years, getting to explore my family’s home and the place they loved so much!
After we got back from our last shoot with Sarah we had one last delicious breakfast (still dreaming about those perfectly flakey croissants) and then we loaded up the van to head back to London! Annie and I got a much-needed nap on the drive back and after a quick stop at the hotel to drop our bags with the concierge we hopped on one of those cute, red double-decker buses and headed out to explore London!
Annie and I broke off from the rest of the group and walked through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to the Palace! This was definitely my favorite part of the day. Hyde Park is so lovely and so huge you can forget you’re in the middle of a city. On my next trip, I would love to spend a whole afternoon in the park with a latte and maybe a book to read. And Kensington Palace was amazing! It’s stood since the 17th century and has been home to so many members of the Royal family- one of the most notable residents being Queen Victoria! Definitely coming back for a tour next time (And another slice of Victoria Sponge Cake!)
For the 2nd time during the trip, I almost cried at Buckingham Palace. I Facetimed my mom while I was standing at the Victoria Memorial so she could see Buckingham with me. It was crawling with other tourists so next time I’m going to get up with the sun to come shoot some of these iconic locations! But even with all the people and cars, it was so cool to get to see the Palace!
We had to do a few super touristy things too! Annie and I popped over to the other side of the Thames and went up on the London Eye! It’s definitely a bit pricey, but the view is incredible and I would definitely recommend doing it! Also- am I the only one that thinks Big Ben looks kinda creepy in all that scaffolding?
After we rode the London Eye we jumped back on a double-decker tourist/guided bus and went in search of some Harry Potter Filming locations! We rode past St Paul’s and through the West End, where the tour guide told us that Prince Charles’ favorite show is The Lion King (“Oh, I just can’t wait to be King…”)- not sure if that’s actually true, but he got a good laugh from everyone!
Fellow Harry Potter fans- does this look familiar to you? It should. Because this is the leaky cauldron from Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone! It’s now a dentist’s office- which is nowhere near as exciting…
Annie and I met up with Jana for dinner that evening and we all stayed out way too late. I got back to the hotel and had to re-pack my suitcase (I bought way too many souvenirs and had to buy a 2nd suitcase from TK Maxx… in my defense though, most of it was for my family and not for me!) and then I crashed into bed.
I’m going to be totally transparent with you… I was an anxious mess the next morning. (Just in case you haven’t read the rest of my posts about the trip- this was my first time leaving the US and I was all by myself) I woke up at 6 am and couldn’t get back to sleep (even though I was so tired I tried to wash my hair with face wash…), and just stared at the ceiling picturing scenarios that all ended with me not being able to get on the plane home, or customs not letting me back into the US, being detained at the airport security checkpoint, or getting totally lost on the train to Gatwick and missing the flight.
So I did the only thing I knew to do… I packed every single liquid in my checked suitcase, so I wouldn’t have to worry about metric conversion and having stuff taken away from me, paid over a hundred dollars so a cab would drive me to Gatwick and I wouldn’t have to mess with the train, and tried not to throw up from anxiety while I waited to go through security.
And of course, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be! I had to wander the terminal for a while (I took the opportunity to buy a few last-minute gifts in duty-free) because they didn’t give me a gate number until it was time to board the plane. When it was finally time to board they made me check my carry-on bag (ugh) and charged me for that (of course), but once I was finally on the plane my anxiety calmed!
It was one of the calmest, most beautiful plane rides I’ve ever been on! I got a peek at Cornwall and Wales as we headed towards the Atlantic- so beautiful!! I can’t wait to come back and explore both of those places next time!!
Follow along on the rest of my trip to the UK