You all know I don't have wanderlust; I do enjoy traveling and love experiencing new countries and cultures, but the need to fill my passport with exciting stamps just isn't something that drives me. Maybe it makes sense, then, that I'd just as soon take a luxurious staycation as journey to a place I've never been before. That's basically what our honeymoon was, and it was glorious.
Okay, Norfolk was new to me, but it wasn't quite an exotic vacation. (I promise I didn't take those lovely days for granted! Visiting Sandringham, seeing the seals, and walking on the beach with my husband was exactly what we wanted for our first days as newlyweds.) The last night of our honeymoon was spent in London - it's home sweet home for both of us but we definitely considered ourselves still on holiday and we behaved accordingly! August 29, my last full day in England before flying back to DC, was also my birthday, so we might have gone a bit overboard...
After driving from Norfolk to Suffolk with Jon's parents on Thursday morning, stopping for lunch in the village where Jon's father grew up and my in-laws were married, Jon and I dashed for the train and made it back to London around in the late afternoon. We headed straight for King's Cross, which has been completely transformed since I lived there in 2009, and checked into our hotel. Jon told me he wanted to find somewhere for us to stay - that's usually one of my jobs - and he booked us into the Great Northern Hotel right next to the station. I have to admit it's not what I would have picked because I'm not so trendy, but was amazing! I've never been happier to have been shoved out of my Royal Borough bubble.
The Great Northern Hotel, designed by Lewis Cubitt, a great architect of Victorian London, was opened in 1854 and was one of one of London's first great railway hotels. However, prior to the recent redevelopment of King's Cross, the Grade II-listed building had fallen into disrepair. It's since been completely renovated and returned to its original glory - but with the most modern touches! Jon's favorite thing about the hotel was that every hallway boasts a fully-stocked pantry, complete with the fanciest Nespresso machine I've ever seen plus a million different kinds of tea, several candy jars, and a delicious Victoria sponge cake. We'd brought a bottle of our wedding champagne to London with us, so you bet we had ourself a little pre-dinner party in our room overlooking St. Pancras!
Dinner was my treat: I'd made us reservation at Hawksmoor, one of the best steak restaurants in London. We went to the Seven Dials location; we started with drinks at the bar - I had a Champagne Charlie and Jon ordered a Hawksmoor Collins - and were seated late enough that we missed the tourist and theatre crowd. Since it was my birthday, our honeymoon, and the last night we'd be together for another 4 months, we decided to totally splurge on our meal. Be prepared to drool, because I'm going to tell you exactly what we ordered! Everything was absolutely delicious.
Jon agreed that we should start with seafood since our main course would, obviously, be steak, so we shared the roast scallops with white wine and port as well as the smoked salmon on soda bread. We split a melt-in-your-mouth ribeye, the buttered greens, and the tomato salad; Jon wanted the beef dripping fries and I wanted the mac and cheese, so we got those too. All of that was washed down with a 2011 Masciarelli Montepulciano, red and rich but not too heavy. As we finished the bottle, our sticky toffee pudding came to the table accompanied by a birthday surprise! We ended up making friends with the couple at the next table over - in a stunning coincidence, it was the woman's birthday that day, too, and they were getting married the following weekend! It was such a wonderful evening.
My flight the next day wasn't until 4:20pm but we had to check out of the hotel by 10am, so I scheduled a mini massage for myself that morning at 10:30 at The Sanctuary. While I was there, Jon ran up to his flat in north London to pick up some things we'd need for his visa application, and then we met for lunch on Eat Street by the King's Cross redevelopment. We sat by the fountains in the sun for an hour, reliving our favorite memories from the past two weeks, and then made our way to the Picadilly line towards Heathrow.
It was the perfect end to my wedding trip. Needless to say, this isn't the kind of holiday we can afford often, but I can't wait to enjoy another staycation in London with Jon - maybe for our anniversary? That's a hint, darling, if you're reading this!