Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Travel Tuesday: London Honeymoon


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!


















43 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely "Londy-moon" to me! That hotel looks so comfy and inviting!

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  2. So lovely! I'm a huge fan of the new King's Cross, which I got to see unfold while I was living in London. In the last weeks I was there this past summer, I kept going back to Granary Square to bask in the sun and read by the canal!


    A honeymoon in a place you already love seems so natural to me. I'm already dreaming of a Berkshires mini-honeymoon, since we'd probably have to wait several months before our 'real' one.

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  3. Gorgeous hotel! I'll have to check it out on one of our next trips! And so glad you got to splurge on your birthday/honeymoon :)

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  4. Ah, it looks lovely! Hawksmoor steak is delicious! And I'm a big fan of anywhere that offers Malin & Goetz products.. glad you had such a great time xx

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  5. That looks like my kind of hotel :) The hotel we stayed at in London stocked those same toiletries and I loved the Rum body wash!

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  6. When I go down to London my train gets in at St Pancras so I know that area so well. :) I've never stayed at the hotel though- it looks lovely!

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  7. Swanky digs!! Looks like the sweetest birthday/honeymooning celebration!

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  8. this looks perfect!! london is one of my fave places in the world!

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  9. Everything about this post looks amazing! That hotel, those scallops, the coffee machine... you and Jon. It sounds like the perfect way to end a honeymoon//staycation//birthday celebration. By looks of it, I think another London staycation should be in the books for your anniversary too :) xxx

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  10. your meal has me absolutely drooling. I love a good steak!

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  11. Lovely! If you love steak, next time you're in London go to the Popeseye- it's one of London foodies secret steakhouses. x

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  12. oh perfect! and the waiting will make it all the sweeter I bet :)

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  13. it was definitely a splurge - but SO worth it!

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  14. the waitress recommended 300g per person but we got 550 to share and still had leftovers! they were VERY generous...

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  15. ooh I accidentally used one of the coriander ones but I should have checked for rum!

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  16. I don't think I'd ever really noticed the building before at all! that's the magic of London :)

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  17. SO swanky. our room had a Nespresso too! totally spoiled us.

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  18. haha I'm sorry that the food photography is so amateur but I'm glad you get the idea! DEEEEELISH.

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  19. yes, I've heard good things! we don't get south of the river much since I left Clapham, but Jon has friends in Putney so maybe we can all go together some time :)

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  20. I am DYING over your hotel room and the snack bar. And food. Except the steak and wine. You can have my portion of those. ;)


    Also how fun about the couple at the next table!!

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  21. That'd be brilliant! We went to the one in Putney for Valentine's Day last year. (There's one in Olympia as well). Sam ate a steak that was literally bigger than my head! x

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  22. That sounds completely glorious! And you KNOW why I super-extra-heart the (lovely!) pic of you. But I will not say it because I am mature! (pronounced "mah-toor").

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  23. If I didn't absolutely want to go to London already, I do now! Absolutely lovely!

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  24. How wonderful and like our honeymoon, like I said before my husbands birthday is the week after our wedding and we also went to a big steak dinner on his birthday/the last day of our honeymoon!

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  25. Everything here sounds amazing. And now I want scallops with steak even though I just finished breakfast.

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  26. This sounds so lovely! A wonderful end to your wedding celebrations. Aled and I keep meaning to go to Hawksmoor and I can't wait to go! That hotel looks gorgeous. Love the idea of having lots of fully stocked pantries!

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  27. I will go to a steakhouse with you any day if I get all your steak :)

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  28. it was maybe the best mac and cheese I have EVER had in my life. EVER.

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  29. haha don't worry Camila... @Gesci already gchatted me with the same thought :P

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  30. how long is the flight from Hawaii? maybe a bit too far for a weekend jaunt, but...

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  31. I tried a new candy from the pantry - Jon said they used to have them at school... some kind of chocolate and caramel wafer thing? so good!

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  32. Very hard to get anything direct. It would be a full day of travel with a stopover somewhere :p If we end up getting back to Europe in the next couple of years, it will probably be a trip tagged onto another trip so we don't spend 24+ hours on a plane and in airports!

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  33. I am so glad I just ate lunch before reading this or I would be having some cravings. It sounds sooo good. I'm a huge fan of scallops. The hotel looks so crisp and fun!

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  34. This just sounds so perfect!! Honeymoons should be whatever you want them to be, and it sounds like you and Jon created the best experience for yourselves. That meal sounds amazing... mmm I want some gooey mac & cheese now...

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  35. Happyeverafter_BrideOctober 4, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    What a darling hotel room! I have never stayed in anything quite as luxe in Europe as we normally travel budget. From the sounds of it you had a lovely time!

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  36. I love scallops but I don't think I'd ever had them roasted before, just sautéed! they were quite meaty :)

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  37. haha so do we - this was a very special occasion!

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