An Evening in London

We arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport shortly after 5:15p and by 6:00p we were on the Underground’s Piccadilly Line into the city. We left our checked bags with British Airways and only had backpacks for our short overnight in the city.

Piccadilly Line Train at London Heathrow Airport

After making a quick train change at South Kensington, we found ourselves emerging from the Westminster station and getting our first look at Big Ben at 7:00p sharp. Since this was my first time in London it was pretty neat to step out of the station and come face to face with one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

Piccadilly Line Train at South Kensington Station
Big Ben as seen from the Westminster Tube Station

We strolled around the area for a few minutes and I grabbed some photos of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye.

a large ferris wheel next to a body of water
a clock tower in Big Ben
a large clock tower in front of a large building
a large building with a statue and a clock tower with Palace of Westminster in the background

Leaving the Houses of Parliament behind, we strolled south on Millbank towards our hotel for the night, The Westminster London Curio Collection, where we checked in and dropped off our bags.

a building with glass doors
a bed with white sheets and black pillows

Free from our bags, we left the hotel just before 8:00p and headed along Horseferry Road and Buckingham Gate towards Buckingham Palace, passing a number of fun looking pubs and impressive buildings along the way. There was also a Corgi statue which Mrs. ATX Jetsetter loved.

a group of people standing outside of a building
a statue of a dog on a platform

We arrived at the gates of Buckingham Palace just as a light drizzle started to fall. We walked around for a few minutes and I grabbed some photos of the Palace and the Victoria Memorial.

a black gate with gold decorations on top
a fenced in front of a large building
a group of people standing in front of a large ornate gated building with Buckingham Palace in the background
a statue of a woman with an angel on top of a pedestal with Victoria Memorial, London in the background

From Buckingham Palace, we started our walk along The Mall and the light drizzle turned into a full blown summer thunderstorm.

a road with statues and trees
a wet road with trees on the side

It was dry(er) underneath the trees lining The Mall so we scurried beneath those and pulled out our phones to formulate a plan. I did some searching on Google Maps and found some open pubs on the nearby Pall Mall. With the rain continuing to fall we decided to just make a run for it and arrived at The Red Lion, Crown Passage, soaking wet.

The Red Lion Pub Exterior Crown Passage London

We enjoyed a pint and struck up a conversation with a group who were in London for the weekend from Liverpool. We talked about our various travels and they declared, in no uncertain terms, that San Antonio was the worst place they have ever visited in a way that would have made Charles Barkley proud.

Pints of beer at the red lion pub crown passage london

After 30 minutes or so in The Red Lion, the rain had stopped and we bid adieu to our new friends from Liverpool. We walked through the streets of St. James and eventually made our way to Piccadilly Circus.

Buses at the Corner of Jermyn and Regent Streets near Piccadilly Circus

The intersection was packed with people taking photos of the large electronic displays and watching the various street performers. It felt like a more subdued version of Times Square in New York.

Signs at the Intersection of Piccadilly Circus in London
a street with cars and buildings
a crowd of people on a busy street

Crossing through Piccadilly Circus, we walked along Shaftesbury Avenue through the Theatre District and past the entrance to Chinatown. By this point it was after 9:00p and we were starting to get hungry so, we made a left on Dean street and strolled through Soho in search of something to eat.

a street with people and lanterns
a group of people outside of a building

We looked up a couple of highly rated fish and chips shops but all of them had an insanely long wait, which is what happens when you try and get dinner in London on a Saturday night. Ultimately, we found a small shop on a side street called Hobson’s that had available seating.

Hobson's Fish and Chips shop Soho exterior

We ordered at the counter and our food was brought out to the table a few minutes later. I’m not sure if we just got the last of a batch or what but it wasn’t particularly fresh. The fish was fine but the fries were lukewarm and lacked crisp. Though Mrs. ATX Jetsetter said that the onion rings were very good.

Fish and Chips with a side of Onion Rings from Hobson's Soho

Full from dinner, we started slowly making our way back towards the hotel. We went the long way and first went through Chinatown which was bustling with people, even more so than in Soho.

a street with red lanterns and people walking around
a crowd of people walking through a street with a archway with Yokohama Chinatown in the background

At the south end of Chinatown we found ourselves in Leicester Square. Mrs. ATX Jetsetter stopped here to grab a snack of mini churros from a street cart which she snacked on as we walked around The National Gallery on the way to Trafalgar Square.

We stayed in the square for a few minutes and did some people watching which was highly entertaining. The best was the couple, who were there with friends, that decided to go swimming in the fountain. They were in the fountain for at least 5 minutes and nobody seemed to bat an eye.

Trafalgar Square London at Night

It was almost 11:00p by the time we left Trafalgar Square and made our way down Whitehall towards Parliament Square and our hotel. We passed by the entrance to Downing Street and the King Charles Street Arch before finding ourselves face to face with Big Ben, where we had started only four hours earlier.

King Charles Street Arch at Night in London

We decided to take the back streets to our hotel and passed in front of Westminster Abbey which was lit up in red.

a large building with a large stone structure at night
a large building with red lights

Mrs. ATX Jetsetter was still holding on to her cup from the food cart as we hadn’t seen a single trash can since leaving Leicester Square. We made it all the way back to our hotel before finding one which I thought was odd, though the city didn’t seem especially dirty. I would later research and find out that all trash bins in central London were removed due to the IRA bombings in the early 90’s and only a few of them have been returned to service.

We arrived back at The Westminster and fell asleep just before midnight. After a few hours of sleep we were out of the door at 6:30a and in our Uber towards Heathrow Airport. We didn’t want to mess with the Underground that early in the morning and the Uber cost a reasonable $45. With that, our time in London had come to a close.

Uber to London Heathrow Airport


London is one of the world’s great global cities and I’m honestly surprised it took me so long to make it for a visit. While I feel that we were able to cover a lot of ground on this quick overnight, there are many more things that I want to see and do. A longer trip to London is definitely on our list and I can’t wait to return!

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