London: Getting There

My dad passed away last year. He wasn’t much of a traveler (I can still hear him saying, “I did enough traveling in Vietnam.” I won’t argue with that!). But he did encourage the rest of us to travel.

In the weeks after his passing, one thing my mom and I did was plan a trip to London. For us, it was something to distract ourselves, but also something to look forward to.

I had been to London when I did my semester abroad during my senior year of college–something that both my mom & dad helped me accomplish. It was a life changing experience. Now I was going back 13 years later!

My mom’s international travel is limited to Canada and Tijuana, Mexico. Because I live 6.5 hours away, I didn’t want to put her on a separate flight–plus we wanted to travel together, so I drove from Wisconsin down to Fort Wayne, Indiana where she lives.

Flying Delta, we left Fort Wayne and connected in Detroit for our flight to London Heathrow. The flight left Detroit at 11pm. I thought we would be able to go right to sleep, but the flight attendants served a snack, then a full meal, and then ran a noisy duty-free cart down the aisle. Enough already!

Finally about two hours in to the flight, they dimmed the lights and let us sleep. We awoke to the pretty green English countryside below us and landed at Heathrow about 8 hours after leaving Detroit.

I had heard that passport control at Heathrow could be a mess. Stories of people waiting 1-2 hours to get through had been reported. We had none of that. We exited the plane, got our luggage, and breezed through passport control in about 30 minutes.

We opted to take the tube (the subway) from the airport into London. It takes longer (up to an hour), but it’s cheaper and I wanted to give my mom the experience. We got our Oyster card at the airport and hopped on the tube.

Our hotel is located in the Pimlico neighborhood of London–easy access to everything in central London. From the airport, we took the Piccadilly Line to Earls Court. There we switched to the District Line to Victoria where we changed to the Victoria Line to Pimlico. Then it was just a short walk to our hotel. I was glad to see my London tube knowledge came right back to me from my college days!

Based off of recommendations in Rick Steves’ book and Tripadvisor, we stayed at the Luna Simone Hotel at 47-49 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 2BB.

What an excellent choice! It’s cozy, the rooms are clean, beds are comfortable, friendly staff, and a traditional English breakfast is included with your stay each morning.

If you’re going to be spending most of your time exploring London, then you really don’t need an opulent hotel room. Save your money and stay at a reliable and friendly place like Luna Simone.

Now that we are checked in, it’s time to explore London!

For more London photos, check out my Flickr album.

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