The second week of our summer holiday involved a lot of travel compared to our first week in the Scottish Borders. After dropping the pup back at home in Inverness, we had a quick turnaround in order to catch the Caledonian Sleeper down to London for a mini-break! I have already written about my sleeper experiences here, but this time we had booked first class cabins (as the cost was comparable with an evening flight and overnight stay in London) using our TwoTogether railcard (this isn’t an ad, I’m just a fan of saving money where we can!) which saved us a 1/3rd on fares.
Travellers in first class get a cabin to themselves, an upgraded travel pack which includes Arran Aromatic toiletries, breakfast served in your cabin or the lounge, and the all-important hot shower in the Virgin lounge upon arrival at Euston station.
After freshening up and dropping off our luggage (top tip – drop off cases at Victoria Coach station rather than the train station – it’s much cheaper!) we had half a day of test match cricket at the Oval. When we arrived it was absolutely roasting (to coin a Scottish phrase) but by 3pm it was bucketing down with rain. The joys of the British weather!
However before the rain came on I did manage to enjoy a Pimms to cool me down in the city heat!
When the rain started we made the decision to leave quite quickly, as studying the weather forecast made it apparent that there wasn’t going to be any let-up. We left and headed to Victoria, which was a favourite area when Mr B and I started going out as I was working there (fun fact: for Girlguiding UK). We visited the spot that we had our first “non-but-really-it-was-a-date” date which was also the place we got engaged and rang all our family and friends. As well as reminiscing on our own lives, it was also very weird to see the masses of new and shiny buildings which had replaced the building sites of 2010! Included in that was a Crosstown Donuts outlet so we treated ourselves – this was a passionfruit and yuzu doughnut and it was incredible.
The next day was spent catching up with friends and taking a walk into the terrace gardens of Richmond. I would have taken photos had we not been chasing three year old Theo around the gardens and raiding the brambles for blackberries!
The last day of our mini-break in London was spent traversing Action, Shepherds Bush and Notting Hill. We started off with 15 holes of crazy golf in Acton Park (which actually was a harder course than we thought!), followed by walking 4 miles east to get to Portobello Road through Holland Park.
Once in Notting Hill we meandered down to Portobello Road, enjoying a coffee and cake stop at Gail’s Bakery.
Our reason for heading to Notting Hill was to catch the evening showing of ‘Dunkirk’ at the Electric Cinema (unfortunately we didn’t make it inside the Distillery – that’s earmarked for another trip!)
With leather armchairs, sofas and even beds, my idea of film-going will never be the same again!
Have you taken a city mini-break recently? We’re always looking for new recommendations!