The Boy and I ended up in England this past weekend on behalf of a friend’s wedding. The trip was well worth it and we had a wonderful time.
We departed from Pittsburgh at 5PM EST on Wednesday, the 26th. We connected through Dulles and eventually landed in London at 6AM, London time. Whew. We tried to sleep on the plane. On advice I read in a travel magazine, I actually purchased an eye mask and ear plugs. They did help, but I still did not sleep much.
As we only had a day and a half in London, we pushed right through our jet lag and started the day with a proper English breakfast at Fortnum and Mason, on Piccadilly.
I ordered the ‘English Breakfast Plate’ and enjoyed eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato, and blood pudding.
Blood pudding is essentially a sausage made from primarily pork meat, pork fat, pork blood, oats, barley, and other fillers. It is the half eaten item on the far right of my plate. I have had blood sausage before and this was similar – I wasn’t particularly a fan, but I was glad I tried it. The Boy and I actually both ended up liking the ‘white pudding’ (beside the blood pudding). I believe this is the same as the blood pudding, minus the blood.
This was a pretty fancy spot for breakfast but it was a great way to feel very English, very fast!
The rest of the morning was spent seeing the sites.
We saw Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Harrod’s, and the interior of a cozy, dark pub near our hotel 🙂
Our first night in London, we ventured to Soho and had a delicious Lebanese meal at a super cozy spot, Yallah Yallah. London (similar to any major city) has a ton of wonderful ethnic food, including Indian, Lebanese, etc. We knew we might get more traditional food at our next English destination, so we chose something different in London.
Day two in London brought a trip to the Tower of London and a stop at Borough Market. These two activities may have been my favorites of our time in London. Borough Market was particularly amazing – food stall after food stall. The Boy had a venison burger and I had a delicious grilled cheese sandwich with a freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
Our time in the English countryside was truly special. We were graciously invited to the home of the bride and groom to be, met many kind, warm, wonderfully friendly people, ate delicious food, and took in the splendor of the scenery.
We were particularly pleased with the food – although it may lack the romanticism of Italian food, everything we had was tasty and satisfying. I had an amazing goat cheese and caramelized onion tart at a pub. The Boy enjoyed crisp hot fish and chips, served with mushy peas. I enjoyed tea with toast and jam in the mornings and The Boy enjoyed the English bacon (salty and ‘country ham’ like).
While in the country, we also saw Stonehenge and traveled to Bath to shop and have lunch. (The trip to Bath may or may not have been prompted by accidentally leaving the dress I was to wear to the wedding in the hotel closet in London!).
Our final day of the trip held the most important event of all; the wedding.
The service was lovely, the church small enough to be completely filled with friends and family. After the service, the bride and groom were whisked away in a vintage car as tasty Welsh biscuits were passed around to the guests.
The reception site was a barn set in the heart of the countryside. A cocktail hour held drinks and passed canapés. (I finally sampled Pimm’s – a citrusy gin like liquor. At the wedding, it was served “English-style”, with lemonade and various fruits including apples, oranges, lemons, strawberry, cucumber, and mint).
Dinner was exceptional. The menu was lamb for the men and chicken for the ladies. Apparently, the guy/gal meal idea is a military thing; the groom is a member of the Royal Welsh Army.
The meals were served with local vegetables, which was noted on the menu.
The ladies and gents were also served different desserts; eton mess (a mix of meringue, berries, whip cream) for the girls and sticky toffee pudding for the boys. The sticky toffee pudding stole the show. This was a moist dense brown cake covered in a sweet toffee sauce, served with ice cream. I may be trying to re-create this soon.
The evening continued with dancing, drinks, and conversation.
The following day, we woke up, ate our last English breakfast and hit the road to drive back to the airport and zip across the Atlantic.
Another adventure come and gone…