One of my favorite travel hacks is taking a long weekend when a holiday falls on a Monday. Depending on the holiday, my job will observe it, giving me a chance to travel without burning through my pto. Last year Courtney had a bright idea: “Let’s go to London for Memorial Day weekend!!!”. Anytime I mention taking a 4 day trip overseas, I always hear some snarky ass comment like, “Why would you take such a long trip for such a short time?”. My response? “BECAUSE I CAN.”
So needless to say, I agreed to the trip and we were off to the U.K. We left on a Thursday evening and flew out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. We arrived at London Heathrow on Friday morning around 9 a.m. The line going through customs was ridiculous but we got through and took The Tube to our hotel, Novotel London Canary Wharf, in the very trendy financial district. After showering and relaxing for a bit, we met up with one of our guy friends that came from Germany to hangout. We had a late lunch and cocktails at our hotel’s restaurant/bar, Bokan 37. The bar, restaurant, and rooftop terrace that spreads across the top 3 levels of the hotel overlooks The Docklands and has views of the city. After finishing up there, we decided to go explore. Since I had been to London before and Courtney hadn’t, I suggested we visit my favorite part: Brixton.
Brixton is a neighborhood in South London with a large Afro-Carribean population. It always feels like home. We went ended up at a place called Prince of Wales. They also have a rooftop bar that gives a cool, kickback vibe. The DJ played all of our favorite 90’s R&B/Hip-Hop and the bartenders had a heavy hand. It was a gooooooood time! We ended up eating there as well and getting a little more than tipsy, lol. Friday night ended with us stopping at a supermarket for snacks and drunk singing Toni Braxton songs the whole way back to our hotel haha.
Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to figure our day out. Since Courtney hadn’t been to London before, she wanted to do the tourist thing and “see the sites”. She chose the Plateau for brunch where we ate and listened to a brass band play everything from Beyonce to Outkast. After leaving there, we hopped on The Tube and headed into town. We saw the London Eye and Big Ben before heading to Buckingham Palace. After doing all of that walking, it was well after 5 in the evening and we were tired so we headed back to the hotel. We freshened up, Courtney took a nap, and I met a friend at the rooftop bar. Saturday night we decided to stay in and relax. I wanted to hit the Afrorepublik music festival but the only tickets left were about $380 USD…. and NAH.
Sunday we headed back to Brixton for a little shopping and for brunch at Rum Kitchen. The service was great and we thoroughly enjoyed the fare. Since Sunday would be our last night, we decided to partake in the club scene. My best friend Danielle flew in and met us at our hotel, bringing Nandos with her. That night went to a ‘bank holiday’ party at a Club Fire & Lightbox London. The club had about 4 or 5 rooms with different vibes and music but we stayed in the Reggae/Afrobeats room for most of the night. Danielle had friends in the city so they hosted us well by getting a section and ordering bottle service. We didn’t make it back to our hotel until sunrise.
This was definitely one of my favorite trips from last year. I had so much fun that I didn’t take many pics but there are more to see on my Instagram. If you have questions or a “London moment” of your own to share, please leave a comment. Thanks for reading!