I arrived at London Heathrow at around 11 a.m. on Sunday and went straight to the tube to head to King’s Cross Station. The underground system in London is quite extensive and amazing compared to what we have in Canada! Within 45ish minutes I arrived at King’s Cross Station and headed for a brief walk over to Euston Station, from where I was going to take the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness later that night.
Since I did bring two pieces of large luggage and had about 8 hours to kill in London before the train departure, I had my luggage stored at Euston Station for a hefty fee (but well worth it!). Once the luggage was securely stored I decided to head out and explore London by foot.
Walking through China town around Chinese New Year is one of my favorite activities. The streets were filled with people and decorated absolutely beautifully to ring in the year of the dog. The smells were so tempting but I had my heart sat on a Sunday Roast later that night so I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. From Chinatown I further walked towards the Trafalgar Square area and found some pretty flower decorations for Valentine’s Day.
The rose arrangement was part of some of the beautiful decorations at Burlington Arcade (a very pricey little mall). From there I decided to continue walking past Buckingham Palace further towards Kensington Palace. I have not been to Kensington Palace in over a decade and forgot how far of a walk and vast of a park there is surrounding this fabulous area! I thought that maybe I was going to be lucky enough to actually see Kensington Palace but of course like most Royal Residences in England the opening hours are restricted to very specific times of the year (Meghan, Harry, William and Kate actually reside in the palace!).
Time just seems to fly by when you are walking for hours exploring a city and new surroundings. Before I knew it I was absolutely starving and decided to head back towards the King’s Cross area in the early evening. Thanks to Google and TripAdvisor I found a small locally owned pub that was supposed to offer a decent Sunday Roast. Sadly a lot of the pubs in London are now part of big chains and have lost a lot of their traditional charm! The Harrison Gastro Pub was completely packed and I ordered the lamb roast that came with potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, and some vegetables in a rich gravy. The nice thing about this is that the food comes out super quickly and was piping hot! I would highly recommend this place. You know it is a local gem when everyone around you speaks British English!
After dinner I headed back to Euston Station to get settled in the first class lounge. The Virgin first class lounge at Euston was a complete disaster unfortunately. It was quite filthy and there was actually a M-O-U-S-E running on the loose! Without further ado I decided to just go for one last walk before picking up my luggage and heading to the platform. Once the platform as assigned you line up outside you wagon and wait for an attendant to take your order for breakfast (options included the full Scottish breakfast, oatmeal, smoked salmon and eggs, etc.!). I opted to try the full Scottish breakfast, of course! Then it was time to jump on the train and get settled for the night. The First Class was definitely well worth it.
I had a private cabin, which included a bunk style bed, a sink, and a sleeper set with a sleep mask, shampoo, soap, body lotion and a soothing lavender mist. The mist was actually really soothing and help me fall asleep (or maybe it was the fact that I was up for 30 some hours at that point?). If you are thinking about traveling to Inverness, the Caledonian Sleeper is definitely the way to travel to Inverness! Please don’t expect this to be a comfortable ride, it is a train after all but it is such an unique and fun experience. The train ride was quite bumpy at times but the movement of the train was quite soothing.
The Scottish breakfast in the morning was delivered right at 7:30 a.m. when I requested it. It included ham, an egg bake, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, sausage, coffee and a muffin. It was by no means a gourmet experience but sufficient enough to get me set up for the day ahead. Breakfast is served on a fold down tray table above your bunk bed, don’t mind if I have breakfast in bed!
This is the first part of my travels through Scotland. Please follow along for future posts.