We stopped at the Banker Mansion House, located on the north bank of the Thames, between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge. It is a comfortable, cozy pub; perfect for a relaxing night or catching up with friends. Sit next to the window and you can look out on to the Thames. Our quick break turned into an all night drinking affair. We never made it to the Tower Bridge that night, but we did beat our jet lag!
We visited some amazing places while in London. There is a market called Borough Market, located right next to the London Bridge underground stop. If you are in London, you should definitely take a few hours to hit up this place. The Borough Market is one of the most renowned food markets. There is everything from local British food to international delights. In the Christmas season, mulled wine is served everywhere. You can fill up a cup of sweet, warm, spiced wine and walk through the covered outdoor market, sampling French cheese, German meats, infused olive oils, and local cuisines. There is wine sampling, where you are more than welcome to fill up your glass with Prosecco, Cabernet, or rosé for only a few English Pounds.
If you have the chance, visit Covent Garden. There are tons of shops, restaurants, pubs, markets, and events here. During the Christmas season there is a 60 ft tree lit up with thousands of lights, massive decorations that appear to be floating above the crowds, and Christmas lights, dangled throughout. It is easily one of the most beautiful and festive places to be around Christmas. Hanging out with my British friend, it was the perfect place to catch up, enjoy some drinks, and enjoy the festivities.
For our fourth and final day, we decided to visit the seaside town of Brighton. All morning we contemplated between visiting Oxford and Brighton. We decided to go to the train station to see how much the tickets were and when the trains left. Then we would decide where to go. Tickets to Brighton turned out to be fairly cheap, but we only had a couple of minutes before the train left. Running through the station, we made it on the train 30 seconds before it departed! Travelling through the English countryside, medieval castles are scattered throughout fields and small villages, before the landscape changes to coastal. Arriving in Brighton, we walked the cobblestone streets to the ocean. It was a beautiful sun-filled, but chilly day. We explored the Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion, and the small historic streets, before catching our train back to London.
It was a quick, but brilliant trip. In four days, we visited historic landmarks, sampled local foods, drank real ales and mulled wines, and visited with some amazing friends. It was exactly what I needed.