As if my birthday wasn’t already made perfect by the excessive amounts of free coffee perks, catered lunch at work, and warm fuzzy well-wishes from friends and family, I’m getting possibly the best present ever from my employer today…a free trip to London! Woo hoo!
Well, I mean, it’s not technically a birthday present, but with the timing of it, it sure feels like it. We’ve been planning a trip to do trainings and compliance work for months, and the window that just happened to work best fell right after my 27th. That means my Valentine this year is my very favorite city in the entire world…although I’m choosing to think it’s meant to be Prince Harry. Fate is bringing us together…that ginger cutie can only hold out for so long.
I’m flying out several days before my boss and boss’s boss, and since the flights were cheaper, my hotel room and meals are all being covered by the company for the long weekend. I’m taking advantage of the extra cash in my pocket to splurge on a few favorites, including a trip to the English National Opera, the National Theatre, and a West End production (TBD) mid-week. London theater is outstanding, and some of my favorite experiences from studying abroad centered around the classes and excursions that took advantage of that!
I’m also hitting up a few old favorite museums: the Victoria and Albert and the Sir John Soane Museum…and a few newbies: the Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery! It’s inexcusable that I haven’t visited the NPG before…it’s legit two blocks from where we studied. I’m also hoping to catch the Changing of the Guard because, hi, basic bitch tourist and I’ve actually never managed to attend before.
On the culinary bucket list for the trip: amazing Indian at Dishoom, gorging myself at the Borough Market, enjoying the world’s best fish and chips at the Golden Hind, and getting Ben’s Cookies and Monmouth Coffee at every possible opportunity. Of course, pub-hopping is also at the top of my list…although I’m convinced that doesn’t need planning in advance as there are cute ones on every corner.
We’ll be splitting time between Lloyd’s of London and offices in Surrey, and I’m so excited to show my boss around the city…it’s his first trip to London and he’s actually really looking forward to seeing the sights. In the meantime, tell the Queen to hold onto her tiara, and if he knows what’s good for him, Prince William will hide his kids, hide his wife…because my obsession knows no bounds and I might actually stake out Kensington with a pair of binoculars and my “I <3 KATE” banner.