London in 4 Days: Cathedrals, Castles, Cats, and Coffee

So this weekend I did a slightly ridiculous thing and flew to London! I had a couple motivations for this trip: 1) United Airlines status and 2) I mean…it’s London. Our family went last year and I totally fell in love, so it was the perfect weekend vacation destination. A short four days later, I’m back in SF. On the one hand, I have many regrets (#jetlag). But on the other hand, I successfully navigated my first solo international trip and made a ton of awesome memories. Here are a few of the highlights!


My favorite place in London is Westminster Abbey, so that was my first stop (after coffee of course). Not only is it a stunningly beautiful cathedral, it has seriously epic historic and religious significance. In addition to serving as the coronation and burial site for British monarchs, Westminster has held daily worship services for over 1,000 years! I was able to come back for Evensong and it was such a rich, beautiful experience.

Westminster Abbey

A lot of world-changers are buried at Westminster Abbey, including one of my favorite people ever – William Wilberforce. He’s most well-known for leading the movement to abolish slavery in England, but what some people don’t know is that he was part of a group called the Clapham Sect that led the Reformation of Manners in 19th-century England. He worked to transform culture in lots of different areas, and what drove him was his Christian faith. Sadly, you can’t take pictures inside the cathedral, so I can’t show you his grave or his statue. However, I did get a picture in the Cloisters – it offers a glimpse of Westminster’s incredible architecture. I also made it to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor, but again, no pictures were allowed so you’ll have to take my word that it was amazing.

The Cloisters at Westminster Abbey


Speaking of Windsor, on my second (and last full) day in London, I took a quick half-day trip to visit Windsor Castle. I’m currently trying to figure out how I can live in a castle – I’m completely sold on the experience.

Windsor Castle

No pictures were allowed inside, but I did get a picture outside! Pro tip for getting photos when traveling alone: offer to take a picture of them first (if they’re planning to steal your phone, they’ll most likely think twice before handing you theirs). However, that is not a guarantee and London is notorious for pickpockets so always size your potential photographer up and make sure you can outrun them.


Traveling is amazing, but whenever I’m gone I honestly really miss my cat. Fortunately, in London I found a cat cafe!!! At Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, you can enjoy high tea and coffee with 17 cats roaming around that will hang out with you – or ignore you, which is why cats are the best. Side note: it’s really entertaining to see the kinds of people who visit cat cafes…. they’re a little scary. For all my friends who call me the crazy cat lady – I guess this trip was partly about increased self-awareness?

High tea and coffee at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium


Last but not least, I obviously had to explore the coffee scene. I didn’t make it to as many stops as I normally do – first, because I wasn’t there for that long, but also when you’re in England it’s really only polite to drink tea. However, I did find a couple of adorable coffee places (apparently London has a thing for pink cafes): Peggy Porschen and Saint Aymes.

I got to witness a blogger taking pictures in front of Peggy Porschen – I posted a play-by-play on my Instagram story. She was matched to dress the shop and posing in the rain for three professional photographers. One was even fanning her with a menu to generate wind. If you want some entertainment, check out the other blogger photos at these places on Instagram – I guess dressing up to match pink cafes isn’t as abnormal as I thought? Again, I would just like to remind everyone that my photos may be obnoxious but they’re not THAT obnoxious.

In short – my London trip was a total blast and I highly recommend visiting if you haven’t. Fellow travelers, what are your favorite destinations? And does anyone have tips for overcoming jet lag? 

2 thoughts on “London in 4 Days: Cathedrals, Castles, Cats, and Coffee

  1. Haleyyyy,

    This was so cool and very insightful! I haven’t been able to travel international yet, but I’m hoping too. In the meantime, I have been having some adventures at home and it’s been great!

    Awesome post! Thanks


    On Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 12:30 PM Haley’s Comment wrote:

    > haleyholmlund posted: ” So this weekend I did a slightly ridiculous thing > and flew to London! I had a couple motivations for this trip: 1) United > Airlines status and 2) I mean…it’s London. Our family went last year and > I totally fell in love, so it was the perfect weekend” >


  2. Loved reading your experience, Hales! What a bold move! Going all the way out there for a weekend alone. So cool and inspiring!!


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