Dave’s Early Birthday Surprise Trip to London

As I mentioned in my Birthday Adventure post back in July, Dave’s birthday falls on 25th December. Which makes it rather difficult to properly celebrate. This year, however, I was determined to give him an early birthday to remember! So, together with two of our best friends, we headed to London.

I hadn’t told Dave any of his early birthday plans – not even that Jodie and Carl would be joining us! Therefore, I instructed him to pack an overnight bag on the Friday evening and that we’d be having an early start on the Saturday.

We drove over to Evesham station, where we met our fellow travellers, and caught an early train in to Paddington. Jodie, Carl and I had planned the outing in advance and I had written little cards to give the birthday boy throughout the day. This made sure he still had surprises to come once we’d got there!

First on the agenda was breakfast. As usual with any trip or day out, I did a teeny bit *ahem* of research beforehand and found that Regency Cafe had shining reviews. And let me tell you, it certainly lived up to expectations! We all went for a set-menu full English and it was delicious! Thick, juicy sausages lay next to crisp rashers of bacon and grilled tomatoes, along with the tastiest hash browns and a friend egg cooked to perfection. All washed down with a strong cup of tea. Perfect!

Breakfast at the Regency Cafe, on a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Next up: some typical tourist sight-seeing. We caught the Tube to Westminster and walked towards the bridge, catching glimpses of a scaffold-covered Big Ben, the House of Parliament and the London Eye as we did so. We also stopped outside the Westminster Abbey to admire it’s architectural grandeur.

London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Westminster Cathedral, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Westminster Cathedral, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Westminster Cathedral, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Westminster Cathedral, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A British scene, taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Big Ben Clockface, on a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Kings Cross railway station, taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Kings Cross railway station, taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography A surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Despite having a great weekend, Saturday felt extremely busy and the streets teemed with crowds of people. Because of this, the sight-seeing was cut a little short and we hopped back on the underground. We exited at Kings Cross to locate the next early birthday surprise: our accommodation. The Hub by Premier Inn at Kings Cross had everything we needed. Their quirky and modern rooms were ideal for a one night stay and like always, their beds were super comfy! We would 100% stay there again!

After we’d dropped off the bags, we trundled back to Covent Garden. Once we’d admired the stunning Christmas decorations – and realised just how busy London can get! – we found a pub to sit and relax, whilst having a celebratory tipple before the next big surprise.

Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas at Covent Garden, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

For Dave’s main early birthday treat, I had booked tickets to see ‘The Woman in Black‘ stage show in the Fortune Theatre. What can I say about the show, without giving too much away? It was spooky and exceptionally acted. It could have been a little scarier and more could have been done with the stage or lighting, but it was still creepy and worth watching.  If you’re looking for a London show to see, definitely add ‘The Woman in Black’ to your list!

'The Woman in Black' at the Fortune Theatre. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography 'The Woman in Black' at the Fortune Theatre. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography 'The Woman in Black' at the Fortune Theatre. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Knowing a few people who were living or had lived in London, we’d been given plenty of wonderful recommendations. But a restaurant that cropped up more than once was Homeslice in Neal’s Yard. Perfect for pizza lovers addicts like us! We ordered a pizza per couple, both going for half and half toppingsDave and I went for Spiced Lamb, Savoy Cabbage and Sumac Yoghurt on one side, Provisions’ 4 Cheese, JalapeƱo Salsa and Rye Crumb on the other – which was more than enough to fill us up. The pizza was incredible. It had to be some of the best that we’d eaten outside of Italy! The atmosphere also buzzed, giving us even more of a pleasant dining experience.

The Royal Opera House, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography The Royal Opera House, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Neal's Yard Christmas Decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Neal's Yard Christmas Decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Dinner at Homeslice Pizza, Neal's Yard. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Dinner at Homeslice Pizza, Neal's Yard. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Dinner at Homeslice Pizza, Neal's Yard. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Dinner at Homeslice Pizza, Neal's Yard. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Neal's Yard, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Neal's Yard, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Neal's Yard Christmas Decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Next on the agenda was to visit Winter Wonderland, however, we arrived to find even more queues following a day which had essentially felt like queue-central. Feeling knackered and not ready to face another huge crowd, we headed back to the hotel for a drink, with the agreement to make a special trip to visit Winter Wonderland in future.

London City Christmas decorations. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Drinks at the Hub by Premier Inn at King's Cross bar. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Following the good night’s sleep in the Hub, we packed up and checked out. After breakfast, we then caught the tube to visit the infamous Tower Bridge. It looked glorious, standing tall about the River Thames!

Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography The Shard. Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower of London, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls near the Tower Bridge, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

We then wandered our way down to the Blackfriars Bridge, via the Christmas Market – of course, stopping for a Bailey’s Hot Chocolate on the way. The area was a lot quieter and made for a truly enjoyable saunter next to the River Thames.

Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Bailey's Hot Chocolates from the Christmas Market near the Tower Bridge. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Bailey's Hot Chocolates from the Christmas Market near the Tower Bridge. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

There were a few showers as we strolled but there was mostly sunny intervals, which made the capital city look gorgeous!

Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Sunday strolls along the River Thames, during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

Before leaving, we nipped to the Doughnut Time at Blackfriars – again, on friends’ recommendations – to collect some goodies to go. Oh my word! These were the best doughnuts I have ever eaten!! Firstly, they were ginormous. Secondly, there was a wide variety of flavours and toppings which was enough to get even a full tummy rumbling – and they had awesome names! Thirdly, they tasted divine. Dave and I bought a box of four – Top L-R: Bellatwix Lestrange & A Very Terry Christmas, Bottom L-R: P.I.G. Actually & Lindt Eastwood – and ate two on the train, then demolished the last two at home.

Incredible Doughtnut Time doughtnuts in Blackfriars. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Incredible Doughtnut Time doughtnuts in Blackfriars. Photo taken during a surprise birthday trip to London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

It was then time to head back to Paddington to go home. I think that it’s safe to say that Dave had a blast on his early birthday surprise in London! It was also another fabulous adventure with two of our amazing friends and I now can’t wait for our annual New Year’s break, this time in the Lake District!

P I N  F O R  L A T E R . . .

A Weekend in London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography Christmas Time in London, UK. - Amy Tinson Photography

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