Happy Friday! Instead of sharing what I wore this past week, I’m providing a glimpse into what I wore on my recent trip to London. And I’ll also answer the reader questions I received about my trip. My week in London with Walkabout Tours was such a meaningful and lovely week!
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How This Works
These are my real life outfits from my own closet. Many of these things are available, but some may not be. When I can locate one quickly I’ll share substitutes and/or more economical options. But if I don’t provide one and you’d like for me to, just ask.
All available items are linked in the captions of the photos. Even if they don’t look like links (sometimes they don’t highlight for some reason), they generally are. So just click through if you’re interested.
A Little Background About My Trip to London
I traveled to London with a dear friend whom I’ve known since seventh grade. But we joined up with my friend Shelly Wildman, who leads Walkabout Tours, and four other women we’d met only on Zoom calls. As the Lord ordained it, the seven of us had much in common and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Shelly puts together small travel groups for women who want to or need to travel alone, and all of her trips include a meaningful spiritual journey (Christian) as well as well-planned and executed touring opportunities. If you’d like to learn more about Shelly and what she offers, I suggest you start with this blog post.
I’ll answer reader questions about my trip as I share my daily outfits from the tour.
What I Wore for My Travel Day
I wanted my travel day outfit to be comfortable, but also to look classy. I packed two pairs of shoes and wore my heaviest or bulkiest pair.
Reader Question: Did you get jetlag? I’d love to know how you handled flying such a long distance.
My Answer: Shelly shared in a pre-trip Zoom call that she takes a melatonin supplement each night for a few nights leading up to an overseas trip. She also takes one right after getting on the plane to fly overseas so that she can sleep on the trip. (We all flew out from separate places on Friday night and arrived Saturday morning.) Then she takes one more melatonin the first night at her new destination. I followed that regimen and it worked really well for me.
I slept as much as I could in a regular coach fare seat on the journey over. But I think the thing that helped me the most was using a black out sleeping mask on the trip. This sleep mask was very comfortable, but it gave me a real black-out effect so that my body’s circadian rhythm could reset. Once we arrived in London on Saturday morning, I got some coffee and we all got out for a good walk in fresh air and sunshine. I didn’t have any trouble with jetlag on the way over.
Coming home was a little different. We needed to stay away for the full 8 hour trip. I think I allowed myself a little nap at the beginning of the journey, but stayed away after that. I didn’t arrive home until late, so I was able to go to bed as soon as I got home. I did awaken fairly early the next morning at 5 a.m. (London is five hours ahead of Cincinnati), but I was fine with that. All this week I’ve felt like it is later than it really is. But other than that I’ve not really been tired.
I think the keys were:
- the melatonin supplement regimen (we took 5 mg)
- the sleep mask for the overnight journey
- staying awake the day of arrival
- getting sunshine the day of arrival
- taking a good walk the day of arrival
- staying awake on the daytime journey home
- patience (“They” say it takes one day for every one hour time difference to recover fully.)
What I Wore After Arriving
When we arrived in London, Shelly had a car to pick up me and my friend Candy, along with one of the other travelers who arrived just before us. The others came in a separate car a little later. We got familiar with the lovely, spacious home Shelly had rented for us in Hampton Court, about a 25 minute train ride from central London. Then I took a shower and freshened up a bit. Once everyone had arrived and freshened up, we walked the short half mile or so to the little town for lunch at a local pub.
The weather was picture perfect almost our entire 8-day stay. The temperatures were in the 60s to 70s, with maybe one spike to 81 degrees, and we had only scattered showers one day. So the clothes I had packed all worked perfectly for me. But I only got to wear my trench coat one evening and the morning we left. And I never needed to wear the sweater I’d taken along just in case.
Reader Question: What did you pack that you didn’t wear or use?
My Answer: I had put so much research and thought into this trip, so I really didn’t take much that I didn’t use or wear. Like I said, I never needed the cardigan sweater I took along, but I could have worn it in place of the trench that one evening. Otherwise, I wore all the clothes I packed. You can see my full packing list in this previous blog post.
I packed extra reading glasses and sunglasses (just in case I lost or broke mine), and I didn’t need them. Otherwise, I think I used absolutely everything I took.
What I Wore for a Walking Tour of London
Sunday our group journeyed into London via the overground train. Shelly had secured us all Oyster Cards, the transportation cards used for train, tube and bus in London, and we quickly learned to use them. Getting around London via their public transportation was easy and even somewhat fun. Everyone uses these modes of transportation, so it never felt scary. One of Shelly’s goals is to help her travelers learn the ropes so they can venture out on their own, as we all did on Thursday.
So Sunday we met up with a guide Shelly had arranged, and took a three hour walking tour of London. It was a lot of walking, but we were prepared for it. We got lunch at a pub, attended an afternoon Evensong service at Westminster Abbey and had a lovely dinner out before traveling back to our home for the week in Hampton Court.
Reader Question: Did you enjoy your Hobo crossbody bag? Did you see any of the sling bags being used? What do you think of those?
My Answer: I thoroughly enjoyed using my Hobo crossbody (and here). It was large enough to carry my small umbrella, my small wallet, my sunglasses and reading glasses, lipstick, mints, hand sanitizer and a snack. It was perfection and I’ll definitely use it again, even for everyday. I did see many people wearing the sling bags and I think they’re a great option. I do like that I can carry my bag as a crossbody, which I did almost always in London, or as a shoulder bag, but maybe you could do that with a sling, too.
What I Wore to Visit Windsor Castle & Tea
Monday Shelly had a driver take us to Windsor for the first part of the day, where we strolled the streets a bit and toured Windsor Castle. I highly recommend taking advantage of the many audio tours available at the historical attractions in London. But we also used private tour guides several times, and they were all invaluable and so enjoyable.
After grabbing lunch on our own in Windsor, we all came back together and journeyed into London via the train. We strolled the streets of the area a bit and then had tea at Braserie Max in the Covent Garden Hotel. It was lovely!
Reader Question: How did your shoe choices work for you?
My Answer: I took three pairs of shoes to London: my On sneakers, my Naot Whetu water resistant sandals and my tweed Ally flats (Use code KAYFLATS for savings on first pair of Ally flats). I learned long ago that it’s always best to rotate between at least two pairs of shoes if you’re doing extensive walking on your travels. I mostly wore my sandals and sneakers on high walking days. But my Ally flats did well the one day I did wear them for touring. And I especially enjoyed having them for our final dinner out on Friday. Oh, and I did wear these socks with my flats and these with my sneakers. I think that was key. And I took my slippers to change into at the house and really enjoyed having them.
What I Wore to Oxford
It’s so hard to choose, but I think Tuesday in Oxford may have been my favorite day. The weather was glorious and the tours were among my favorites. I absolutely loved Oxford and have decided one of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t study there. Ha! As if! But before exploring Oxford, we toured the home of author, teacher and apologist C.S.Lewis. Wow!
I thought my cashmere sweater vest looked appropriately scholarly. Ha! This outfit served me so well that day.
Reader Question: Was it awkward traveling with women you didn’t know?
My Answer: Not at all. The group had met on Zoom three times prior to the trip. But also we all had one very important thing in common: we’re all Christians. And we knew going into the trip that each morning we would gather for a brief devotional time together with Shelly. Those were special times. But Shelly also peppered our meal times with thought-provoking questions that helped us get to know each other nicely, things like, “Who has mentored you?” and “What three words would your closest friends and family members use to describe you?” Everyone was just lovely. Most of us are in the same life stage, too. And everyone except Candy and me had their own bedrooms, and the two of us certainly didn’t mind sharing our spacious room with two twin beds.
What I Wore to the Globe
Wednesday we went back into the city to tour the Globe Theatre. Then we split up to do our own thing until meeting back up for dinner at Maggie Jones’s, which was shut down just a few days later because of a fire. This was the only day I wore jeans, so if I were to say there was anything I packed that I didn’t really need it might be these. Then again, if it had gotten colder I might would have worn them more.
Reader Question: What can you tell us about the fashions you saw in London? What were women wearing?
My Answer: Typically people dressed casually and weather-appropriate, but also a little nicer than here in the U.S. Not that they were dressed “fancy.” I just didn’t see anyone looking sloppy or dressed in sweat pants or pajamas or such, like you do sometimes see here.
That said, I was mostly in touristy areas, so I was undoubtedly seeing a lot of tourists like ourselves as well as Londoners. I did see A LOT of women in dresses with sneakers, just as I’d been told. Again, I’m sure most of those were either tourists or women out doing their shopping and such.
What I Wore Touring Buckingham Palace
Thursday Candy and I slept in a little and then ventured into London on our own. The pace had been pretty fast the previous four days, so we welcomed the opportunity to take it easy that morning and then to take it slow rest of the day in town.
I absolutely loved our tour of Buckingham Palace. We saw the royal mews (cars, horses and carriages), a special “dressing the Georgians” exhibit and the staterooms of the palace. The palace itself is magnificent, but we also had the treat of seeing a display of the coronation, with Camilla’s gown, the king’s attire, the thrown chairs and the Diamond Jubilee Carriage.
Later that afternoon Candy and I took a London cab to Liberty of London for a little shopping. I got the baby the prettiest dress and bloomers. (And no, that is not the price I paid. Ha!)
What I Wore to Tour Hampton Court Palace
And our final full day in Britain was spent right there in Hampton Court. I loved that we stayed in this little bedroom village. It had a bustling but quaint little downtown area and beautiful homes. And within walking distance we could visit the Hampton Court Palace, originally commissioned by Henry VIII. It was amazing to visit such old castles.
Reader Question: I noticed you stayed outside of London. Did you like that and would you recommnd it?
My Answer: I did love where we stayed. It felt nice to be out of the hustle and bustle of the city some. We were in an Airbnb in Hampton Court or, more specifically, Molesey. And it was so easy to get in and out of the city with their public transportation, which was all clean and felt very safe. Shelly says it was definitely cheaper to get a large house in that area (ours had 6 bedrooms) than it would have been in the city. But if you’re traveling alone (or as a couple), you could probably get a hotel room for a good price. If you’d like to stay in London, Shelly recommends hotels in the Firmdale group and says the Lime Tree is her favorite.
That evening we had dinner at a lovely French restaurant there in Molesey. So I changed into a clean top, my travel pants and my flats with my trench coat and scarf. I really don’t remember what I top I wore, but it was cleaner than the one I’d worn that day. Ha!
What I Wore to Travel Home
When Saturday arrived I had such mixed feelings. I could have tacked on a few days to my trip and explored some more, but opted to wait until James could join me for that. But it was hard leaving London, despite the fact that I was pretty exhausted by that point. So in the end, I was glad to be going home.
It had turned chilly that morning, so it was nice to have my trench coat to wear to the airport. I was able to easily put it in my carryon once we got to the gate. For information about what I packed as far as toiletries, cosmetics and other travel essentials, see this previous post.
Well, that’s a wrap! I tried to keep track of all the questions that came in (there were a lot of duplicates, of course), but if I neglected to answer yours, just ask again in the comments and I’ll definitely reply. Thanks so much for dropping in!
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Blessed for My Day
Each morning we began our day in London with a group devotional led by Shelly. On the first day our theme was kings and kingdoms. She reminded us that while we would be hearing about and visiting the castles of kings, we serve a greater King, the One who is King of kings and Lord of lords. During our week I thought a lot about what it must be like to be a king or queen, especially in our modern world. It goes without saying that through the centuries there have been both good monarchs and bad ones.
But it did my heart such good to remember that even the king’s heart is like a channel of water in the hand of the Lord. Our God alone is sovereign and He has ruled throughout the generations. He is worthy of our devotion, our reverence and our awe.
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes. ~ Proverbs 21:1