What to do with Eight Hours in Toronto

On our trip last month to London we had an eight hour layover in Toronto on the way out. I had never been, so we really wanted to get out and walk around. Here is how we got downtown with relative ease! 

After we landed in Toronto we took a little train over to terminal 1. From there we bought tickets to ride the UP Express. It’s a train that takes you right into downtown Toronto. It was $24 for two adults, round trip. (They also offer different rates for children and seniors). The train itself was clean and it only took us 25 minutes one way. They run a train every fifteen minutes so there is hardly any delay. We lucked out and walked up right as the train was loading both times. It was so easy to maneuver and to get there. Once we got out at Union Station (there are literally only like 4 stops total) we just walked straight out the main front doors and turned left. We stayed on that street for majority of our exploration! There were several restaurants and pubs along the way.  

One thing I loved was the sidewalks. It was relatively clean and I felt safe! We walked along one path until we decided to head back to one of T he first sports bars we saw, the Loose Moose. At first I was definitely intimidated by the noise. There was a Blue Jays game on, and they were winning. The whole room was a constant stream of screams, chants, and intricate clapping celebrations. It was actually pretty cool, once you got past the bleeding eardrums. 

We ordered Michael a dish of the Fully Loaded Poutine. It was composed of French fries, Cheddar cheese curds, and gravy. Then they topped it with sour cream, green onions, and bacon. He LOVED it. I order a Grilled Mac and Cheese Sandwich. The caramelized sourdough bread it came on was AMAZING. (After tip, drinking only lemon water, our total was $33.27. So not too bad!)

When we were done we slowly made our way back to the station. Then we just showed the attendant our ticket and got back on. The train dropped us back at the airport, we took an escalator, turned a corner, then just went back through security with our already printed tickets. It took us about thirty minutes to get through security and to the waiting area for our plane. It was totally simple. I am so glad we decided to try and explore a little! 

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London: Days Four, Five, and Six

 

 

Day four London had a very slow start.  We were extremely tired after the late night show the night before.  So we actually decided against getting up early and going to the Buckingham palace. We figured that will still be around next one we go! Instead we slept in and then I spent the morning reading books to Sabrina. Around noon our Uncle Dick and Aunt Masako arrived from the states. After they got settled the four of us headed down on the line to the Westminster stop. When you walk out of the station you are smack dab in front of parliament!! It was breathtaking as we walked up the stairs! I was so excited. We turned left and walked across the famous bridge. Then took another left to buy our tickets (we also went online so we could get the buy one get one free deal that comes with purchasing a train ticket).

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The London Eye was such a cool experience. I had heard a few people say it was over rated, but I disagree. I loved seeing everything and it was cool to look up the buildings we were seeing and to orient ourselves. We also lucked out and waited in no lines to buy our tickets, stood in line less then five minutes to get onto the Eye, and the skies were perfectly clear! It was so beautiful. After the Eye we walked over to Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately I did not read online that it closes at different times on different days! That was a let down, but it was still gorgeous to walk around the grounds. The four of us decided to walk around the corner and to go see the Churchill War Rooms. This was the one thing Michael said he really wanted to do! That was a really cool experience. I am not particularly interested in WWII history, but I still found it extremely interesting and interactive.

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//Scarf: Target // Jacket: J. Crew // Jeans: Lucky // Boots: Lucky // Michael’s Jacket: North Face // Michael’s shirt: J. Crew // Michael’s Jeans: Lucky // Michael’s Boots: Levi

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We spent probably a good two hours inside. Then we took our first black cab of the trip over to the Theater District! We ended up eating at some Italian place that had amazing food! I think we were all pleased. This is where we parted. Dick and Masako headed home and we started off to meet Andrew at the Cereal Killer Cafe. I had read so many great things about it, I couldn’t wait to go. Unfortunately… we got lost. Like super lost. We eventually tried to take a taxi, but arrived one minute before they closed. They wouldn’t let us in. The boys were both pretty frustrated. Luckily, there was this small little pizza place, Paradise Slice, around the corner. The building itself might have been small, but the pizza slices were HUGE. It lifted everyone spirits and we enjoyed wandering around. Andrew took us into a corner store and told us what candy we had to try, we want inside a little cafe, and then wandered our way home. It turned out to be a very eventful, but exciting day!

Our fifth day was just as fun! Wespent the morning playing with the girls. Then we headed over to the Warner Brother Studio Tour- The Making of Harry Potter. It was so cool! We ate lunch in the front cafe while we waited for Uncle Joey to join the rest of us. Then we all went in together. I was expecting it to be a lot like the Universal Harry Potter set up in Florida, but it was totally different. (I will admit, I did enjoy Florida more). This was less amusement park, more museum. It was really interesting seeing so many of the original props and the mechanics behind many of the tricks and tips.

One really exciting thing was we got to walk around the Great Hall… like the actual Great Hall that is in the movies! I am 100% a HP nerd so I was definitely geeking out. You also get to see the actual sets of many different scene. For example, the Gryffindor Commons, the boys dormitory, Hagrid’s actual hut, etc. Then we took a quick stop to get our Butterbeer. The last part of the “tour” (it’s self guided) leads you through makeup and special effects (like the mechanical Devil’s Snare plant!), past a giant and gorgeous replica of the Hogwarts castle, and to the gift shop. Where we of course bought a few keepsakes. The studio was a total win! Afterwards we headed home. That night we all cooked and ate dinner together. Then we sat around telling stories and playing with Sabrina. It was definitely a perfect last night.

Our last morning in London we woke up early and tried, once again, to go to the Cereal Killer Cafe. This time we headed over to their location in Camden. We got there five minutes after the website said they were open, but the workers had the doors shut and wouldn’t let people in! They said they would open up in thirty or forty minutes. So we (impatiently) stood outside. By the time the doors opened they had a huge, unhappy crowed that had woken up early just for this! The cafe itself was adorable! There were old school T.Vs playing episodes of Saved by the Bell (I have seen every episode, I love that show), cartoons, and old Disney movies. The walls were covered in vintage cereal box toys and other odds and ends, including a singing fish. Overall, I am glad we went because of the experience. However, it was the worst customer service we had the entire trip, the portions were outrageously small, and even when we paid extra for bigger sizes we  still received the same amount. I also found it a little embarrassing that the staff was talking about how “wasted” they were last night right infant of all of the customers who had to wait because they obviously overslept.

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// Jacket: Lucky // T Shirt: Lucky // Jeans: Lucky // Camera Bag: Nikon

Afterwards we raced off to the airport where Joey and Amy dropped us off. We were behind schedule so we said some quick goodbyes and ran through security. Luckily we did not have any trouble getting through and even had time to buy some snacks. The flight back to Toronto wasn’t bad, I was just worn out and feeling sick. So when we landed we went straight to our hotel. We ventured out for dinner, but not for long. Michael and I spent the night watching the Fresh Prince and cuddling. Originally we had great plans of exploring Toronto again, but honestly it was so nice to just sleep and move slowly! The next day we hopped on a tiny little plane back to Nashville. When we finally arrived home I was worn out!!

The cats came yowling around the corner when we walked in the door, of course melting my heart. Several days later and they will not leave our sides, possibly for fear that we will leave again. London was a great adventure, but it is good to be home with our little family.

Thanks to everyone that made our trip great and to my sister who kept the cats alive while we were gone! We love you!

Taking Off for London 

Here we go! We are waiting to board the plan for the start of our epic trip to London, England! It’s been a whirl wind of a week and I am so beyond thrilled to get away from everything. I’m also excited to (hopefully) get some sleep. We will be staying with my fabulous aunt and uncle in their house for the next seven days and exploring the city. 
First we have an eight hour layover in Toronto, Canada. We are still debating whether or not we want to try and walk around for a minute! Then we will sleep our way over to England, landing in London 9am Saturday.  

We have a few great days planned. I also have planned the MOST AMAZING surprise for Michael’s birthday. (He’s turning 26 this year.) Michael is not going to believe it! I can’t wait I’ll I get to tell y’all about how much fun he has! 

If anyone has any last minute MUST DO sights, please comment below! (You don’t have to have a WordPress account). I would love to try and do them all! 

Looking forward to sharing all of our crazy fun adventures!! Prayers for a safe flight 💕