I had such a great trip. 4 days was just about the right amount of time to go by myself and become acquainted with the city.
This was a trip of running in to random people at the airport. When I left on Tuesday, I ran in to a fellow law student who was also on my flight to Minneapolis. Once I got on the plane, I discovered that I was sitting next to my pre-school teacher (random!) It was great to catch up with her, 25 years later. On the way home on Sunday, I saw Beverly of PoMo Golightly and another gal from the other Tuesday night knitting group.
Anyway, I managed to sleep most of the flight between Minneapolis and London, and hit the ground running when I arrived. I stayed at the Abbey House in Kensington, which was great. Utilitarian, but clean, friendly staff, great neighborhood. It's about a five minute walk from both Kensington High Street and Notting Hill Gate tube stops, so was close to everything but still fairly quiet as it wasn't near a main road. I checked in to my hotel, showered, and went out to see the sights!
I took one of the bus tours to get the lay of the land. It was really neat to drive past all these famous buildings... The bus tour took us past all the major sights- houses of parliament/Big Ben, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Circus, Baken Street, etc. etc. etc.
After the bus tour, I headed back towards Kensington and wandered through Kensington Gardens and near Kensington Palace, where Lady Di lived after the divorce. The gardens were gorgeous. Even though the weather was coooold and windy, crocus blooms had pushed their way through the grass.
I had tea at the Orangery, located in the gardens, and it was fantastic. I had orange blossom tea, half a cucumber sandwiche, a scone with clotted cream and jam, and a small slice of their orange cake. This was by far the best tea I had- highly recommended.
After tea, I wandered through the gardens and headed to Kensington High Street, where there were a ton of really nice shops. I browsed the insanely expensive clothing and shoes, then had fish and chips and a beer at a pub whose name I can't remember, and crashed around 9:00.