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London - Birthday Celebration

Hubby and I are going to England and Scotland in September. Our last day in London will be on his birthday. I'm hoping to get tickets for the Key Ceremony at the Tower that day, but does anyone have suggestions for things to do/see/eat that are birthday celebration worthy? This is technically our second time in London, but I ruined our first trip there by spending the whole time in the hospital.

He loves beer, whisky (we're going to Islay, so I think that's covered), interesting history, and good food (he doesn't like fussy pretentious places where you leave hungry after spending $500/person, but he will pay for really good food).

I'm just looking for something out of the ordinary that is special to celebrate a person who does so much for me (and our whole family) and rarely gets celebrated. Thank you!

Posted by
16936 posts

History + beer + unpretentious sounds like a pub to me. Maybe the historic Blackfriar? It is in a beautiful Art Nouveau building near St. Paul’s. You can book a table for dinner.

https://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/restaurants/london/theblackfriarblackfriarslondon#/

If you are thinking something more upscale, with wine, etc., I recommend Ottolenghi’s Nopi, where I celebrated a big birthday a few years ago.

https://ottolenghi.co.uk/restaurants/nopi

Posted by
653 posts

If it were me, and it's obviously not, I'd probably want to visit Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, a 3-star Michelin starred joint. Normally Michelin stars turn me off, but I've eaten in several Ramsay restaurants and found the food to be several levels better than excellent in all of them. This is his flagship. Full disclosure: I've not eaten in this one.

Posted by
8884 posts

On your previous stay did you visit the Treasure Room at the British Library?

Have you done the Tower Bridge Experience?

London friends have shared wonderful and pricey experiences at the Black Rock bar in the Shoreditch neighborhood. Raved about the place. Both friends are whiskey enthusiasts.

EDIT: Try touring the Fullers Brewery in the lovely Chiswick neighborhood and then enjoy a drink in the
George and Devonshire pub. Stayed nearby at the Chiswick Premiere Inn and the G & D became my local.

Posted by
180 posts

We didn't get to do much of anything in London on our last trip. I'm hoping to do quite a few things on this trip, but looking for something that either is out of the ordinary or really special and isn't something that would normally fall on a to-do list for the city.

Posted by
16936 posts

It is always hard to know what might feel “special” or “out of the ordinary” to another person, but you might have a look at various museum websites for special events and opportunities. Examples would be this evening of sea shanty singing on board the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, or hands-on activities with telescopes and sextants at the Royal Observatory.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/cutty-sark/cutty-sark-concert-old-time-sailors?_gl=1*287xlm*_up*MQ..*_ga*MTYwNDk3NTc0Ny4xNzEyNzc2NjEx*_ga_7JJ3J5DBF6*MTcxMjc3NjYxMC4xLjEuMTcxMjc3NjY0My4wLjAuMA..*_ga_4MH5VEZTEK*MTcxMjc3NjYxMC4xLjEuMTcxMjc3NjY0My4wLjAuMA..

https://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/cutty-sark/cutty-sark-concert-old-time-sailors?_gl=1*287xlm*_up*MQ..*_ga*MTYwNDk3NTc0Ny4xNzEyNzc2NjEx*_ga_7JJ3J5DBF6*MTcxMjc3NjYxMC4xLjEuMTcxMjc3NjY0My4wLjAuMA..*_ga_4MH5VEZTEK*MTcxMjc3NjYxMC4xLjEuMTcxMjc3NjY0My4wLjAuMA..

A history buff might enjoy a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Churchill War Rooms (it is pricy, though);

https://www.iwm.org.uk/events/churchill-war-rooms-private-tours

Another Churchill-themed activity would be to visit St. Ermin’s Hotel, where Churchill formed the SOE (they took over one floor of the hotel for their operations), and have a glass of champagne at Caxton’s Bar where Churchill enjoyed his.

https://www.sterminshotel.co.uk/about/our-history

Since your visit is in September, you might find some special events that appeal during the month-long Thames Fest, a celebration of the river with art, cultural events, history walks and talks, and more. This year’s programme will not be out yet, but keep an eye on the website.

https://thamesfestivaltrust.org/artistic-programme/totally-thames/

Maybe the Illuminated River boat tours, currently scheduled only through May, will be renewed. This would be a memorable after-dinner activity.

https://illuminatedriver.london/whatson/illuminated-river-boat-tours-in-partnership-with-uber-boat-by-thames-clippers-3