Our first stop on our MFMP trip was London since we were picking up our girl Claire from her study abroad. We were so anxious for her to show us around what has become her beloved stomping grounds, but only had a day and a half to pack it all in. So here’s what we feel is the best way to see London highlights.

Reunion with Claire

First of all, reunite with your daughter who has the best “welcoming response” known to man.

Claire and Grace's joyful reunion

And have that girl take you all over creation filling each place with her own newly-found passion.

We were so excited to see that girl just bounding over to meet us, so bright-eyed and overjoyed that we were all together. It was a pretty happy reunion.

She showed us a bit of the area where she’s been living while she talked a mile-a-minute trying to catch us up with all the things she loves.

Keep in mind that this is extra special to me since I lived in London from when I was 4 until 7 years old. Then again for a little bit of my high school, and I feel like that place became “mine” as well. There’s something about living in a place that fills your heart with it and makes it “yours” forever.

Also, three of my siblings served missions in London. And Elle did her summer internship there.

And one more “also,” my sister Charity lived there for five years and had all her babies there.

Yes, we really like that place.

This is Claire’s street:

Claire at her street in London

And Portobello Road is so close:

The girls walking down Portabellow Road

I love the colors in London!

We dropped that girl off for her last night with her group…

…and Elle, Grace and I did some exploring of that grand city on bikes.

Biking Tour of London Highlights

We biked to so many places we love so much.

We biked through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and all the way to Buckingham Palace.

Grace and Elle at sunset at Buckingham Palace

Then we rode on over to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

I love that London is such a great biking city. Even our own little stoplights and lanes (see on the left below):

By the time we got to Tower Bridge, night had fallen.

Meanwhile, Claire had her last dinner and last little devotional with her group.

She was so sad it was all over, but we were glad we got to envelope her into our little clan to soften the blow.

I know she’ll always keep these good people close to her heart.

Claire's London study abroad group

I wrote more from my vantage point about her study abroad before, but so thankful for all she got to learn and do in that beautiful place!

And that she got to show us more for one quick day together.

Claire’s favorite spots…a tour of her London highlights

Loved following our girl around past beauty little streets like this:

We started with breakfast at Dishoom near Covent Garden as recommended by my sister Charity.

It did NOT disappoint. Yow I love that place.

We wandered around Covent Garden (one of my very favorite spots when I was a high-schooler there…one of Claire’s favorites too):

Made our way to Piccadilly Circus, which I love so much with it’s curved buildings and energy.

We were disappointed that they took all the union jack flags down that usually adorn that place, but settled for these ones.

Shawni, Elle, Claire and Grace in Piccadilly Circus.

And THEN, on to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery: our main art history stop:

One of the best London highlights: the National Gallery

By this time we met up with Claire’s dear friend Stella, who was on study abroad with her and who was sticking around London for a few more days.

Fun to have her along for the ride in the midst of all this incredible art.

I mentioned Claire’s favorites she had us “treasure hunt” for back in the original post, but here’s a look at how crowded it was trying to get a good look at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers:


Oh how I loved exploring some of my all-time favorite art with these girls.

Shawni and girls in front of Monet's waterlilies.

And I loved that Claire was so prepared to take us to all her own highlights.

And I found a few new ones of my own.

I loved this depiction of Mary and Martha:

And loved this one that was in my bedroom all my growing-up years:

I was also introduced to perhaps most favorite painting of all. I stood there in front of it for a long time with tears filling up my eyes.

But it was special enough for a post of it’s own.

We made our way back to Piccadilly…on a double-decker:

Then on to Queen Mary’s Rose Garden:

We’re doing a “C” for Charity in this pic since this is where my sister spent each of her birthdays when she lived in London.

And with good reason, because roses are awesome. And they are everywhere!

Loved exploring all through that beautiful place…

Stella saved us from the rain.

Moving Claire out of the London Centre

It was sad to say goodbye to this little home-away-from-home for Claire, but we had to go back and grab her stuff.

Then say goodbye to that place that has taken such good care of her.

Claire and Stella in their London spot

One Last Night in London

I mentioned that evening in my last post, but we were pretty giddy about the chance to see Les Miserables that night:

Oh that play is so incredibly powerful. I fell in love with it as a London high-schooler all those years ago, have since fallen in love with the book, and love that these girls are head-over-heels in love with it too.

We walked around China Town talking through all we had just seen, and made our last stop at Piccadilly Circus.

Where this awesome dancer got a big crowd, including my girls, all hyped up and joining in.

Last Morning in London at Borough Market

We spent our last morning amidst the crowds at Borough Market…filled with the most delectable food and interesting people.

The chocolate covered strawberries were everyone’s favorites.

I must say, these were pretty wonderful too:

And then it was over.

That speedy trip all over that favorite city of ours: the best way to see London highlights is to have your own girl show you around.

We flew off to our next adventure, filled with excitement but also with a little pang of sorrow as the green fields of England shrunk away from the airplane window.

London, you will always have our hearts!

Other Posts About London

Similar Posts


  1. All these “the Best Way to do x,y,z” posts come off as pretty self-admiring. And yes, it gets old seeing endless opportunities for travel and adventure for those who are lucky enough to have extra money (or be born into money) while most Americans are struggling to cover their basic needs and can only dream of visiting a foreign land once in their lifetime. I’ll show myself the door.

    1. I don’t mind that as much as the blatant hypocrisy – two of the kids have multiple ear piercings – yet they are either just back from or just leaving for a mission that wants them to stand out for NOT participating in those “worldly’ trends. And they don’t even try to minimize it for blog pics – can Shawni not see it or does she just not care?

      At least the older girl had enough decorum to NOT go on a mission, since even after going through the temple, does not live up to her promise to wear garments.

      There is no shame in saying “I don’t want to follow the rules so I am going to fade from this church”. There IS shame in not following, but still acting like everything is fine.

      1. Imagine for a moment how you would feel if someone – a total stranger – commented on your underwear in the comments of a blog post.
        Jesus tells us, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ Do you think He would judge these lovely, sparky, thoughtful, spiritual girls on their earrings, or their clothes? What they wear is between them and God, and nobody else’s business. Would you like us to come into your house and point out all the things you do that we disagree with?

    2. Aw Heather, I’m genuinely so sorry if this post makes you feel this way. And I think you’re wise not to read if it does. I want you to know that I have grappled with this worry before I posted, because I never want anyone to feel bad. It’s difficult to find the balance between sharing what is happening in life, using this spot on the Internet as a journal, and hoping to uplift other families out there in any way I can. Some people are enthused by posts like this, and I think it may help them realize possibilities. But you’re right, others may feel like this is beyond their grasp. It is a tricky balance.
      Because I grew up traveling it is really bred into the lives of those in my family. I think we all love it and do it in such different ways, with all different financial backgrounds. We tend to prioritize it above many other things and have figured out all kinds of ways to make it happen, so we’re maybe just a little weird like this! That of course doesn’t mean it’s the “right” way to live life by any means! There are so many wonderful things to do in life. I hope you find what makes you happy.

      1. Hey Shawni I want you to know I regretted my critical comment as soon as I sent it. I’m sorry. You do so much to add good to the world and you’ve definitely inspired me to see the good in the world despite the darkness that is really tough sometimes. I hope you take care 🙂

  2. Thanks for the wonderful highlights! It’s been years since I have been to London but I love that city and it was nice to “see” it again:). I think it’s lovely that you and your oldest daughters were blessed to enjoy it together before Claire heads off on her mission.

    I was a lot younger when I was there, but as I read your post I kept thinking ‘they must have so much energy!’ :). I’m 60 now and just don’t have quite as much as I once did.

    I’m glad you all enjoyed London. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I, for one, love to read your “best way to do…” posts. Your joy and enthusiasm at seeing these beautiful places again and spending time with your family is infectious. I also appreciate them (and take notes) because I hope to one day visit all of these beautiful places. So, thank you!

  4. do your girls use any special products to grow their hair so long and healthy? What beauties you’ve got! Thank you for sharing such a special trip.

    1. So nice SJ, they love having long hair! I think the main thing they do is not use much product…hair dryers or curling irons.

  5. I love how much joy you derive from being with your kids. Mine are still little and I can’t imagine them at the ages your kids are, but seeing your relationships with them as they get older makes me excited for what’s to come.

    Can you share where Grace got her ivory crossbody bag? Thank you!

  6. I don’t think my comment posted so I’ll try again. I love the joy that you get from spending time with your kids. Mine are still little and thinking of them as college-aged+ is overwhelming, but seeing your relationships with your older kids makes me excited for what’s to come. Thanks for sharing.

    I also wanted to ask where Grace got her ivory cross-body bag. It looks cute and functional. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *