Text and Photos by Celebrity Photographer John Russo
Been all over the world and good old London never disappoints. With its incredible history, award-winning restaurants and luxurious accommodations, London is worth the trip over the pond.
After a very long flight from Cancun (don’t ask) we arrive in rainy and cold London. My assistant Gus and I had to shoot a famous British football player for Hugo Boss. Our shoot was in Manchester, so we opted to stay in London and take the train to Manchester. We decided to stay at the Mandarin Oriental for the first two nights. I rang my pal Sarah (director of communications at the fabulous Mandarin Oriental London) and she set us up with the most incredible stay. Upon our arrival she booked me in for a relaxing massage and facial at the Mandarin’s tranquil spa. It was so incredibly relaxing and exactly what I needed after the fourteen hours of traveling to get there.
My suite was so comfortable and had the best view of Hyde Park. I felt like I was at home and was content sitting in the room and watching Downtown Abbey. Needless to say, my assistant Gus would not allow that. He had me seeing every museum and taking the trains to quaint English towns. I have to say it was well worth it.
After the most relaxing night sleep, we were up at 6:00 a.m. to catch a train to the quaint town of York. It is well worth the train ride. A city circled by thirteenth century walls (yes a walled city) and charming narrow streets. It is like stepping back in time. Fortunately it has not been ruined by American chains as of yet. I think there is only one McDonald’s.
There are so many incredible things to do and see in York. There are many cool local stores that have great clothing and artwork. The Minster, one the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, is a must see. It is pretty much unbelievable. I was so humbled by its history and architecture. Be sure to walk the winding staircase to the top of the tower. It’s quite a walk but well worth it. To learn more about York go to http://www.visityork.org
We toured around London and visited with my friends Gina and Mel. They took a train up from Brighton to have lunch with us at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin. As to be expected the food and service was top drawer. We then hopped a cab to experience, The Tower of London—so cool! It is a must see. You can also see the Tower Bridge, which is directly across from the Tower of London. After a fun day of sightseeing we met our friend Sarah for an incredible dinner at Heston Blumenthal’s incredible restaurant. What a credible experience it was!