We had a HUGE to-do list for our two and a half days in London, so the words hustle and bustle don’t even begin to describe our time in the land of William and Kate, but we’re so excited to share our experience in merry old England with you!

It was, to use a local expression, absolutely brilliant

One of the biggest highlights of England for us was getting to go to the real life Downton Abbey. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that we. love. this. show. Heck, we named our own cat Mr. Carson after the butler. If you haven’t seen an episode of Downton yet, you’ve gotta add it to your list. We caught Downton-fever last summer, and never looked back. In our perfect world, we’d teleport there for dinner every night with the Crawley Family, tux, tails, and all (but we’d go during the fourth season, which takes place in the Roaring 20s, so that Amy could ditch the stiff corsets for cute headbands, of course). Needless to say, this was a bucket-list stop for us. We spent the morning channeling our inner Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew, holding hands while walking the grounds and gardens of the gorgeous estate before stepping through the front doors and entering the grand foyer we’ve seen on the screen so many times – and we walked up the famous staircase,
too. With every turn was another breathtaking room, and even though they didn’t allow pictures inside, that time inside the castle was time we will never forget. Of course, we wouldn’t have been proper tourists without an expansive tour of London complete with a big red bus and, naturally, a big floppy hat! We spent an afternoon among the massive crowds of tourists, hitting everything from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to the London Bridge and Westminster Abbey. During the changing of the guard, Amy couldn’t see over the THOUSANDS of people who’d pressed themselves up to the palace gate, so, we did what we saw the brilliant small children doing: we put Amy on Jordan’s shoulders so she could see over the crowd… and then, of course, asked a complete stranger to take a photo of it. To date, it’s either one of our most embarrassing or one of our favorite memories of the trip… we can’t decide. Either way, it’s on Instagram for all to see.

If you haven’t yet, we’d love to have you join us on our trip in real time on Instagram! Our handles are @amy_demos and @jordan_demos

Our tourist adventures didn’t stop at real castles, we visited imaginary ones, too, at the Harry Potter behind-the-scenes tour in the Warner Brothers studio and back lot just outside London. Some highlights from our time at Hogwarts? There are too many to count! We saw Harry’s room under the cupboard, boarded the infamous night train, entered the Gryffindor common room, walked Diagon Alley, and stood on the steps of Number 4 Privet Drive. We viewed thousands of props and costumes, and learned hundreds of magical movie-making secrets. The best part, though? Well, for Jordan, anyways. Watching Amy open the doors to the Great Hall. Because he volunteered her. In front of everybody.

But even with Harry Potter, big buses, floppy hats, Downton Abbey and a plethora of fish and chips, our absolute favorite experience from England was seeing Les Miserables live in London’s West End. It was nearly impossible for us to get tickets. Anywhere. It was sold out. And we were crushed. We know the story by heart. The thick Victor Hugo book is all too familiar with our nightstands, we’ve seen the movie version of Les Mis umpteen times and God knows we listened to the soundtrack for months – and months – on end. And still do. We had to get seats in that theater. Sold out, or not! So, Jordan (being Jordan) walked down to the hotel concierge a few hours before the opening curtain was drawn, charmed the person behind the desk, who charmed someone on the other end of the phone, who charmed someone on the other end of another phone, who secured us the last two seats in the house. The very last two.

And the performance didn’t disappoint. It was, to use a local expression, absolutely brilliant. We’ve never seen anything like it in our entire life, and we’re not sure if we will again. Amy cried. Jordan got chills. We called our moms at intermission just to tell them how moved we felt. And when Jean Valjean went to heaven, after a lifetime of redemption and sacrifice, we were reminded, once again, that God’s imprint is everywhere, and that his love and grace are for everyone. It was absolutely beautiful.

Yes, London was quite the buzz, and after zipping around for two full days like Energizer Bunnies, we were — to use another English phrase that just seems to fit here – knackered.

We were ready for a slower, Parisian pace. Stay tuned for that, but until then, here are some photos of our time in the UK!

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We l-o-v-e traveling! Wanna catch up with our adventures around the world? You can do that here!

International: Ireland • England • France • Spain • Italy • Greece & Turkey • Anniversary Photos: Venice

Domestic: Nashville • Denver • Phoenix • Vancouver • Seattle • Vegas • Atlanta • Santa Barbara • Florida • Virginia • New England/New York • Sedona • San Diego • Nantucket • Boston • San Diego • Virginia • Arizona

For those who’ve asked, we been photographing our trip with the Canon 5D Mark III camera and Canon 50mm 1.2 L-Series lens. In hindsight, a wider lens would’ve been helpful! The European streets are tight, the buildings are tall, and the tourists are plentiful! If you need gear recommendations, you can view what’s in our bag by clicking here.

6 comments
filed in: Personal, Travel

    Manisha Surani

    great photos! I've become a big #demosinvasion fan! :) Love your work and hope I get to meet and learn from you in the future! I was going to ask you what camera/lens you took around with you because me and my husband are planning a Europe trip for next year. I have Canon 5d Mark III and the 50mm 1.2L lens. I also have the 24-70mm L lens, would that be helpful? Also with the 50mm, how do you get the sharp photos all around? - Manisha Moments Photography

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Manisha! We've been carrying around our 5DIII and 50mm 1.2 and it's been great MOST of the time. The European streets are narrow, so sometimes it's not wide enough. I think the 24-70 would be awesome, but too heavy. I'm hindsight, a 24 or 35 would've probably been better, but the 50 has been just fine. We've been shooting everything with us and monuments that we want to see at about f/8 to have us and the architecture in focus and everything else between f/2 and f/4. Hope that helps!