… So said my Dad, although I don’t think he was the first one to say it – I think it was Samuel Johnson. Anyhoo, it is a fair comment. There’s a lot to do and see!
One of my favourite places in London is Southbank, by the Tate Modern. The Millennium bridge (which was a laughing stock when it was built as it was wobbly and they had to close it) is fabulous. The view of St Pauls and the towers of the City, against a brooding sky is stunning. The Tate Modern is cool (and free) but you do get searched on the way in which is a faff, especially if you’ve traveled a long way and you have a suitcase with you, which they insist on looking inside!
Also along the River Thames is the London Eye. In my view this is really overpriced at £19.50 for an adult. But if you can afford it, it’s a fantastic thing to do once-in-a-lifetime.The views are fab and it’s an exciting experience. The queues can be long though so get there early.
The London Eye is not the only way to get a good view over London – “The Monument” is a, well, a monument to the Great Fire of London. It’s much cheaper and you can also enjoy panoramic views of London – perhaps not as thrilling as the Eye, but a fraction of the price (£3 for adults, compared to £19.50 for the London Eye). You have to work for it though – there are hundreds of steps, and it might not be suitable for people with serious claustrophobia as it’s a winding staircase upwards.
Of course, if you want views there’s also The Shard. This is a very tall glass building not unlike the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (except not as tall). But at £24.95 per adult, I would politely decline the chance to go up the Shard.
Walking along the Thames you can also enjoy views of Tower Bridge. Not to be confused with London Bridge (crazy to think that we visited the original London Bridge in Arizona, USA!)
Another area of London that I love is Leicester Square. Going everywhere by tube, you sometimes don’t realise how close some stuff is, and it was a revelation when I realised that Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Covent Garden are all really close to each other. I love the buzz of the place, the bright lights, and knowledge that movie premieres are held here so even though it’s like £13 to see a film, you know it’s cool. We found a fabulous little burrito place near Covent Garden which was just what the doctor ordered on a cold day! 🙂
It is only a short walk from Leicester Square to Trafalgar Square where you can see Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. Then, you’re at the top of The Mall which leads to Buckingham Palace. I always used to go there as a kid to wave at the Queen. I don’t any more. It’s frowned upon once you reach 30.
I went to the Changing of the Guard and was shocked by how busy it was. It was difficult to get a good view, and it was perhaps not the best place to arrange to meet someone! I naively thought that since it happens every day, everyone would have seen it…? No. Apparently they have not seen it. I think I underestimated just how many tourists come to London every day.
We finished our little walking tour of London with Westminster Abbey, the Supreme Court, and the Houses of Parliament. We didn’t manage to get inside Parliament as I think you have to book ahead, but that is on my “to do” list for the future.
And last but not least… Shopping. We explored Oxford Street and Regents Street and ended up in Hamley’s (the toyshop) so my BF could revert to his Man-Child ways. We rounded off the trip with an awesome burger in a lovely little restaurant near Carnaby Street. (Ooh how exciting to casually name-drop these cool streets!).
Overall we enjoyed our little jaunt to London and plan to go back soon! I have heard that some people are worried about crime in London (eg. pickpockets), but it has always felt safe to me. Obviously take the usual precautions – stay on well-lit streets and keep your bags where you can see them – but that’s common sense and goes for any city in the world! The likelihood is that you’ll be absolutely fine and we will certainly be back! 🙂
Next blog: Greenwich, UK
Previous blog: Home… UK