From the 27th of April to the 2nd of March I was blessed with the opportunity to explore London. This is something that I have always dreamed of doing but never thought I’d actually be fortunate enough to do. Words can’t describe how elated I am to have had this experience. Here are my adventures during this dream come true
I set off from Eindhoven airport on Thursday, we left extra early to avoid any similar complications that what we had when traveling to Spain. After landing in London a little after 7pm we took a bus to Liverpool Street.
From Liverpool Street we walked to the student residence flat where we would be staying for the next six days. The two girls I went with had a friend studying abroad in London and she was kind enough to let us crash on her floor. Free accommodation: score! I must say, it was quite the comfort to see signs in English. I’d forgotten what it was like to be able to understand signage and menus.
Friday was our day to wander. First thing we did was sort out our means of transportation. We all got an oyster card with a week travel pass. This turned out to be the perfect investment, we were able to have unlimited use of the tube and the bus during the duration of our time in London. It also wasn’t unreasonably priced, it only cost £35, £5 of which we got back when we returned the card.
We ventured to King’s Cross Station where I was able to check an item off of my bucket list, getting a picture at Platform 9 3/4.
One of the girls I went with is a big fan of Doctor Who, so next stop was TARDIS. From there we hopped on my first double decker bus ride and enjoyed the view from the top level.
Having found out that there was an entire area of London named Chelsea, it was high priority to me to see as much of it as I could. So off to Chelsea Harbour we went where I took pictures with everything Chelsea-related that I came across.
We finished off our first day with a trip to Oxford Circus. The shopping down that street is never ending, but we were on a mission to find Primark for some extra sleeping materials so we didn’t make any stops along the way. Primark is a huge retail store that’s fairly prominent throughout Europe, there’s a couple in The Netherlands, but London was my first time going into one. Their stuff is very inexpensive, which is why it’s so popular. We got a couple of duvets for some added padding to use when we slept on the floor. On a separate excursion to Primark I purchased one of my favorite movies, One Day. As anticlimactic as this may sound, this was a very cool experience for me. I’ve been in love with the book and the movie for a while now, which are based in London, and I bought the movie, in London. Too neat.
Saturday was dedicated to our walking tour. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love these, they are my favorite way to get to know a city. This particular one lasted six hours and sent us walking eight miles. Here is what I saw along the way
We started off the tour at Regent’s Park
This was our awesome guide, Margaret.
Queen’s Guards in their winter uniform
One of the houses King Henry VIII built for Anne Boleyn
I love tourist pictures
My favorites to photograph, Big Ben and the London Eye
Houses of Parliament
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The Queen’s seal of approval
The Monument to the Great Fire of London
Temple Bar, where Westminster becomes the City of London
Royal Courts of Justice
Tower of London
We started off our Sunday by watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. (All I have from this are videos that I can’t seem to figure out how to upload)
From there we walked through the Natural History Museum. This is one of London’s many free-entry museums. The outside is an incredible sight, but the exhibits inside are definitely catered more towards children.
Lunch was spent in Hyde Park, a real beauty
After that I had another opportunity to knock something off of my bucket list, getting a picture walking across Abbey Road.
Monday was the day I was most excited for, it was so special that I am going to dedicate a separate post especially for it.
Tuesday was our last day in London. We kicked it off with Camden Market, it’s probably a good thing I saw it at the end of my trip otherwise all of my money would have been spent there. They have everything from souvenirs, to food, to clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc etc.
The girls I traveled with purchased tickets to go up the London Eye, so while they did that I wandered around London Eye Pier. I must say, this was an absolute highlight of my time in London. Not only was it beautiful, but there were performers singing that added so much to the experience of it. I sat in front of them, overlooking the London Eye and Big Ben, taking in the great music and feeling immense peace and gratitude. As wonderful as it is to have friends to travel with, there’s something about having moments by yourself that allow you to take it all in and enjoy the moment while you have it.
Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus were the next stops along the way. Come to find out, the premier of the movie Noah had been at Leicester Square the previous evening where Emma Watson had “walked on water.” Talk about missed opportunities to be a crazed fan. Speaking of, on Monday while we were waiting for a train at Euston Station we stumbled upon mass amounts of paparazzi and a train on the parallel platform that was decked out in X-Men paraphernalia. We asked what was going on and were informed it was simply the unveiling of the train. Come to find out a few days later, Hugh Jackman and James Mcavoy were doing the unveiling and we had missed it by mere moments. I suppose that was God’s way of keeping me from making a fool of myself. The two girls I went with are from New York, and they mentioned how much alike London is to NYC. Having never been to NYC, London was an entirely new experience for me. The hustle and bustle, high end shopping, people walking everywhere, and crammed tubes were all somewhat of a culture shock. Not in a bad way by any means, it made the trip all that more exciting for me to see what it’s like to be part of a true big city. I don’t consider myself “small town,” but spending six days in London definitely made me feel that way.
We had dinner at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which has been in the same location since the 1500’s. It was rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire in London. It is said that Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charles Dickens frequented this pub. I was able to have an English classic, Bangers and Mash.
The last stop was back to the London Eye Pier to see the London Eye by night. A beautiful sight indeed.
We left London before the sun came up the next day.
A challenge that has been occurring is at the end of my trips I get really sick. This happened at the end of Belgium, the end of Spain, and the end of London. I’m not entirely sure what is causing this, the only guess I have is that my body has a hard time handling all of the excitement. The fact that on my last day of London I was three for three getting sick, I got really frustrated. I was really discouraged with my body that it can’t seem to handle traveling. I have such a love for traveling, it’s tough when I spend my last day unable to enjoy myself. I make sure I drink lots of water and get enough sleep while I’m traveling so I am not quite sure what I need to change to avoid getting sick. I am hoping to find the remedy that will help me conquer this problem on my next big adventure. If you have any tips, please share them with me!
Regardless, I had an absolutely incredible time in London. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to see the city of my dreams, and will cherish the memories I made there forever.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in 20 seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in the factories.” -Ray Bradbury