I never thought I would ever enjoy London, or really England for that matter. But, I proved myself wrong when I came here. I hate big cities and never really care for them. London however, changed my perspective on this topic. It’s definitely my favorite city of all time. With that being said, I had a short amount of time to spare when I was here. But, I managed to squeeze pretty much everything I needed to see and do in this city in just two short days. And it is possible. I was lucky enough to have met up with a friend that I had previously met in the Philippines a while back that was from England. And I got the VIP tour of not only London, but the rest of England. Which is probably why I love this country so much.
With that being said, I’ve heard that London can be pretty expensive. Although, I was arriving from Scandinavia, so when I landed, everything seemed really cheap compared to the prices I was seeing. We got a hotel outside of the city, about a 30 minute metro ride, for around 70 quid ($90usd) a night. The first day we woke up pretty early and headed into the city. Our first stop was
Kenington Gardens, where the Palace is. Its location is in the same area as Hyde Park. Here, you will also find the Princess Diana Memorial fountain. The garden is really nice and its a good area to just set and relax and people watch. This is where I became fascinated with swans. There are hundreds of them in the water and walking around the park. I’m pretty sure I spent over an hour just trying to play with them. After all, they are the Queens birds.
After the swan watching, we walked south of the park to see the Albert Memorial.
It wasn’t anything really worth seeing, but since we were in the area, we decided to stop anyways. We continued to walk though Hyde Park, along The Serpentine. This is a large lake in the middle of the park. And of course, filled with swans and paddle boats!
This lake lead us to Buckingham Palace. And for those of you who haven’t been around, this is where the Queen resides. You obviously can’t go inside the gated area, but, if you time it right, you can watch the changing of guards, which seems to be a big deal. There will be a sign posted for the next changing time. The Victoria Memorial seems to be your best bet to take a picture and get a full view of the Palace.
What I really loved about London is that you have the typical big city buildings downtown, but, out of the middle of no where, there will be a pub. A tiny little hole in the wall place that looks like it has been there for ages surrounded by these modern buildings. And I love how everything looks old school. By that I mean they still have the old taxi cars and red phone booths standing on random corners. It really makes this place unique.
If you want to spot a pub, all you have to do is look for flowers and plants outside. I noticed not a lot of the pubs do not have visible signs and they look a lot like houses. But, every single pub will have tons of plants, trees, and vines outside. It pretty much never fails.
We worked our way to Westminster Abbey next. You could walk around this area for hours . The buildings are so old and have so much architecture to them. The Palace is located right behind Big Ben. There is a long path that circles all the way around and back to the main road if you have the time. But, for the most part, you can see what you want from the Westminster Bridge.
When you walk across the bridge you will see London’s Eye. The massive Farris wheel that overlooks the city. I highly suggest doing this. But would advise you to buy your tickets online. And even after that, you will still have to wait in line. It allows you to pick a time when you purchase them. Go at night. The views are very pretty.
After walking almost 12 miles, we were pretty tired. We headed back to our hotel to grab some dinner and relax.
The next morning we woke up early again and headed out for the our last day in the city. We took the metro into SoHo and took a short walk through China town.
From there were headed to Saint Paul’s Cathedral, but, stopped off at Trafalgar Square to take some pictures with the massive lions that are on all four sides of the tall monument in the center.
Once we got the the Cathedral, we sat on the steps and ate lunch. Then headed to the back of the church, by a garden area, to get the full view of this beautiful cathedral. Our next stop was The Shard. The Shard is made out of glass and is the tallest building in London standing at 306 meters. (1,004ft) It’s pretty cool to see from far away because it doesn’t really blend in with the rest of the cities old, historic buildings. Once you get over around The Shard, you will spot the famous London Bridge. I realized that the London Bridge looks better at night time than durning the day, specially when your riding London’s Eye.
From here, the Tower Bridge isn’t to far of a walk. This is the more popular bridge that looks medieval. It will be packed with tons of people. You will barely be able to walk across it at times. It will lead you right towards the Tower of London. This is a historic castle located right off the river. We waked pretty much the entire way around it.
Being in England, and with a real British man, we had to stop off at every pub we saw for a beer. In this area, there was lots of pubs and restaurants to choose from, so we stopped in to waste some time before we headed back over to the London Eye for our trip in the sky.
Our entire process for the London Eye took a couple of hours. Once we got to the ferris wheel we still had to wait. It wasn’t that long of a wait about 30-45 minutes. Each cube was way bigger than what I was expecting. They hold around 15 people and there is enough room for you to walk around or set in the middle. You only go one time around, but, you stop every time someone is loading and unloading. This way, you get to enjoy the view longer when your all the way up top. And don’t worry, they don’t shake that bad!
Helpful tips for trying to budget in London:
London can defiantly be expensive. But, it can also be somewhat cheap. Take the metro, obviously taxis will cost you more. If you can, and have the time to walk, do it. Each day I walked over 12 miles. I didn’t even want to take the metro because London is a walking city. I got introduced to a chain of pubs called Wetherspoons. Its pretty much your classic dive bar. Cheap beer and burgers. But when your trying to save some money, you can’t really pass up a burger, fries, and a beer for around 10-12 quid. They also have beers for £2! Another place that stole my heart was a chain of places called Greggs. I know all you people from England reading this will probably laugh, but hey, the chicken bakes for £1.50 can’t be beat. They also have really good deals at the Tesco quick stops. You can get a sandwich, chips, and a drink for £3.