Then from there we went to Harrods, one of the biggest shopping mall in the world. It seems it takes about 2-3 days if you want to see the entire Harrods mall. Behind Harrods, I don't know the reason i saw some of the most expensive cars parked i.e. Bugatti, Rolls, Ferrari's, Bentley's and more, but for me the London taxis were more attractive to click pictures of. After Harrods we walked toward Knights bridge station to catch a train to Covent garden. Since it was Saturday night, Covent Garden station was crowded with people ready to party the night away, i didn't know this place was a party hub. We met Alim and Supritha and decided we will pick some beer from Tesco (grocery store) and walk around enjoying our beers. Walking, we reached china town and like all china town streets across the world, even this had a typical setting of red lanterns, Chinese restaurants and all flashy and glowing.
London is famous for it's bustling markets, there are so many to choose from. If you're in London on a weekday then check out the Camden Markets, Covent Garden and Brixton Markets. On a Saturday check out the Borough Markets and Portobello Road Markets. On a Sunday you have to check out Upmarket and Bricklane markets in Shoreditch. They all cannot be missed!See the view of the city at Primrose Hill | Tube Station: St John's Wood
If you have plans to: 1) shop 2) watch musical 3) visit the tourist attractions 4) visit the markets 5) go to museums, I’d recommend at least 7 full days. Well, at least that’s the time I wish I had. I wish I could visit more markets (I only covered Camden Market and Borough Market) and I wished I had a night (where I wasn’t so exhausted after walking the whole day) to club. London is a prime spot for a couple of other day trips out as well, and if you do want to visit other parts of UK, be sure to allow even more time. Public transport within London costed me SGD 60 for that 4 full days. Each train ride costs ~SGD 5, while the bus is relatively cheaper. I noticed that the bus drivers are separated from the passengers by a transparent panel sandwiched between them and the passengers, unlike in France where there is no physical barrier between them. I thought it symbolised the emotional connection between the driver and passenger quite representatively too.Meals cost easily SGD 20. There are SGD 15 options if you look hard and aren’t fussy aka street stalls or fast food chains.I’m sure London needs no introduction, nor mapping. I came to realise how more Singaporeans than I expected have moved to London to do their bachelor’s degree. Wished I had the time to meet up with them too, but time was very tight on my trip there. I’ve been procrastinating on this post for the longest time now simply because of the sheer number of places we’ve visited (and the accompanying photos that follows).To keep things organized, I have laid out my content in the following order:Personal touch- CNY celebration, climbing trip, Matilda musicalTourist huntsFood & markets we’ve visited are reserved for a separate post.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
The next stop was wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd the most fascinating shop for me. A shop owned by the same family since it opened in the 1600’s selling exotic spices, tea and coffee. Which means it has been open longer than Canada has been a country, very impressive to a Canadian. Little of this shop has changed since opening except the barest of modern essentials such as electric lights. You can see in the photo below how the original shop front has been preserved over time. The shop is very proud of it’s history and has interesting artefacts and documents from over the years on display. It was due to one these artefacts we learned how the shop’s clientele (in the 1700’s) were offered the perk of weighing themselves on the coffee scales which are on display. Berry Bros. & Rudd were suppliers to the the Titanic and they have a copy of the letter from White Star Line apologizing for the loss of 69 bottles of wine due to the sinking of the ship.Before leaving we were given a taste of King’s Ginger, a gin infused with ginger and lemon, which was formulated for King George VI in 1903 and “has been appreciated by bon viveurs, sporting gentlemen and high-spirited ladies ever since”. I can confirm it is a very nice drink on a winter’s afternoon.If you aren’t in London and would like to take a peek into this fascinating shop they have an online virtual tour here.
Lock & Co. Hatters
Off we went next to see Lock & Co hat shop which also opened it’s doors in the 1600’s (it’s the oldest hat shop in the world) where the bowler hat was invented and where Sir Winston Churchill, Chaplin and Lord Nelson all shopped. Upstairs they have a stunning collection of hats for women. The hat boxes at Lock & Co will set you back £60, so I didn’t dare even look at the price of the hats I liked. Lock & Co’s understated Christmas window display with more stunning hats was my favorite of the day.
Crafting the taste of Glenmorangie is entrusted to the care of 16 people known as the “Sixteen Men of Tain”–some have names that are fitting to the jobs in the alcohol business, such as warehouseman Jocky Stout. Visitors can learn about the entire distillation process, as well as the selection of the barrels, which come from oak trees in the Ozarks. The barrels are then loaned to the Heaven Hill Bourbon distillery until reclaimed by Glenmorangie. The on-site inn, Glenmorangie House, is also worth a stop. From the outside, it looks like a typical Highlands mansion, but inside the atmosphere is warm and relaxed. Entry-£ 5 per person Tasting notes: ” Smooth malt with a gentle salty note, complemented by fruits and spices”
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Market is one of the best markets in London, you definitely have to check it out! It is a short walk from Notting Hill Gate station which runs on the District and Circle Line. If you want to get nice antiques stuff, it is best to visit them on Saturdays as antiques and bric-a-brac stalls only opens on Saturday. Portobello Road literally has everything! You can find many vintage items here if you are a fan!
Walk through lovely Victoria Street in the Grassmarket, before heading up the magical Royal Mile – a cobbled meandering, narrow road that leads up to the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Enjoy beautiful views of the city sky-line from here, a dramatic fortress jutting out from castle rock.
The only trip where I have shopped ( apart from eating a LOT) because Oxford Street! For people on a budget, run to Primark for affordable shopping ranging from clothes to shoes to bags! Now for people not on a budget, head to anywhere on the Oxford Street and don't forget to stop at Harrods! Also Hamleys! Because the kid in you will always keep you sane ????