2. England- The London Tube: There are a lot of things you can love about England, but nothing is more enchanting than having time to spare and watching the London tube at rush hour. From the unwritten rules of staying to the left on escalators to the packed like sardines carriages, the tube can give you new found respect for space. The tube stands for everything ‘London’. Add the fact that they scaled new heights in design whilst creating the new tube map.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit London is from May to July
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
The London Eye
Sugandha and Daniel had a day off from work, but they had classes to attend that they were taking to enter the best B-School in UK (all the best to them). They had left their spare house keys for us and by the time we got all ready, made some breakfast and left the house for the day it was 12 in the afternoon. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and today we decided we will go to see the London Eye and from there walk to all the places we can in and around central London. We board a train for Embankment station, which is closer to London eye. We got out of the station crossed a bridge and on the other side was London eye. The streets below London eye was packed with people enjoying a good sunny day, there were tourist, children cycling around, babies in their baby carts, doggies and oldies just taking a stroll. It was like a huge street party kind of scenario.There were entertainers on the streets entertaining people and earning their livelihood. There was a huge queue for the London eye, so didn't want to go on it. Rather we decided to sit in a nice quite place overlooking the river and sip on some beer.
She told us to visit Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sq, Green Park and Big Ben. All these places were close to her office and walking distance. We paid for the coffee and were on our way to Trafalgar Sq, walked ahead a little bit and reached the Buckingham palace & Green Park. Through our walk there was a regular photo session going on and it was a pleasant experience walking the streets of london.Since it was a day before the weekend, people were all out on the streets, getting into the weekend groove. There were families and children with their dogs playing in the park, couples coochy cooing and sipping on chilled beer (its legal to drink on streets in London), a old gentleman feeding squirrels, a lady feeding the ducks, tourists clicking pictures and office goers crowded outside English pubs drinking beer and wine. It was party mood all around.We walked back to Sugandha's office and called her, she told us to come to a pub were she and Daniel (her English boyfriend) had already started partying. We joined them, ordered our beers and it was 1, 2 and 3 beers for me, the last glass being bottoms up. The pub (I forget the name) was totally crowded with people partying after office hours.
Next we decided to go and drink in a different pub, but I realised we had our luggage to carry home, so it will be quiet a pain to carry the luggage all around after getting a little drunk (which I wanted to). So we chucked our plan to drink more in a pub and picked our luggage and moved towards charring cross station, from here we were supposed to board the train to Tower Gate, walk to tower hill station and board the train to Lime house (final destination). Daniel bought some booze from a local grocery, wine and beers are cheaper to buy from a local store and we continued the party at Sugandha's house. Their house was walking distance from the station.We dropped our luggage, ordered for some Bengali food and Daniel suggested he will show us the place around his house, which is supposedly very beautiful. We got quite excited and went out for a walk and the first surprise was Thames river flowing right behind their house. Next surprise was a beautiful view of tall office buildings of HSBC, Citigroup over the river, all lit up these buildings are located at canary Warf, which is a 15 minutes walking distance from Daniels house.The walk through the lanes was quite & romantic, Daniel took all the efforts to show us everything beautiful that is in and around their house. We came back to the house after about an hour of walking and sat down for dinner and drinks. After all the flight travel, train travel, walks, drinking and carrying our luggage around , we were quite exhausted for the day and the moment we hit the bed the next moment I relaised it was 10am, Saturday morning.
Next, we walked over to St. Paul’s Cathedral, built after the Great Fire of London in 1666. You really can't take a wrong angled picture of this masterpiece. Next, we headed to the streets in central London and did a stroll through Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. After taking some photos we then crossed over Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey for some more photographs.
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
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.
On a chilly November morning, I joined a motley group of Sherlockians (as Holmes fans refer themselves as) to explore places in Central London featured in Sir Arthur’s original stories and locations that have featured in numerous film and television adaptations of the detective’s great adventures. Like the first original story, my Holmes adventure started at the Savini at Criterion, at Piccadilly Circus.It was here at the Criterion Bar that Watson learns from an old friend about ‘a fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital (St Bartholomew’s)’, looking for someone to share lodgings with. This is also where I met my guide from Brit Movie Tours. “My name is Michael. If you haven’t enjoyed the tour for whatever reason, my name is James Moriarty,” he says in greeting.
1. PERSONAL TOUCHThis was WL’s first stop from Singapore. After 2.5 months, we’re finally reunited!We kickstarted the night with salmon, mussels in white wine sauce and some wine. This has got to be my best home-cooked dish in the entire time I’ve been overseas. Made none other than our superb host, Leonard.It was also the eve of the eve of CNY (17 Feb). We just came back from CNY shopping at Chinatown street. It was where I found the one and only (monopoly) bubble tea shop to cost ~ SGD8 per cup? On a side note, that got me craving for milk tea so badly so I bought the bottled one at the Chinese shop. Heh.Below shows our steamboat spread for CNY (19 Feb). I can’t believe I would have this opportunity to eat steamboat in Europe. What a joy! I remember feeling very deprived of fish and prawns. So when the ever-talented cook Leonard cooked fresh fish for us, and with 2 of the guys being averse to fresh fish, I unabashedly claimed the whole fish for myself. 8)We improvised steamboat using a rice cooker. Again, we have much to thank Leonard for not only being helpful with the planning of our itinerary, but for also being a splendid cook! Felt so blissed. ;)Since we were in the company of climbers, how could we miss out on it?! This was, and still is, my sole climbing trip since the beginning of exchange so far. :/ It was a novel experience to climb in the cold + dry. No sweaty palms, no slippery tiles.Watched Matilda the musical for SGD 10. It’s a steal, considering we woke up before the sun was up to be the first in queue. We arrived 3 hours before the box office opened at 10.30am. That’s how long we stood/ sat in the morning chill. My toes were frozen midway through the wait.To WL’s disappointment, we didn’t manage to win the lottery ticket to watch Book of Morman for SGD 40. Hence we didn’t watch it at all.I also lost my beloved glove in London while rushing for the lottery ticket draw. :(2. TOURIST HUNTSHow else can I begin other than the famous London telephone booths? No, posing with the booth is too cliche. I like a lone, bright booth. Take it or leave it. Besides, drunkards conveniently pee inside these booths in the middle of the night when everywhere is closed. Talk about being iconic.CHINATOWN
Greenwich has a feeling altogether different than central London. Walking along the sidewalk through the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, you are brought back to the romantic times of exploration. From sea to space, some of the greatest explorers in history walked the grounds. Our reason for visiting Maritime Greenwich, however, was not to see these incredible sites- although we did and loved them.
Saint James Park
After a good meal, we decided to walk around the city, visited places like Piccadilly, Park Lane, St James Park, Hyde park. Today it was kind of little tiring for us, so we headed back home early, around 8 pm. We picked up some beer from the grocery for home. Back home myself, wifey Daniel and Sugandha had a wine and beer party with some cigars. It was a beautiful evening spent with them, just relieved us from all our tiredness of the day. Finally, bed time as we had a early morning the next day and catch a train to go to windermere.
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.
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!
Lord's Cricket Ground
Well my love for cricket compelled me to write a post on a cricket stadium, but wait this is not an ordinary stadium ! It is one of the most prestigious and beautiful stadium in the world. Yes I am talking about the " Home of Cricket", " Mecca of Cricket"- Lord's. Welcome to LORDS'S
London is definitely not cheap but you can try some budget options. YHA London Central is a hostel accommodation, which is about five minutes walk from Oxford Street. For the search of a budget hotel, the Asian chain Tune will complete your hunt as you will find four low price hotels across the city. Some high end options can be Dorchester, Dorchester, or the Savoy where you can enjoy taste of luxury.
Coming to stay, as usual it was FREE! My host is a brilliant chef and I stayed above their restaraunt. Some home cooked British breakfast & dinner and that's how budget traveling happened in London ;) For street shopping do visit Camden market for its vintage collection, Columbia Road Flower Market.Oxford Street is the city's famous shopping street. Also Trafalgar square. My first visit to Madame Tussaud was in list. You can book its entry ticket online. It' lll cost you around 22 pound.
A great view of the beautiful city of London is Primrose Hill. Buy some food from the markets and come up here to enjoy the afternoon, eat and drink a bottle of wine! It's not far from the London Zoo so if you are heading that way then make sure you stop over!There are always free things to do in a city you just have to do a little research and be prepared to get lost. As my mother used to say "The best things in life are free" and I have to say I agree with her.Much love,Anita HendriekaThis blog was originally published on 'anitahendrieka'.