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.
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The London Eye
One of London's most famous landmarks, and a once in a lifetime experience-but not worth trying more than once. However, the views are amazing-especially when the weather is clear and beautiful. I was lucky to go for it during London's heatwave, which meant perfect weather.
Buckingham Palace is the residence of the Queen of England. No matter what time of the day you show up at the palace gates, it will be packed. Although the iron gates always stay bolted shut, a glimpse at the Queen's residence is enough to have you gaping. Plus, the change of guard is something worth checking out, though I'm not too sure of the exact time of day it happens.
London has some of most famous tourist attractions of the world. You should not miss the British Museum, which includes collections like mummies in the Ancient Egypt, Parthenon sculptures, and Rosetta Stone. Other popular museum includes Natural History Museum, Science museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and Royal Museums, If you are an admirer of classic art then you should surely visit the National Gallery.
Contrary to popular belief, Tower bridge is not London bridge. London bridge is an ordinary-looking bridge that was built in 1973, and is walking distance from borough market. Tower bridge on the other hand is located at Tower hill tube station and is painted in white, blue and red for Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee in 1977. And because it spans across the River thames, it's extremely windy and cold during winter (there's a Starbucks on the lower south side of the Thames if you need to grab your cuppa warm joe to bear the chills).
From here, you can end off your day by walking down to Trafalgar square before the sun sets during the winter days. It's a public square with Nelson's column in the centre, and surrounded by four lion statues on the four corners; often used for demonstrations, celebrations (e.g. St Patrick's day celebrations!) or community gatherings. Loving the purplish pink gradients which adorned the sky, looking back it looks extremely surreal.
The Museums: London houses some of the best museums of the world and most of them don’t have an entry fee. The National Gallery is home to more than 2000 works of art. The plush Tate Modern and Tate Britain are also jaw dropping. Once in London the Science Museum is also worth a dekko which has seven floors of educating and entertaining exhibits.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Even if you have left none of these unexplored, it is another thing to appreciate their grandeur at nights. So you can also choose to spend the evening at the tower bridge. High rise buildings like the Shard and St. Paul's Cathedral are visible from the bridge. All these are well lit in the evenings and quite enticing. Further, to spice up your visit, walk to the haunted tower of London from Tower Bridge. Belief has it that its appearance grows spookier by the night. But during my first visit to the tower, I wasn't even aware of such facts. And nothing seemed abnormal.
The Markets: To get acquainted with London, one should visit the numerous markets in its periphery. Covent garden is one place where one gets to shop amidst vibrant outdoors on cobbled stone paths and upmarket boutiques. Various other markets worth a visit are Chinatown, bricklane Market and kids will certainly enjoy visiting Mudchute and Vauxhall farms. Window shopping in upscale areas Oxford Street and Bond Street are a shoppers delight.
Harrods is an upmarket department store located on Brompton Road. A quick stole to indulge in the luxury. This store also houses the Godiva chocolates (Godiva is a manufacturer of premium chocolates) A hot chocolate here could be worthy.Don't miss to take a picture with the Harrods Bear.
Taking the tube down to London bridge, Borough market is definitely one of the places in London that I miss greatly for it's wide range of gourmet treats and alluring carts of delicacies (missing the Banoffee pie immensely, if only R could pack it back from London). I'm no food connoisseur myself, but even if you're full from lunch, you can always score some free samples before making your purchase decision or get nuggets of trivia from the friendly store owners.
This place is the heart of Central London. With all the street shows happening and people walking around and the souvenirs shops - every tourist in London must experience this place. Tip: best time to visit this place is post midnight because that's when this places is alive with the people partying and the pub crawls happening.
London Bridge – Do you secretly want a life that is a direct jump from the Mills & Boons novels? Then London Bridge can be the perfect option to try something romantic. Something that you would not do in your regular life, the indulgence that you can afford only on holidays. Well what would that be? Running from either side of the London Bridge to meet your loved ones whom you haven’t seen for months or even years. The hug, the smile it is worth the while. So let the sparks fly and show your love because that gets lost somewhere in the hustle bustle of life.
Get off at Canary Wharf and change over to the DLR. Hop off at Cutty Sark, climb out the station and you will be transported to a completely new place away from the buzz and crowds that define city of London. Here at Greenwich, you see quaint tea rooms, proper pubs and the vibe of a little seaside resort. Ideal as a day trip from London, it is amazing how 15 minutes on the DLR can bring you to a whole new place.
And if shopping is one of things on your mind, make sure you visit Camden Market. Its practically a maze, a gigantic maze, with stores that sell almost anything that you can think of. Books, clothes, cameras, posters, handmade goods, costumes, memorabilia, art, jewelry. Old things, new things. Strange things you may never have seen before. An old camera. A Banksy print. And then, the food market. The place is a congregation of cuisines from across the world, and I am not exaggerating. You can take your pick from Italy, Spain, Africa, India, China, Vietnam. Or you can dig into a home-made cake. Or sit down on the pavement for a cup of coffee, or a glass of cold beer. Camden is like a jigsaw puzzle with bits and pieces of London all joined together to form an eccentric, exuberant whole. Like the city itself. Eccentric. Exuberant. Impossible to contain in words.
Primrose Hill is a very small park just adjacent to Regents Park on its north-east end. There is nothing too impressive about it except that in the middle of the park there is a hill where you can get a birds eye view of London. This place is again a favourite of mine, its great to sometimes just sit there and look at the city - very quiet, very relaxed and very calm!
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
Day 4 in London: I'm a big cricket fan and if you're cricket fan in England, there's one place you just cannot miss. The Mecca for all cricket lovers; The Lords Stadium. I went in for the tour at 11 am (They have hourly tours in the morning and afternoon from 10 am - 2 pm). The tour started with the Long hall, proceeded to the players' dressing rooms & balconies, and ended in the media center. The entry fee and tour is £18/person.
The best way to get around Central London is to just walk. The alternative to walking is the National Rail/ Underground and Buses. Taxis can burn a big hole in your pocket and is highly not recommended. It takes some time to figure out the National Railways and the Underground routes however the the below two apps/ website provide accurate information with respect to the route and the timings for trains/underground/buses:Google Maps; or https://tfl.gov.uk/Another website that provides useful information with travel information, events and tickets is www.visitlondon.com.Trip Itinerary:Day 1: Tower Bridge, London Eye, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Soho, Liecester Square, Picadilly Circus, Pub Crawl
I love visiting these parks. Whenever the sun is out (and sometimes when it isn't!), its a pleasure to walk around the parks, taking in all the freshness! So I thought it would be a good idea to pen down my thoughts about the ones visited in recent years. When I am in a park, I don't take many photographs, as it seems so mundane. But now when writing the blog, I realied how few pics I have of them. Still found some pics of the ones close to my house which were visited more often ;-), so at least there is something to post!
There are loads of things to keep you busy - there is a Speakers Corner if you are keen to hear people speak, boating and swimming in the lakes, Kensington Palace on one end which is now a museum to Diana, two cafes (Lido and Serpentine again I think), sunbeds to sit out in the sun, or you can just run/roller blade around the park for a total of 7 kms!
Royal Observatory Greenwich
The main goal was to climb up to the Royal Observatory, perched on a hill overlooking Greenwich with spectacular views of London. There stands the Prime Meridian Line, that invisible line of longitude that separates our earth into two hemispheres. The highlight of the Royal Observatory is the Prime Meridian Line, but it is also home to Greenwich Mean Time which is why it has been given the nickname ‘the home of time’. Flamsteed House is another worthwhile attraction, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and once functioned as the home of some of history’s most influential astronomers. Unfortunately, the Royal Observatory is no longer an official residence of astronomers as the lights from London have become too bright.
Hampstead Health is again a huge park in the northern part of London. Surprisingly, all the parks have a different character to it. Hampstead is almost like a jungle - with hills and dense forests and so on. It has a couple of ponds which are quite popular for swimming in the summer.
London marked one of the best culinary experiences in my trip! The metropolis has so many dynamic shades to experiencing food that one trip also seems short. Its food scenes seemed to have been changing before my eyes so rapidly, that while one day Aldwych was the hub, another day the street food at Charlotte Street attracts the crowd. While I roamed with a foodie heart all around London, I discovered all sorts of gastronomically exuberating experiences! From East End to Convent Garden, from having the best of English afternoon teas to basking in the summer sun on rooftop bars, from enjoying secret speakeasies on rainy gloomy days to exploring the best bars and underground gin palaces... I just could not get enough of London. And to add to this are the ever evolving food trends like molecular gastronomy to the quirkiest of cafe-concepts and all of this in one city, where, of course, I did not miss a single chance to gorge on the culinary excellence at Michelin-starring world’s best restaurants!
Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Gardens has loomed large in my imagination ever since, and when I went to London on a recent trip with my family I urged them to stop by.Now you should know that Kensington Gardens are huge. Running seamlessly into Hyde Park they combine in a total 625 acres. There is so much to see, and we barely scratched the surface. We arrived in the late afternoon of a gorgeous May day. Wandering down a wide asphalt path, we came close to a hub of activity where joggers and families out for a stroll swirled around a collection of fountains and water flowers.
We like to walk through the various areas of the greater London area. One of the best walks was from the subway station in “Mile End” (Eastern London), along Regent’s Canal, to Islington. We went through old industrial areas, an old landfill, through the beautiful Victoria Park and ended up in the posh area of Islington.
Tavistock Street has a hidden gem that not many people know about. It is home to the oldest recorded street sign in London dated back 1636! It's very hard to find though so keep your eye out. It is located at the very top of the buildings numbered 34-38. You will see a blue plaque at number 36 saying 'In 1821, Thomas de Quincy(1785-1859) wrote 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater'. When you see this you're not looking high enough! Stand on the other side of the road and you will see a white plaque. It's very hard to see in direct sunlight and quite hard to get a photo of but mind-blowing when you see it and think about when this was dated back to.Check out the Markets throughout London