The best way to get around England would be to book your stay in its magnificent capital city, London. Of course, your stay here might be slightly more expensive than in other places, which aren’t so main stream. But you will certainly appreciate the ease with which you will find frequent transportation to all other parts of the country.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit London is from May to July
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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!
The next stop was the Globe Theatre, also known as Shakespeare’s Globe, built in the 16th century! Walking in, I looked up to see the blue skies peering down through the open wooden structure. The seats were simple benches facing a round stage in the middle of the theatre. The audience erupted in laughter and claps, as the actors took to the stage, improvising with minimal props and costumes, entertaining the crowd.We came out of there snapping pictures of us posing by the riverbank. Coming back to the hotel, I recharged my camera, and gathered up my belongings for our next adventure a little out of London. Stratford upon Avon is the home of renowned playwright, Shakespeare. One of the major tourist attractions is the home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, and her family. It was a cute little cottage surrounded by beautiful lush, green gardens. There are about twelve modestly sized rooms, with very low ceilings. The tour guide told us this was because most people were quite short back then!
Kings Cross SU Bar
The Baker Street tube station has walls painted with excerpts from the Sherlock Holmes novels and is, in itself, a place well worth a visit. Take the tube now to King's Cross. This is again a place which needs no introduction. The crowds at Platform 9 3/4 are massive and you will find queues waiting to get a photo with the trolley half mashed into the wall. Instead, walk into the Harry Potter store, and marvel at the Firebolt and the Elder Wand, indulge your inner nerd and splurge on Gryffindor jumpers. Then take the escalators to the food court upstairs, grab a bite and look over the magical place where The Boy who Lived, once took the train to Hogwarts.
During our walk we saw a great deal of modern blocks of various architectural quality, side by side with houseboats, boardwalk environment and small, green spots with grass and trees. Everywhere there were trendy cafés where the young and hip ad-agency people, artists and “creative types” were sitting with their iPads, checking e-mails, or a copy of “The Observer” as they sipped their organic juices and coffees. One of the things that really fascinates me about London is the fact that there is so much history. Originally founded by the Romans about 2000 years ago, the “current London” is literally built upon the ruins of millennia and ever so often remains from the past, even of a significant, historic value, are found and being excavated. In medieval times London developed into one of the most important cities in Europe and the list of brutal, reckless kings that have ruled England from here is long! In the older areas of the city you find many buildings dating back 500 years or more. As already mentioned, several pubs are centuries old, and many of them make quite an effort to inform you just HOW old they actually are, and which prominent, historic figures that have come and gone over the years. It IS actually exciting! Imagine to sit by the same table as William Shakespeare, drinking a pint of lager. There are quite a few arguments about which pub that can rightfully claim the title as “London’s oldest pub”. No one knows for sure. But there are a handful of pubs in the central part of the city that have had their license at least since the 1660´s. No matter which one is the oldest, I find that rather impressive. I do not think that there will be many of the present day “shopping street pubs” around 350 years from now. But in the center of London they live and work “in the middle of history” every day!
From Sugandha's house we did a small walk till Canary Wharf Pier. Pier is basically a boat station from where you can get into a boat to go from one place to another in London. These boats are quiet fast, cheap, comfortable and scenic. We spontaneously decided to do a boat ride to Greenwich, instead of the train or bus. And the boat ride was all worth it.
Moving on, we enter the station platform and are ready to board the train to go to Leicester Sq. With 2 big bags and 2 hand bags, it was a cakewalk to board the train; moreover it was afternoon so it wasn't rush hour. The train journey was quiet comfortable and smooth and we reached our destination in exactly 1 hour 10 minutes, at around 3 pm. We called up Sugandha after reaching the station, our friend in London and the person we are supposed to stay with for the 4 days we are in London. She came to pick us up; her office was walking distance from the station.We dropped our bags in her office and went for some coffee. Over coffee, Sugandha suggested us places we can visit over the next 3 hours in and around Leicester Sq, since after 3 hours Sugandha was supposed to get off from work and we were supposed to go to her place in Lime house (DLR Line).
The pergola was built in 1906 and was one of Lord Leverhulmes ideas. He wanted to build a legacy, so decided that the pergola was a great idea. Over the years there were many extensions of this fantastic structure but sadly after his death the Pergola was forgotten. This place is now overgrown by wild flowers and vines and looks absolutely amazing. It has such a eerie feeling to it and I wouldn't of thought this secret place would still exist in London.Listen to the protests in the speakers corner in Hyde Park | Tube station: Marble Arch
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.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
Places to see in Greenwich and its a must see are the Royal Observatory, Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich park and the town center. It took us about half a day to see all places. At about 2pm we decided to head towards London town from Greenwich and walk around in the city. We decided to take the boat trip again; Sugandha decided to head back home, myself and wifey took the boat trip to London eye pier. We were really hungry for the afternoon, so decided to look for a nice English restaurant and we did find one. We had some chilled English beer and fish and chips (must eat in this part of Europe). There was nice music, a lovely ambience and perfect feel of a good English pub.
St Pancras Old Church
As you enter the interior of St Pancras Old Church, you won’t be blown away by high-vaulted ceilings and murals done by internationally renown artists, but you will have the opportunity to walk along a floor that that has seen 1700 years of change. This is not to say it isn’t beautiful, for a church that has overcome bombings during World War II, several railroad constructions, and restoration after restoration, the simplicity suits it well.
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!
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.
ICEBAR London is right off London’s Regent Street, a stone’s throw from Picadilly Circus and home to some of the best shopping in the city. I was relieved to find it almost hidden from the hustle and bustle of the area, and not at all touristy like I expected. (I went to the Icebar in Amsterdam, and though it was fun, it was very touristy.) Walking in I was surprised to find an upscale lounge, with draping fabrics, cozy seating, and a private bar. Our event was sectioned off with a curtain, giving it the feel of a VIP room while still enjoying the energy of the room.
Big Easy Bar BQ & Crabshack
It is located a stone throw away from Covent Garden station! You won't miss it when you arrive at Maiden Lane :) We were greeted warmly throughout our whole dining experience! The servers are all dressed in checkered shirt, a huge smile at all time! Thumbs up!! Im loving the whole concept of BE Covent Garden. This is not the only bar! The other is at the lower ground, which looks pretty cosy! Overall, it was fantastic! Great atmosphere, food and service! Thank you Big Easy for the experience of dining in.
Well all of us know about the London eye and Madame Tussauds and the Big Ben and the Buckingham Palace and so on and so forth. Of course, these places are wonderful. But its so many other things of London, which I fell in love with. The Barbican street food market where i gorged on almost everything so amazing, and where the stall owner happily sold me a plate for half price since it was closing time. Witnessing the Grand old Cutty Sark while biting on Churros with chocolate sauce by the riverside. Eating at Nandos.
The Berkeley Health Club & Spa
Afternoon A leisurely afternoon at the Bamford Haybarn Spa in the lovely Berkeley Hotel. I highly recommend the Bamford De-Stress Massage (55 mins £100). This was one of the best massages I’ve experienced, even after having a countless number in Thailand and Bali. After my masseuse asked me which areas I wanted her to focus on, she really took care and succeeded in releasing the tension from my shoulders and back. The cucumber water on arrival, the thick, soft, white towels on the large massage bed, the ambiatic music and dimmed lights, this all made for a very special pampering session. The design of this spa is simple, fresh and elegant. Afterwards, lounging at their impressive rooftop pool area in a thick, cosy bathrobe is a wonderful way to relax. A menu of small snacks and healthy smoothies are available to choose from, delivered right to your sunbed. Heavenly.
This time of the year is all good old-fashioned english tradition. and it doesn't get much better than the superbly evocative Hazlett's hotel(hazlettshotel.com). Named after prolific essayist Willian Hazlitt, who lived here in the 18th century , it occupies three historic house just off Soho Square.
St. Martin's Lane
It is a little hard to find but it is the cutest, tiniest alleyway I have seen. It looks like a set out of Harry Potter with old school lanterns hanging all the way down. This alleyway is off St Martins Lane , make sure you look carefully because there is no sign saying the street name! It's strangely quiet as well. My friend and I just sat there in silence and we couldn't hear the chaos of London that surrounded us.
Yauatcha is not the type of Chinese restaurant where you eat duck and dumpling soup. There is quite a ceremony around each dish and every plate arriving made me more curious and excited to know what was inside! The first surprise was the Dim Sum looking like cotton balls :p Wondering what’s inside? Well, you’ll have to taste to find out. The goal of an evening at Yauatcha is to awake your senses and taste a few plates of dim sum before having the duck (which you MUST try). The price was pretty decent considering portions fill you up and service and quality or perfect and… it is a Michelin restaurant. We had 2 cocktails, 4 plates of dim sum and one duck to share and ended up with approximately £70 bill. You can chose to dine upstairs which is more casual or downstairs, which is more high-scale