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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Its the park next to my home, and I must be visiting it once a week for sure. Regents Park is one of the bigger parks in London and the best landscaped one in my opinion. Its located between Baker Street, St Johns Wood, Camden and Kings Cross, with a squarish shape. Its got rose gardens, cherry blossoms, landscaped gardens, walking trails, lakes, football and cricket pitches, the London zoo, running tracks, a theatre, cafes and I don't know what else! Its so green in summer,with colours so vibrant that you actually feel that you have come to the woods and left the whole world behind!
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.
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).
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.
As part of the Lapland in London experience we had an open bar, giving us the freedom to enjoy the venue’s incredible cocktails.After we had successfully made some kind of animal-like lump of ice, we were able to throw on a parka and experience the famed ice bar itself. The tables, bar, artwork, and even the glasses were all made of solid ice! Each person is allowed any one cocktail with admission into ICEBAR, I highly recommend the Temple of the Sun tequila ice cocktail to warm up the insides. The bar is kept at a constant -5 °C (23 °F) so it is cold, but the parka and gloves you are given keep it bearable until the end. The standard visit is 40 minutes long, which is more than enough time to enjoy a drink and enjoy the unique experience. The theme of ICEBAR changes annually; the current theme ‘Frozen Architecture’ features ice carved blueprints and cityscapes, giving it a surprisingly modern feel.
INSIDER TIPSFinally, if you wish to move away from the magnanimous city to a quiet spot from where you can view the city in its entirety, head to the Primrose hill. If you are also in a mood for some people watching and street shopping, visit the Camden town, which is close by. Of course you can also choose to celebrate the night life here. Head to the Soho Street to take a tour of the most authentic pubs in town!
Little Venice is so dazzling! The bright colour of moss growing on the canal might not sound glamorous but it does look amazing. I suggest you start from Warwick Avenue tube station and walk along the canal until Paddington station. You will get to see some very quaint house boats and take some great pictures. It's not quite Venice but thumbs up for trying!Goodwins Court | Tube Station: Leicester Square
Also known as one of the best dining destinations, you can taste several cuisines starting from Mexican, French, Chinese, Italian, to Lebanese. Some of the best London restaurants includes Holy Smoke, Humble Grape, Café Loren, Seven Park Place etc. Street food should definitely not be missed. You must try the Portobello Road Market and the Real Food Market on South Bank.If you are a wine lover then you must check in the Booking Office and Champagne bars at St Pancras.For shopaholics, London is the best place to fill their shopping baskets. Some popular markets include: Borough Market for food and drink Portobello Road Market for antiques and fashion Camden Market for vintage and alternative clothes Colombia Road Flower Market.
House of Spaghetti
Back down the mountain (& through the woods……) to the Spagetti Place we go! Again with my little recommendation: Go here. It’s called House of Spagetti and it’s right in the middle Getreidegasse on the left hand side when walking towards the castle. We just so happened to stumble upon this yummy little dive because we were starving and it looked yummy. I had Gorgonzola Penne with Broccoli and Chicken. YUM-O.
London Gone Wild Pub Crawl
If you want to experience the central London party scene and want to meet up with lots of new people then you can just sign up for one of the pre-planned pub crawls. You can find a lot of pub crawls options online. They generally charge somewhere around £20 and take you to some 5 pubs in Central London + Soho area and you get one free complementary shot (isn't all that strong). Tip: If you book these pub crawls online then you might end up getting discount upto £5 or you can just check the start time and meeting point for these crawls online and then just show up on time and pay. I chose option 2.
Morning Champagne breakfast at the Wolseley. This cafe-restaurant has a grand and opulent setting in an impressive Grade II listed building. It’s well known for it’s breakfast and afternoon tea. Although they have tables for walk-in clientele, it’s advised to book ahead. The full english breakfast is spot on, with perfectly cooked poached egg and pork sausages, delicious.