London, England has always been one of the top places I’ve wanted to travel to and recently my family had the opportunity to. We were planning a family vacation to Greece, but the flights to London were cheap and the flights from London to Athens were cheaper than Athens to Canada. So we decided to make a trip out of it.
We spent five days there and stayed right downtown, near the Paddington underground station. The location of out apartment was perfect, so kudos to my dad for finding it.
The first day we were there was our travel day. We landed around 10 am London time after flying for 7ish hours. So we didn’t do much. We went for fish and chips for lunch then went for a walk in Hyde Park, which turned into a nap in Hyde Park for me and my brother.
The next day (our first full day there) we did a bus tour with the Big Bus tour company. Super touristy, I know, but we got to see all the big tourist places. We saw Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey, the Canadian embassy (lol), Baker Street, Fleet Street. It was a good way to see the town and there was optional commentary on the bus, so we learned a bit about the areas too.
We were also able to do a boat tour with our tickets, so we took a boat down the Thames and saw a bunch of bridges. Our guide said that the one built by women is the only bridge over the Thames to be built on time and under budget, even though it was built with the most expensive material. Don’t know what that says about women being in charge but…
We did some shopping on Oxford Street, but we mainly wanted to just walk around Oxford street and go into the famous stores.
Our second full day we took a trip to Brighton and Beachy Head, which I’ve already written about, so go check it out!
The next day we did a lot of walking. I think this day my mom’s phone pedometer said we did over 30,000 steps, so I earned the ice cream and digestive biscuits I ate before bed (every night. I literally could’ve done an entire post on the ice cream I ate). We saw Buckingham Palace, which is beautiful. It only reaffirmed my childhood dream of being a princess and living in a palace.
Also the guns those guards carry! And the fencing around that building! Ridiculous.
We went to St James’ Park, which is right across from Buckingham palace. You get a great view of the palace, the government buildings, clock tower, and the eye. It seriously looked like something from Disney World.
We also went to the National Gallery. I am a big appreciator of art because I can’t do it to save my life, but I can only do so many art galleries and can only look at so many paintings. That being said, the Gallery has some of the most famous paintings ever, so it was really really cool to be there. We saw some Rembrandt’s, but my sister and I somehow managed to miss the van Gogh’s 😦
However, the building itself beautiful.
I mean look at it. It’s a work of art itself.
To finish our day, we went for a cheeky Nandos. My brother and I literally dragged our family there just so we could say we had a cheeky Nandos. We also went to Speedy’s and the door they use as 221B in BBC’s Sherlock. What can I say, we’re fucking nerds.
The next day, we went to go see the Tower of London, which is so freaking old. Construction started in 1,000!! That’s so old!!! Older than my entire country!! It was honestly really cool to be there. We saw the crown jewels, which were beautiful, but one of the diamonds was stolen from India, so that leaves a kinda bitter feeling. But they were still beautiful and sparkly. We did a beefeater tour to learn some of the history of the tower. It’s a really interesting place. History is so cool and London is so full of it.
The building in the above picture is the oldest wooden building still standing in London today, as it was protected from the great fire. It’s older than Canada, which is so weird to think. Like a building????? is older than my country????? Weird.
We also went to see Platform 9 3/4, because like mentioned we’re all huge nerds. We didn’t stand in line and wear the scarf because the line was so long and I practically dragged my family there and didn’t want to make them wait longer. That evening we went for a walk in little Venice, which is beautiful, and got lost, but yay for Google maps!
Our final day there, we went to Oxford street and did more shopping. We only had a couple of hours between leaving our apartment and heading to Heathrow, so we took a walk through Hyde Park and went shopping and ate digestive biscuits, so it was pretty great. We also saw what my brother called a pseudo-feminist walking down the street yelling “fuck you!” to David Cameron and others. It definitely completed the big city experience.
Overall, I loved London. It’s a beautiful but busy city. The amount of people and traffic can be overwhelming. But it’s honestly all so pretty and picturesque. I loved how there was art everywhere. Literally everywhere downtown, there’s a statue or memorial or something. Even just the buildings are artwork themselves. I love architecture and wanted to be an architect for the longest time, so I was basically in heaven. All the houses are so pretty!
I can definitely see myself going back one day and potentially living there. There’s still so much we didn’t get to see, so another trip will have to occur eventually!
Thanks for reading!