Cheers everyone! I’m sorry this post is a little delayed, but I finally have time to write about my weekend in London! Kayla and I knew we wanted to make it to London but didn’t know if we would have the time or money. However, when Kayla found out we could stay in her friend, Steph’s, apartment for the weekend, we spontaneously booked a flight and before we knew it, found ourselves in England!
Our flight landed very late Friday night (1:00am, so technically it was Saturday) and we missed the last bus that would take us from Stansted airport to downtown London. Guess it wouldn’t be a real study abroad experience if we didn’t have to sleep in the airport at least one night, right? We were only able to really get an hour of (uncomfortable) sleep and then caught the 4:30am bus to London. We finally made it to Steph’s apartment at 6:30am…as the sun was rising and people were heading to work! Lucky for us, we got to take a quick 3 hour nap and then we were off to explore the wonderful city of London!!
First thing we did when we woke up, was head off to Buckingham Palace to meet my best friend from home, Julia, who is studying abroad in London! It was so awesome to see someone from home!!
Lucky for us, Julia took us on a little walking tour of the city! Here are some pictures of what we saw!!
Although we had bad luck missing our bus at the beginning of the trip, we were lucky enough to have amazing weather in London! It was sunny and 60 all weekend!
Beautiful park across from Buckingham Palace!
Tower of London! Once the location of many executions, now the home of the Royal Jewels!! We didn’t have time to go in but we stopped by!
Everyone recognizes this bridge, and mistakes it for London Bridge! It is actually called Tower Bridge! London bridge is nothing special, but we did walk along the river to see it!
It’s difficult to see in this picture, but this is Millennium Bridge! I referred to it as the “Harry Potter bridge” because it is in the 7th movie! I didn’t know the bridge was real, but it is made for pedestrians to walk across to get to the other side of the river!
Usually I am not a fan of bridges, but we had to take a walk on it and check out the view! In the background: St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana got married)! I wasn’t a big fan of walking on this bridge because you could feel it moving!! Didn’t stay on it too long!
Across the river, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! It is not the actual original theater because it burned down, but it is a replica of what it did look like!
We had the chance to walk around St. Paul’s Cathedral after leaving the river!
Next stop, Big Ben and Parliament!
Then the London Eye!! Unfortunately, Julia had to go after this but she sent Kayla and I off with some places to visit! So very happy I got to see her though!!
We walked around Piccadilly Circus, which is kind of like Time’s Square but on a much smaller scale! This is also where part of the 7th Harry Potter movie was filmed!! (Can you tell I love Harry Potter…?)
Then we visited Covent Gardens! I really enjoyed this part of London and recommend it to anyone looking for a cool place to shop! It reminded me of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market in Boston! There were street performers, lot’s of people walking around, cute shops and good food! We visited this outdoor market in Covent Gardens with a lot of really cool hand made things!
After some shopping & a couple metro stops later, we made it to King’s Cross Station!! And of course we found Platform 9 3/4!!!
In case anyone was wondering, I’m transferring to Hogwarts!!!
Finally….after running around the city, navigating the Tube and shopping, we made our way back to Steph’s apartment in Camden town! (Don’t ask me how we were still awake!) The three of us ventured around Camden Town for a bit (a very nice, artsy part of London that I suggest you visit if you go!) We were told by Steph’s roommates to try this restaurant near their apartment called “Poppies”.
Little did we know that “Poppies” happened to be voted the best fish & chips in London for 2014!! I actually don’t like fish, but Kayla tried the fish & ships, and said it was awesome! I got chicken pot pie, it was REALLY good! The restaurant had a really great environment and had a live band playing music! If you are ever in Camden town, go check it out!
After dinner, we mustered up the energy to go to a pub! (You can’t visit London and not get a beer, right??) Luckily, we stayed in Camden Town and went to this bar up the street called “The World’s End”. It was a big bar, that had an edgy vibe and played rock music! It was a really cool place, and seemed to be where a lot of locals in Camden Town go!
We went to the top level to sit at a table and here is a view of below!
Steph recommended we try the Cider beer…and we loved it!!! After one drink, we all went back early to crash! I never knew a couch could feel so comfortable, but missing a night of sleep can do that to ya!
The next day, we got up early and packed our bags! Unfortunately, Steph was going to be gone all day so we would not be able to get back into her apartment…this meant we had to carry our bags all over London with us!! (My shoulder’s are still sore…) Oh well, it was an adventure!
Our main goal of the day was to find Abbey Road! We hopped on a double decker red bus and headed to Westminster! We didn’t realize there was more than one stop on Abbey Road, so we hopped off at the first stop and started walking…we walked for almost 30 minutes before we found the infamous Abbey Road Studio and crosswalk.
These pictures are for you Dad! xoxo
Below a picture of Abbey Road studio!
Abbey Road is actually a pretty busy street, so it is harder than you think to get a picture like this!
But I did it!
It’s hard to see, but Abbey Road studio is on the left side of the cross walk! This was one of my favorite parts of my trip. The whole time I just kept saying, “this is so cool, my Dad would love this” (Miss you Dad!!!!)
After crossing the infamous road, like the Beatles once did, we headed back to central London! We walked around Big Ben again and saw Westminster Abbey (where Will and Kate got married!)
Then we hiked back to Buckingham Palace (bags included…) to see the Changing of the Guards! It was very crowded!!
Unfortunately, since our bags slowed us down, we were late and had to stand very far away! We were unable to really see what was happening in front of Buckingham Palace but we hung around anyways! After 20 minutes, we decided to head towards the street our bus stop was on that would take us back to the airport. We wanted to have time for lunch before leaving.
And, since Kayla and I seem to have very strange luck, as we were trying to cross the road to leave Buckingham Palace, the police officer helping to direct traffic told us we had to wait until the guards went by before we could cross the street… Leave it to us to be front row…
After this, we grabbed some food and headed to the airport! I still feel like I am catching up on the sleep I missed our first night in London!
Overall, the weekend was amazing. London surpassed my expectations and I am so happy we had the chance to go. Two days was not long enough, and I wish we had more time! I will definitely be making the trip back one day to visit again. The city was beautiful, but very huge! I didn’t realize how bust and crowded it was either! Also, it was nice hearing English everywhere and to be able to read signs and menus again! My only complaint about London was how expensive it was! The exchange rate for the pound is ridiculous! We managed to visit on a budget, however, which was perfect!
I’m not exactly sure how we were able to see so much in 24 hours (running on no sleep) but we did! We saw…Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Gardens, King’s Cross Station and Abbey Road.
I fell in love with London and hopefully will be going back to visit again! Next stop: Paris!!