I love seeing the big touristy sights when I travel; when I’m back at home and I see an iconic landmark like Big Ben on TV, I’ll think ‘I’ve been there!’ and reminisce about my trip. So, a fleeting 3-day visit to London was packed with so many great bucket-list places.
My arrival into the UK wasn’t the greatest with a near 2 hour wait in the immigration queue, something I've never experienced, however my immigration officer was very welcoming – not something you get very often!
I highly recommend a bus tour or a hop on hop off bus pass to get oriented with the city. I caught a morning London tour that visited the Albert Memorial, Kensington, the Changing the Queen’s Lifeguard ceremony, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, Big Ben and then ended at Trafalgar Square. From there I headed down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, then to Harrods. This amazing department store is definitely worth a look whether you’re the shopping type or not!
The next day was a walking tour starting at St Paul’s Cathedral then across the Thames via the Millennium Bridge which gives a great view of the city over the river. Walked along the southern bank of the Thames passing by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and stopping in at the very popular Borough Market for lunch on the way to the Shard. Europe’s tallest building offers spectacular views of the city from its observation deck. After the Shard I headed back to the river banks and back across the Thames via the iconic Tower Bridge, even got to see the road raise up for a boat to pass.
I caught the ferry on the Thames to Greenwich Village for the afternoon. I loved to see the old merchant warehouses now converted to apartments from the river. Greenwich is such a lovely peaceful area with lots to see, you easy spend a whole day here. The Cutty Sark, 19th century sailing ship, National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory Greenwich (watch the time ball drop at 1pm) and the Greenwich Markets are some of the great things to see there. Caught the ferry back to Westminster (great view of the London eye) and then finished the day with a nice stroll through Hyde Park and the Kensington Palace gardens.
An Oyster card is the best investment for London, it’s their version of a re-loadable payment card for public transport. Not only for the cost savings (fares with an Oyster are approximately half price) but the convenience is the real winner, not having to muck around with coins and tickets, just tap on and tap off through the gates – like a local!
And then my time in London was up, with so many places left to explore too! I departed London in style, whisked away on the Eurostar to Paris. Much more relaxing that flying and quicker too without the time it takes to get through airport security.
Next time I’m in London I would like to take a ride on the London Eye, visit Notting Hill, take a day trip out to Bath, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge and check out a few more of their pretty pubs!