Updated: Jul 20, 2018
“Its London baby!”
Weather and Seasons
Raining in spring, raining in summer, raining in autumn, snowing in winter.
The travel story
London- the city that made me feel at home away from my home. Growing up, my favourite author was Charles Dickens. I have been obsessed with the city ever since and always imagined walking down the iconic city in my boots, shopping at Oxford street, having a beer by the Thames and drinking tea while discussing weather.
April 3rd, 2016 my dream came true.
Like a hot cup of strong tea brewing on the stove, anticipation of my impending journey to a land far away was bubbling through my veins. I could smell the aroma of an adventure about to begin that would change my life forever. Two mammoth suitcases packed with clothes and dreams, my passport, and a pocket full of love from my parents was all I carried away from my room.
I landed at Heathrow Terminal 4 London amidst a million other tourists, professionals and residents. At early hours of the day, Heathrow was full of life. The cold wet London weather smacked me in the face the moment I stepped out of the airport. It was London baby!
The first day of a new life began with a notebook, a calendar and a train stop.
I lived in Brighton, just hour and a half outside London. Every weekend I boarded the national express and came up to London to just walk around the city. Just like in my dreams.
The city has SO much to offer. London is well connected by bus and underground rail, there is really no need to take a cab- they are very pricey.
Tip: www.londondrum.com - this is the most helpful guide on travelling via underground tube.
My first stop was at Waterloo tube station. With the help of google maps, I walked over to the London Eye. There are various ways to visit the London Eye. You can walk over from Waterloo tube station, take a ferry on the Thames and get down at Westminster stop. You can take a bus or a cab directly to the London Eye.
If you have taken the national rail train, you get a discount on the tickets to the London Eye. Even if you have been to numerous other Ferris Wheel, this is a special one. The view from the top is Royal! I think I turned 5 years old in my head as I hopped skipped and jumped around and asked random strangers to take my photo.
Once I had taken in the vision to my heart’s content (you cannot get enough), I walked over to Westminster Abbey. The route took me past the parliament, the Big Ben clock tower and to the Westminster Abbey. At this point I had lost it in excitement and had to video call friends in India and show them around as well, to share my joy.
Funfact: The Big Ben is actually named the Elizabeth Tower. The bell in the tower is actually nicknamed as Big Ben.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, there will be moments when you want a broom to fly across the British Parliament. It oozes Royalty!
On to the Westminster abbey, the famous church standing in all its glory where Kings and Queens have been crowned. Standing alongside the Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament. Throngs of tourists gather outside daily looking at the Gothic architecture and the symbol of the most famous Monarchy in the world.
Tip: Do not buy souvenirs in this area as they are too expensive, there are better stores at some distance.
Onwards, I walked over to Trafalgar Square. At this stage I had walked quiet a bit and decided to spend some time at Trafalgar square, calling up my family and squealing a little bit more about my magical day.
Trafalgar Square is a common public area, it celebrates the English victory in Battle of Trafalgar. The National Gallery is located at this square and hosts thousands of paintings from 13th Century.
From Trafalgar Square I walked over to the Buckingham Palace. At this point, it was evening, my head had mini explosions of excitement all throughout the day, I had only managed to eat some biscuits and I needed to head home soon as I was alone, new and quiet uninformed about travelling alone in a foreign land. I took the scenic route through St. James Park. It was spring time, there was a slight chill in the air, lingering on from the winter, but the air was fresh, crisp and an absolute delight. I have always imagined sitting at a park and reading a novel, but I had to keep walking towards my destination before the sun sets. As the palace comes into view, a sense of fairytale looms in the air. This is the home of the most famous Royal Family in the world. Its a sight to behold and a heritage to acknowledge. The only thing that can be better in this world would be to actually live in the palace.
If you have heard about Cambridge University, chances are you have dreamt about studying there one day. Now I know I don’t have the IQ for that, but I had to visit both these places and pretend for a day, I’ve made it.
My friend and I drove to Cambridge from London. I do not think I have ever wanted to be as academically good in my life as when i stepped onto the grass lawns at Cambridge. The city has a charm that transports you into poetry and I am pretty sure I only spoke in Shakespeare as I slow walked through the streets. A must place to visit when in Cambridge is The Eagle pub. This iconic pub is where the discovery of DNA was announced by Francis Crick and James Watson. The pub has a special ale to commemorate this discovery.
When in Cambridge, the best way to learn about the place is by going Punting. The students at Cambridge row the numerous boats and punt across the campus educating tourists about the history and mischief and the traditions that make this university one of a kind. I have to admit, our student guide was quiet the hottie and I melted into the boat listening to his gorgeous British accent and gaping at his mischievous beautiful smile. I am not sure how much I learnt about Cambridge that day but the mention of Professor Stephen Hawking did bring me back to reality. He frequently stayed at Cambridge and spent time here in his last years. And I was in awe of being able to be within the walls of the city that he spent time in.
One of the best days in London was visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral. They cathedral is beautiful and grand and peaceful. I spent hours inside, sitting at various public areas inside the cathedral and admiring the art that adorned the walls. The most amazing part of the cathedral is probably the climb to the roof of the dome. Over 500 steps to the top, this is a journey worth climbing. The stairs become narrower and steeper towards the top. It was a long climb and when I finally made it, what greeted me was a sight to behold- the London skyline in a perfect postcard frame. I was in love.
If you love shopping and you don’t mind the price tag, Harrods is the place to be. It is a paradise. Walking through the shops, I realised I need to be rich, and I would know I am when I can come to Harrods, shop till I drop and then spend some time at one of the many tea stores inside, discussing designers and cookies. I did manage to fall in love multiple times with the Alexander McQueen collection and I must admit, I did try and walk in slow motion in my head imagining myself to be quiet a celebrity.
The numerous other must see places:
Piccadilly square: busy, big digital billboards, pop culture
Royal Albert Hall: famous concert hall
Hyde park: most famous park in London.
221B Baker Street- Sherlock Holmes address
Greenwich: The latitude that gave us time.
Canary Wharf: Corporate London and big sky scrapers.
Tower Bridge: The iconic bridge of London, also popularly known as the London bridge.
Tower of London: Where they keep our Kohinoor.
Oxford University: One of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Madam Tussauds wax museum: The most famous museum in the world for wax figurines of celebrities.
It would probably take me an entire book to write about my romance with London and the various places to see and to eat and to drink. The city has some of the most amazing restaurants, clubs and pubs.
London is not a city which you visit as a tourist and explore in a week. London is a city you live in and breathe in the history and the culture and fall in love with and call it home. If I have ever found a home, it was here.
Purchase a day travel pass London Zones 1-6 if using underground tube.
Pre book attraction tickets online as they have package offers.
Madam Tussauds has a huge queue. Reach at 9 am when the museum opens as its least crowded then.
Research before hand for best time to witness Guard changing ceremony at Buckingham palace.
Carry an umbrella as it always rains in London.