Over the Christmas holidays, my boyfriend Darren and I went to London for three nights. To say London is an amazing city is to sell it short. You could spend a lifetime there and still not discover all the city has to offer. We arrived at Stansted Airport on Thursday afternoon and got the train to Liverpool Street Station. The tall ceilings and crowds of people made me feel so small. Luckily, London is well sign-posted, so we found the underground station easily enough.
We got Oyster cards and topped them up with £20. You can also use Oyster cards on the buses. Coupling this with the fact that there is a tube every two minutes left me in awe about how easy it is to navigate the city! Tubes go to all the major tourist attractions which are mainly located in Zones 1 and 2. The one thing that freaked me out was the noise of the trains. They sound like they are screaming sometimes.
Once we arrived in Waterloo Station, we made our way to McDonald’s as we needed WiFi to locate our hotel. We knew it was on Waterloo Road but we got a little bit lost. We could see the London Eye from a distance, like a circle of red beads on a necklace. We eventually found our hotel and checked in. By this time, we were both starved. Darren’s friend Amy who lives in London recommended restaurants and bars to try. We ended up in a place called Honest Burger; it was one of the best burgers I had ever tasted, and not just because I was hungry. Afterwards we decided to walk around the city. Finally, we could see Big Ben and it hit me, I had made it to London! We also saw Cleopatra’s Needle, a giant obelisk from Alexandria. It was so tall I nearly fell over trying to crane my neck to see the top of it.
The next day, we had booked the Aquarium, the London Dungeons and the London Eye. I really loved the Aquarium, we spent hours there looking at the sharks, fish and penguins. It was also recently used in a rather dramatic scene in Sherlock (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you). Next was the London Dungeons which I highly recommend. It was like a historical interactive experience with some really talented actors. Some bits were funny, others a bit scary as we were plunged into complete darkness and had jump scares but overall it was so well done.
We went on the London Eye at 5pm that day. It was a bit grey and drizzly but we still got to see the city all lit up, modern glassy skyscrapers juxtaposed against older Victorian or Georgian buildings. For dinner we went to a restaurant called the Breakfast Club, which had very hipster food (there was kale in my wrap, enough to keep me healthy for the next five years). The coolest part of the Breakfast Club however was that if you gave the secret password “I’m here to get lucky”, you are taken downstairs, through the kitchen (honestly I thought it was an elaborate ploy to get us to wash dishes) and into a secret cocktail bar! There were fairy lights strung up and I had a cocktail called Trump’s Toupee, which was topped with a cloud of pink candyfloss.
On Saturday we went to Madame Tussaud’s, which was packed. It was interesting to see how the wax figures are made, and you can go right up and touch them. The Star Wars exhibit was probably my favourite. Then we went outside onto Baker Street and saw 221B where Sherlock Holmes lived and got a picture outside the apartment. We hopped on the tube to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus which were so packed and brightly lit up. That night, we ate in an Italian restaurant called Spaghetti House which had seriously good meatballs. Since we had to get an early night due to the fact our flight was the next day, we met Amy for a few drinks in the Waterloo Tap, a bar right under the railway bridge. Every so often the bar would shake slightly and trains would rattle over our heads.
I was rather sad to leave London. I had an incredible time there, as it is such a big, beautiful and open city. The only fault I had with it was that there aren’t enough bins!