I first visited London in 2010 mid November with only 3 days to spare. It rained the entire time so we spent our days changing loops on the double decker buses taking photos of famous things through misty windows, eluding the wet weather. The trip was made complete by accidentally stumbling upon the final Harry Potter film premiere. From where we stood we could not see anything but we were deafened by the teenage screams.
Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve been living here 6 months on a 2 year working holiday visa (an Aussie right of passage). I’ve spent Monday to Friday earning pretty pennies then tapping on my oyster card Saturday and venturing in to London town to see famous things on foot.
My first weekend saw me catch a train to London Bridge Station to meet an Aussie friend at Tower of London where we lined up to see the crown jewels, armour through the centuries, re-enactments and finally a walk along the walls. The line to see the crown jewels was a long one in the rain which left my hands frozen. And after all that waiting photos were not allowed. I found this a little disappointing. The winding stairs in the armour building were steep and tiny, with a short person like myself having to duck down at times. It was a good journey into the imagination thinking about what life might have been like.
After a couple of hours touring the Tower, the 2 of us then walked across Tower Bridge to the other side in search of food. The search led us through Borough Market down old cobble streets to a cosy pub called Bills, neatly tucked away close to the river Thames. It was so good to be out of the cold wet weather. Both of us settled in for some pie and apple cider and we began to feel human again. Comfortably in a food coma, my gorgeous friend took the escalator down to the Tube whilst I took the stairs up to the Overground home.
A few weeks later I took myself on another adventure, aboard the train to London Victoria station. My first stop was Buckingham Palace to see if Prince Harry was home. He wasn’t and I had just missed the changing of the guard which is held every second day at 11am. I did watch the Queen’s guards and was amazed by how still they remain. I wandered into Hyde Park, eventually my feet led me to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I’ll admit to the road rage I felt walking behind tourist folk. I crossed over the bridge in hopes of getting on the London Eye but the line was long so on I went until I found Waterloo station for my home bound train.
Jumping a few more weeks ahead to a long weekend. This time I had the company of my 2 cousins. We caught the train into London Bridge which sits under the Shard, London’s tallest building. The three of us walked along the Southbank area watching performing acts from magicians to acrobats to musicians. Some of the acts were quite charming and well worth the wait for the show stopping trick. We passed the Modern Tate museum and the Millenium Bridge and finally made it to the Riverfront Bar and Kitchen for some burgers, fries and coke. With our energy restored we walked on past London Eye, which once again had a very long line, retracing our steps back to the train station for our journey home.
In the weekends in between I have fallen in love with the cinema at Shepherd’s Bush Westfield mall, for only £2 extra I have sat in the VIP section which is a leather seat that reclines! I have watched the epic Deadpool, Batman vs Superman, The Jungle Book, X-men Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War and Me Before You. I try to catch a movie the old fashioned way at least one a month, it’s a great way to escape reality.
With the major attractions ticked off my next endeavour is to discover the quirky side of London.