“If you do not expect anything you will never be disappointed” – I read this sentence somewhere and I agree with it and maybe something more… instead of “you will never be disappointed” I would say “you will be delighted, enchanted”. I think I can sum up my trip to London like that. I didn’t have any expectations and after reading one book I decided that I could not live in London but after my trip to London I can say that London has enchanted me. Maybe “enchanted” is too strong word but London has certainly inspired me.
Aga planned and organized our trip very well. I didn’t have to worry about anything.
Our adventure started (quite early because it was about 5 am) on Thursday. Our flight was at 7 am from Wroclaw to London Stansted. So although we checked-in online, we had to take into account our journey to the airport, parking the car and gate closing at 6:30.
Our flight was according to schedule and without any unexpected adventures. At Stansted airport we found our bus which should have taken us to the centre of London. Unfortunately this part of the trip wasn’t without problems. On the first station in London (far from our destination station) the door in the bus broke down. We found out about the defect after 20 minutes of standing on that station. The driver of our bus said that we could wait for the next bus or we could take the underground. Unfortunately the next bus was full so we had to find the underground station. We had a travel card but only for zones 1-3 and we didn’t know in which zone we were.
We found out that we were in the last station of the third zone so we caught underground and went to Victoria Coach Station. It took us some time to find the right bus to Battersea – the district where we stayed during our trip.
Sebastian found our accommodation by “airbnb” portal. This accommodation was with an English couple who have a one-year-old child and a cat which reminded me of Garfield cat.
We left our luggage and went to visit London. At the beginning we visited Buckingham Palace (unfortunately only from the outside). Then we went to Trafalgar Square where Nelson’s column is located.
After we had taken photos with the lions and Nelson, we went to meet the culture, which means we went to the National Gallery. The entry to the Gallery is for free. We took some photos (a lot with famous Van Gogh’s Sunflowers) and went through Soho to the British Museum. Entry to this museum was also for free. We had a London Pass for three days which was valid from next day.
Agnieszka planned to visit all places which were for free on the first and last day and on the days which were in the middle of our trip we went sightseeing with London Pass. London Pass gives you access to a lot of places where you need a ticket.
That day we were in Chinatown so we wanted to eat something Chinese but we didn’t like the food and restaurant which we found. But Chinatown and Soho are very nice. There are a lot of paper Chinese lanterns. We spent the evening walking in Piccadilly Circus – something similar to our Pillory in Wroclaw – and by walking along the Thames next to the London Eye.
Our London Pass was valid from day two, so on Friday we visited paid attractions. At the beginning we visited Westminster Abbey. This is a huge abbey where all English coronations of kings took place. It took us more than two hours to visit this church. Taking photos is forbidden there so we took a lot of photos outside – Westminster Cathedral, Parliament and Big Ben. The next point of our trip was Churchill War Rooms. In this place, Churchill and his government debated during World War II. We explored underground halls and rooms with an audio guide and we spent a lot of time there (more than planned).
Before we went on the boat cruise, we visited 10 Downing Street where the headquarters of the British Prime Minister are located. This place is protected by a huge steel gate (since the time of Margaret Thatcher) and by the police.
The London Pass offers a City Cruise, so of course we took it. The cruise on the Thames was very interesting. I didn’t expect that English people would speak clearly. I was afraid that I would not understand them but mostly I understood (of course not all but a lot).
That day we visited Harrods also but I was disappointed by this place. For me this place is similar to our shopping centers.
On the next day, after English breakfast (which we ate in the restaurant next to our accommodation), we went to meet culture once again. This time it was a theater. We visited Shakespeare’s Globe. A funny, smart, older man was our guide in the Globe. He told funny stories and what is important – he spoke clearly. When I saw this guy I was afraid that he would speak in aristocratic English (I mean the incomprehensible English accent) but it was another nice surprise – I understood a lot and I had to ask Aga about only single things.
Agnieszka and I wanted to buy a ticket for evening play because the ticket wasn’t expensive (only 5 pounds for standing places and 17-25 for sitting places) but the play which was played was Richard III – this play is not very famous and maybe more important reason was that we didn’t have time for that.
A lot of time on this day we spent on visiting the Tower of London. We visited the castle, prison and exhibition of crown jewels which was crowded.
After visiting Tower of London during eating chips (probably mandatory to have in England) and drinking coffee we decided to change our plans. I have to own up that I decided to change our plans because I thought that on the next days we could not have time to visit the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
We went to Royal Observatory Greenwich by boat because our tickets were valid for 24 hours from purchase.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is placed on the hill from where we can admire beautiful view of London. The weather was nice so the view was great. We visited the observatory with an audio guide. Honestly, in this place the information on the audio guide was too difficult for me. I don’t know if the specialist language or specialist knowledge (maybe in Polish it would be understandable for me) so half through our visit in the observatory I put down the headphones.
We were most interested in “zero meridian”. At the beginning we couldn’t find it. We took photos as most of tourists did – one leg on the eastern hemisphere and the other leg on the western hemisphere.
When we were coming from Greenwich we stopped in Canary Wharf. We wanted to drink or eat something but this district seemed too exclusive, so we admired it from the outside.
Sunday was the last day when London Pass was valid so we chose three of paid places: Kensington Palace (this place wasn’t worth our attention, it disappointed us), Wimbledon (great trip, a little far but worth it, very nice guide –whom Agnieszka fell in love with J but we know that Aga likes guidesJ) and Tower Bridge Exhibition (great place!, I loved it). The view from the Tower Bridge was beautiful. We could see all London and everything that was under our feet (through a glass bridge).
When we came from Tower Bridge we went to Jamie Olivier’s restaurant. We thought it would be expensive because the restaurant looked very exclusive but the prices were as those of the food in Chinatown. The meal in Jamie’s restaurant was delicious.
After supper / dinner in Jamie’s restaurant we felt strong and we could continue our visit of London. We went to the Millennium Bridge (I thought we saw all bridges in the city centre but on that night we knew that we never were in that bridge).
We saw St. Paul’s cathedral by night and spent a good time in the restaurant next to our apartment with live jazz music.
The last day was actually only half a day because we had our flight at 8 pm so we had to leave London at 4 pm. We visited Hyde Park, Oxford Street and Notting Hill. In Hyde Park there weren’t any demonstrations or speeches so for me it was a normal park as in Wroclaw. Notting Hill was great for me but Agnieszka didn’t like it. I was sad that we had so little time for visiting this district. Because we didn’t manage to do the shopping in Oxford Street, we went to Westfield. In this district we found another Jamie’s restaurant – different look, very raw but the same menu.
We had a lovely time in London. I think that I’ll go there again and I think we can plan another trip with Agnieszka… we are good companions 🙂