I fell in love with this city fast- the style and nature of the people, the buildings and just the general vibe of the city, stylish with a grungy edge. Plus the shopping, oh my the shopping, but shall get on to that later. We (I traveled with my highschool bestie B, you can read her travel blog here) were very blessed with the weather- apparently it was a very mild winter this year and thus we were treated with sunshine and only two rainy days during our entire trip. We stayed in a little apartment in Hammersmith, which was a short walk from the underground station, a Marks & Spencer and various bars and cafes. We spent a little under a week in London and here are some of the highlights:
Kensington Palace and The Orangery
This was the first attraction we visited, the former home of Princess Diana. It was closed to the public the day we went but you could still take snaps from the outside. The Orangery, however, was open, a beautiful (but expensive) place where you can have high tea. We both treated ourselves to a slice of cake and juice whilst soaking in the posh atmosphere.
I had no idea what Piccadilly Circus looked like, so when I stepped out from the underground (if you plan on using the underground a bit, get yourself an Oyster Card, makes travel much easier and cheaper) I was caught by surprise, and my love for the city grew. It was like New York's Times Square except with red double deckers driving around.
Hop On- Hop Off Tour
A ticket costs us £26 each, and at the time they were running a promotion which meant the ticket was valid for two days. I would recommend doing this; it takes you around to all the major sites (e.g. Big Ben, London Eye) and includes a River Cruise Tour too. Additionally, being able to hop on and off as you please means its an easy way to get around the city. And a touristy perk- you can tick off riding a red double decker bus off the list.
Entry was £16. This was a surreal tour, there are so many tombs in there that its hard to imagine its real. Plus it was also weird to be standing where the royal wedding took place, just thinking about the emotions and the buzz that would have been felt here just last April.
I have mixed feelings recommending this one- it was a lot of fun muking around and taking pictures but it is pretty expensive (£30) and we waited for approximately an hour in the line (and we are travelling during off peak). There are few additional attractions on top of the celeb figures, such as a ride that takes you through London's history and short 4D film.
This is going to sound like a total plug but out of all the bars/pubs we went to this was by far my favourite. The bartenders are so nice and introduce themselves to you as you get served and try their hardest to learn your names. When we later asked one of the bartenders why they do that he stated, "Its just polite". Maybe we were lucky or visited on a good night but the whole vibe of the place was very friendly- both the staff and fellow patrons. We spent our first night there getting insight of what to do and see from some patrons, tips that they thought may not be covered in trip guides. The second night we visited, it was like we were visiting friends. If you are looking for a place to go at night I highly recommend going here (and while you are here try the Irish Disco Biscuit- recommended to us by some patrons).
Camden Markets were awesome, an eclectic mix of stores and stalls. You can find new stuff, retro and vintage pieces, and punk and alternative clothing. I recommend this to shopaholics that have a streak of quirkyness or are slightly experimental in their style. Also, don't be afraid to haggle. I must share the biggest bargain I found- a ski jacket that cost me only £3! It came in so handy whilst I was travelling through the Swiss Alps (just casually drop that in their like its whatevs for me to travel through the Alps).
H&M- I love love. Hurry up and come to Australia. Cheap and trendy- plus we came during sales so extra cheap. Another cheap store was Primark- when we visited here my suitcase was beyond full so going here was a little painful cause I had to pass on soo many bargains.