Quick visit to London

by - 4:00 PM

Things usually don't go as planned. My trip to London was one of them. Me and my friend Ana had been preparing and organizing every single detail, from accommodation to attractions and even journeys for the longest time. In fact, we even came up with the most thorough schedule you can imagine. Nevertheless, I am grateful things didn't go as expected because it lead us to discover incredible places and do things that we were not even counting with.

April 4th

After saying goodbye to my family and crying a little, my friend's parents drove us to the airport. We were going to fly with Ryan Air which, of course, had to be on strike that day. However, things were not as terrible as we were anticipating and our plane was only delayed by one hour and a half. We arrived at Stansted Airport and ate a burger while awaiting transportation. We first managed to see London's beauty at around 10pm. We stayed in an hostel in a beautiful street in Victoria, which, needless to say, is a great central area; we even managed to find a few Portuguese people there!

April 5th

  • Buckingham Palace
A quick trip to the impressive Royal Residence.

  •  Green Park and Hard Rock Cafe
Admiring gates, memorials and fountains, followed by the iconic café.

  • Hyde Park
Undoubtedly, one of my favourite parts of the trip. Honestly, I had never imagined that a lake could be that blue. I was also astonished by the amount of ducks, swans, squirrels and other animals (still wishing I had seen a fox though!). The overall park's beauty was indescribable. The weather was so nice (so sunny and warm) that we stayed a long time there contemplating every detail. We also managed to find a gorgeous cherry blossom tree.

  • Mayfair's comercial area: lunch, souvenirs and more shopping
    • Oxford Street: In the busiest shopping street in Europe, you are able to find everything you might be looking for. Moreover, stores are absolutely insane, with four or five floors and window displays as incredible.
    • New Bond Street: The fanciest and most expensive stores. Victoria's Secret, for instance, in addition to 5 floors, also contains a 'museum' as it displays dresses worn in shows. Everything is so nicely decorated with mirrors and dark spaces and the staircase, oh the staircase (it is made of glass). Even if you're not planning on buying anything, I totally recommend having a look at the decoration!

  • Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square
    • M&M's World: a very customizable and tempting space where you can select your favourite types and colours of candy and mix and match them!

    • Chinatown, which we completely found by chance was also beautiful. One thing I actually noticed in London is the fact that when changing areas, you totally feel like you are in a completely different country.

  • Charing Cross Road
Foyles is, not surprisingly, as impressive. There are so so so so many different areas with different genres that you will find any book you might be after. There is also a café in the last floor.

  • Tottenham Court Road Station
Our first time using the tube! We were so tired we decided to go back to our hostel and rest for a while.

  • Walk by the river
We saw Tate Britain (a plan for next time, for sure), Victoria Tower Gardens (it was such a relaxing space, I adored it), Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and of course, the Big Ben (which is being restored). 

  • Dinner
By the time we got to our final destination, the sun was setting so we decided to have dinner at Tortilla, in Trafalgar Square. We also made a quick visit to Waterstones, where we bought some very affordable books.

  • Nocturnal sightseeing
We crossed Hungerford and Golden Jubilee bridges, stopped to watch a magician's show, and took pictures around London Eye. We were way too tired (I mean, we had walked 30km that day), so we took the tube again, arrived at the hostel and slept like logs.

April 6th

  • Change of Guards
Buckingham Palace, again, yes. The change of guards involves horse parade, followed by a band playing, which are all pretty amusing. However, if you don't arrive early, you won't be able to see much. My advice is to get a place either in front of the main entrance (if you want to see the final change) or next to it (if you want to see what is happening inside the palace's gates).

  • Starbucks break near St James Park Station
They managed to write my name correctly this time (maybe due to asking me to spell it...........).

  • Lunch
At Bagels Factory in Hays Gallery, I was served with the best bagel I have ever eaten. If you're vegetarian you should definitely try the 'Halloumous' one, it is to die for!

  • Tower Bridge and Tower of London
Tower Bridge was my other favourite spot. The weather that day was also incredible: I even managed to be able to wear a dress! But honestly, that area is just too lovely; there is also a park next to it where you can relax and enjoy the view.

  • More shopping!
Victoria's Secret again (I think you might be able to tell my excitement by now). Smoothie break at McDonalds. Some more shopping and sightseeing around that area.

  • Departure
We came back to the hostel to pick up our luggage, headed to the coach station and so our journey to Colchester, where I am living now, began. Overall, we walked 15 km that day.

Final Thoughts:

London is mainly consisted of two extremes: the fanciest and the trashiest. 
Don't assume people around you don't understand you. You might find someone who speaks your language when you least expect it. It's better to try and avoid awkward situations (talking by experience.....).
Even if you're taking the tube everywhere, you still have to walk sooooo much.
The city seems 'dead', with no nature at first; but it compensates with enormous parks, gardens and lakes.

I really had a great time in London, and this very short visit only made me more eager to explore more of this city's mysteries and views.

I hope you enjoyed this type of post because I would love to make more travel related content.
See you next week,
Irene xx

* Some of the previous pictures were taken by my friend Ana

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