Hi there my pretty sunshines!!🖤 How have you been?
Today I’m talking about one of my favourite topics: TRAVELING! And travel planning, of course! I love to plan, especially when I want to see so many things in little time.
So, a year and something ago (May 2015) I went to London for the first time and since I was a kid that I wanted to go so badly! As you can imagine, I had a bunch of places that I knew I wanted to visit, to see or just to be there. So I started planning my days in London, and that’s what I’m going to share with you because I could see everything and every place I wanted to go and I hope this can help you see everything or select the things you want to visit.
Day 1: (Madame Tussauds | Regent’s Park | Little Venice | Paddington)
We arrived at Stansted airport at 9h45 a.m. and took the Easybus to Central London (Baker Street). Easybus is a very cheap way for you to get from the low cost flights airports (Stansted, Gatwick and Luton – between 9£ and 15£ for 2 people) to the Central London and I enjoyed the ride! It’s a small bus but it has a space inside so you can put your luggage.
We arrived at Baker Street (near Madame Tussauds) and we walked a little bit (15min) to get to the Hotel where we would stay. It was the Glendale Hyde Park Hotel in Paddington. I really recommend this Hotel specially for its location and price (405£ for 5 nights)! It’s really on the corner of Paddington Station where you can find trains, bus stops and the Underground Station. Oh and of course, Hyde Park is just around the corner <3 The owners and workers of the Hotel are really helpful and nice people. Always welling to help you at anytime! We couldn’t do the check in yet because it was early so they let us put our luggage in a room and we went to the first attraction: Madame Tussauds!
We bought the tickets online because you have a great discount (you can buy 2 attractions for less money) and because you avoid all the waiting lines. We just checked in at Madame Tussauds and enter through a special elevator!! After that it’s as if you we’re on a private event with all of your favorite idols! Lots and lots of photos happened in here as you can imagine! Loved the whole experience! It’s like an amusement park and you can compare your height to your idols’. It was really a fun thing to go to.
After that we went up to Regent’s Park. This is when I knew “I want to stay here forever”! How can a big city park can be so calm and quiet! Loved all the green nature, the flowers and of course the gates! They’re beautiful and really well maintained. And of course we spotted our first squirrel!!! They’re so freaking cute!!!
After walking on the Park, we walked through the canal that leads to Little Venice. After that we just went back to Paddington to do the check in at the hotel! “While in England be an English!“, so that’s what we did. We went to The Pride of Paddington Pub for a beer before dinner! Very nice and fun staff! After that we had dinner at “Bizzarro” an Italian Restaurant really affordable with amazing food.
Day 2: (St. Paul’s Cathedral | Millennium Bridge | Shakespeare’s Globe | Borough Market | London Bridge | Tower Bridge | Tower of London )
Day two, and we are on fire!! You might say “So many things in one day? How could you do it?”. Well I’m going to explain: this was kind of a low cost trip so me and my boyfriend decided that we will only go to the attractions/museums that were free, except for Madame Tussauds and London Eye (because it’s cheaper online and if you buy the two attractions).
First of all we went to the Paddington Underground station to buy the Oyster Card! We bought a 7 day Travel Card because it was so much worth it since we were going to be there for 6 days. It was 32,10£ for zone 1 and 2 and you can use the Underground, buses and have discount on boats. If you return your card in the end of your days in London you get a 5£ refund.
So, after buying the Oyster Card, we got into a bus at Paddington heading to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We prefer to go buy bus because it’s almost like a sightseeing kind of trip. You can see other places or places you want to go to another day.
Arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral, we only took photos from the outside because you have to pay if you want to visit inside. But it’s an amazing and beautiful cathedral at least from the outside.
Next we went across the Millenium Bridge. This is the most recent bridge over Thames River. After you cross it to the other side you have the amazing view of St. Paul’s Cathedral perfectly aligned with this bridge! Next we were heading to Shakespeare’s Globe. I love Shakespeare, especially the time he lived. And I think this theatre takes you to the time when Shakespeare lived. It looks like a pretty and big barn. Loved it. Once more we only see this from the outside.
After we walked to the London Bridge just to see it and take some photos, we weren’t crossing to the other side again!
Heading to the Borough Market we walked by some beautiful places as you can see. We came across the Clink Prison Museum but it wasn’t one of the this “we had to see” so we skipped it. As we got to the Borough Market I was thrilled. The smell of amazing food, the colors of a gigantic diversity of fruits and vegetables! I got lost in here! Everything just looked so good and the smell was incredible! After thinking and thinking about what I wanted to eat or drink, I decided to go for a fresh berries shake! It was so damn amazing! I could drink bottles of it!! I think it only cost me 2£. I was so happy here.
After we we’re heading to the Tower Bridge and on the way we spotted The Shard (the tallest building/sky scrapper of all Europe). Since we already had tickets to the London Eye and we didn’t have much money to spend we left it for another time. We crossed the majestic Tower Bridge (and took the typical Tower Bridge photos XD ) and we got to the Tower of London (where the crown jewels are kept). This was a paid attraction so we skipped the inside visit but I’m sure it’s worth it.
Next we took a boat on the Thames River and went to the London Eye!! After waiting maybe 20min to half an hour in line we entered one of the London Eye’s booths. And here we go!! The sight is really worth it!! You can see all parts of London and take a bunch of photos!
After the London Eye experience we crossed again to the other side of Thames through the Westminster Bridge and headed to the Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. It was raining at this time so we saw these 3 monuments in a flash! And went up the Victoria Street just to walk in the typical streets of London! At this time we just went with the flow. As we were walking we spotted New Scotland Yard building and took some photos XD Next was dinner time, so we had some chinese food at Peking Seoul Restaurant – The food was ok but a little tasteless for me. After it was bed and rest time 🙂
Day 3: (Notting Hill | Portobello Road |Kensington Gardens | Science Museum | Natural History Museum | Harrods | Leicester Square | Soho)
Day three, another full day ahead! First we took the underground to Notting Hill. As we arrived there I was amazed with the streets! Each house has its own color, it’s so pretty guys! Going down the road we reached Portobello Road and it’s the beginning of Portobello Market!! So many antique shops and outdoor stands! Here you can find a lot of antique or collectible items as well as vintage clothes, music, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more… Oh and so many people!!
After seeing everything we met a friend here, had some burger for lunch and headed to the Kensington Gardens and Palace. Once again, love the London parks! So green and calm! In this one we didn’t spot squirrels but a lot of crows. In this garden you can find the Kensington Palace (official residence of William and Kate, the Dukes os Cambridge) and also the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.
Next was the museum part of the day. First we went to the Natural History Museum and omg!! The building is majestic and amazingly beautiful! This is a free museum so I really recommend it even if you don’t like museums but enjoy architecture. You can go inside and appreciate this amazing building! I think it’s really worth it. In the back of the Natural History Museum it’s the Science Museum! Another free museum, so if you like science or like to know how this were back in the days or how things work this is a go to museum!
After the museums we headed to the Harrods!!!! What an amazing building and architecture!!! It’s really beautiful and big! It’s difficult to have it as a whole on photographs! It’s really majestic! And OMG i got lost inside!! So many brands that you cannot find only in one place (Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, Dior, Channel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc.). And besides that you have other sections like food, butcher, lego, toys, technology, perfumes, make up and the list goes on… I just wish I had money to go wild! XD
We left Harrods and walked towards Leicester Square! This is the Theaters and entertainment zone! So many life in this square!! You can watch all kind of street artists here (magicians, beat boxers, dancers, etc.) as well as choosing to which play you’re going to watch. So many theatres, so many lights! Here you can find TKTS – Theatre Ticket Booth, where you can find tickets (even on sale) to all the plays, you just have to choose one! You also have some restaurants here (a lot of people have their dinners before watching a play) as well as the well known M&M’s World Store! It’s crazy the amount of merchandising and different M&M’s they have. Of course I had to buy some XD
Today we were supposed to go to Hyde Park but since we were near Soho we thought to leave Hyde Park for day 4 (since it was really close to our hotel) and we were going to enjoy the bohemian life of London for a bit, we wanted to live the city and their people. So Soho, here we are! We walked a little bit in the streets of Soho and we found a rock pub – Soho Rocks! Me and my boyfriend love rock music (amongst others) so we thought this was a nice place to have a beer before dinner and enjoy the music! It was so much fun! We met the people from the bar and talked a little. It so much fun to know new people! For dinner we went to Nando’s, because my boyfriend was craving for portuguese food so we had some grilled chicken with fries. Not the best grilled chicked I’ve ever had but it was ok! After dinner we went to the same bar again to see how was the night in London, more specifically in Soho. It was really nice but we were so tired and wanted to rest our feet and back that we caught the bus back to the hotel. Rest, finally!!
Day 4: (Buckingham Palace | Changing of the Guard | Trafalgar Square | National Gallery | Chinatown | Piccadilly Circus | Covent Garden | British Museum | Hyde Park)
Day four and still lots of things to see on our list! So we started the day early and headed to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard and the Royal Palace of course! As we arrived there we saw a big crowd in front of the palace so we just stayed in a little corner where we could see a little bit of it. I have to say it’s funny to see the royal guards and everything but I found it a little bit boring. Specially because I couldn’t see much and hear anything because I was a little bit far from where the Changing was taking place. I saw this once and it’s not a thing I want to repeat, once is enough. A little bit before it ended me and my boyfriend started to move away from the crowd and we walked on The Mall (the road that leads to the front of Buckingham Palace) and as we were walking we’ve heard police cars. We looked back and saw a bunch of police surrounding a car. And I was like “Let’s wait to see who’s inside the car” and when the car passes who was inside it?? Prince Charles and Camila!!!! Yes!!! First time in London and we got to see members of the Royal Family! How lucky!!! We were so excited!!!
Next we arrived at the National Gallery that’s located on Trafalgar Square! Again another majestic building! So beautiful. It’s also a free museum so we went inside for a visit. I studied design and art so there are always some painting I want to see inside like for example The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo DaVinci, The Sunflowers by Van Gogh and The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck.
After National Gallery it was time for a walk on Chinatown! A lot of restaurants with crispy ducks on their shop windows and chinese shops but this is only one street so not much to see! Next we took a walk towards to Piccadilly Circus to see the venue and the big video billboards it has! So many lights! So many colors! But I think this is much better at night where the light stand out from the dark night!
Next stop, Covent Garden!! A beautiful, kind of fancy market building, where you can find all kinds of stores including restaurants. Since this market is near to the Royal Opera House you find opera singers singing inside the market as well as others types of street entertainers outside the market. This is a really good space to have a cup of coffee when it’s sunny.
After visiting Covent Garden we headed to The British Museum. I think this was one of my favorites considering the architecture. On one hand, outside, it has this amazing and beautiful kind of Greek building and on the other hand, inside, it has a modern and beautiful architecture in the Great Court (exterior of the Reading Room). As for the Museum Collection it’s also majestic! You can find a lot of different kinds of art since the ancient times (mummies and the Rosetta Stone were my favorites) to modern. But the main thing is that you can find art collections from every continent in the world! Really really recommend this museum.
Next we took the bus to Hyde Park! Finally XD We wanted to rest our feet for a while and what a better place to rest am I right? Sunny day in London, so as we got to Hyde Park we could see a lot of resting chair with people catching some sun! We took a little walk and set there for a while just enjoying the sun and talking about this amazing days in London. Next on the list was the Peter Pan Statue (I love Peter Pan) so we went to the The Long Water and The Serpentine Lake (that divides Hyde Park from the Kensington Gardens) where the statue was! Just to look at it and feel the spirit of never growing up just for a little while. That’s how I felted in London! Like a child on an amusement park! So truly happy with no worries! That’s why I fell in love with this city! Oh and a big plus! When we left the peter pan statue a little more further we spotted some squirrels and we had the chance to give them food. They literally go catch the food in your hand! Amazing experience, because they’re so freaking cute ^^
Day 5: (Camden Town | Downing Street | Whitehall | Big Ben | Westminster Abbey | Houses of Parliament | Abbey Road)
Woke up excited, we we’re going to Camden Town!! This is a must go! The stores and shops with their characteristic building fronts with a lot of art and of course the markets in Camden. You are walking and always looking to both sides so you don’t miss something. All the colors, the art, the diversity of goodies you can find at the markets. Sooooo much to see here! We visited Camden Market, Inverness Market, Camden Lock and the Stables Market. At the Stables Market you can find a statue of Amy Winehouse whom I loved (and still love her music).
After Camden we had seen pretty much what we wanted, so what were we going to do?? We were in London, there’s always something to do!! So we decided to repeat the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament because the first day we went there it was raining a little, so we didn’t stay as much as we’d like to. On our way to Big Ben we went trough Whitehall street that leads to 10, Downing Street (the House of Prime Minister of England). Downing Street has gates and they were closed when we went there so we couldn’t see much. We reached the end of the street and there it was again… Our friend Big Ben! We stayed in this area to took some photos of the Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Beautiful gothic buildings really well conserved. After seeing a lot of this area in movies, series, etc… I was finally here and seizing the moment!
Next we had lunch at McDonald’s and headed to Abbey Road by underground. Abbey Road is where is located the most famous crosswalk in the world, because of The Beatles album cover from the album “Abbey Road”. It was so funny because a lot of people were crossing over just to take photos and the cars were stopped until there was nobody else on the crosswalk. In the surroundings you can find Abbey Road studios and a lot of street art and messages dedicated to The Beatles and their legacy.
The day we left Paddington and London… We left the hotel and went to Baker Street to catch the Easybus that took us to the Stansted airport! I was so sad! Didn’t want to leave. I almost cried, like I was leaving something I love behind! All I can say is that I had the time of my life!! The dream of going to London became true and the feeling of fulfilling a dream is one of the greatest sensations of all! In the end of this year I’m coming back to visit my sister who lives in south England but I’m going to hug London for a day! So I can’t wait!
Hope you like this blog post as I liked this amazing trip! But most of all I hope this blog post can help you visit the city of London and see it all or at least that helps you choose what you want to see and where to go!