Exactly a year ago I visited London. It wasn’t my first visit nor it would be my last. On 11th of May 2016 I visited London for the 11th time! And it was the first time that I actually spent several days in London on my own. Previously, I’ve been to London with my best friend and occasionally on my own for a day trip but this was the first time that I got to spend 3 full days roaming the streets of London just by myself. And it was great!:) I blogged quite a bit about it so I’m just going to remind myself (and you, dear readers ) of some of the highlights of that trip.
Quite an interesting topic for this month’s travel linkup: comparing travel to a menu. Now, usually the dessert part of a lunch or dinner is my favourite part of the entire meal and I often choose what I want to eat for dessert before I even choose the main. But I guess most people don’t do that 🙂 So, let’s start at the beginning. What place is your starter? Tough question. Since I mostly just travelled around Europe almost all of those places could be classified as short-haul. I didn’t really do any long-haul flights e.g. going across the Atlantic to the USA or flying to Dubai or visiting China or New Zealand like some other travel bloggers. So, I’d need to divide my destinations into short-haul (starters) and long-haul (main) even when they aren’t that far away from each other. Regarding the dessert part of my meal, oh boy, there are several amazing places that have left a lasting impression on me.
I’d choose Italy as my starter. I’ve travelled extensively around Italy but there are still many places that I haven’t visited such as Sicily or Cinque Terre. If I have to pick a favourite place then it’d be Bologna. I already blogged about it so you can read why I like it so much if you want to. I’ve been to Florence and Rome and Venice several times but I’d rather spend a relaxing day in Bologna hanging out with the locals than brave the crowds in one of the above places.
The main. Well, there’s only one possible main for me. And that’s London. I could always go back to London (and I have, 11 times so far!). It’s like my favourite meal. I could never get enough of it and it always tastes great. You might wonder now what’s my favourite meal…but I won’t tell you 🙂 What would be the furthest I have ever travelled? If I look at the map and the distance from my hometown to a place, then the furthest place I’ve ever travelled would be Lisbon , Portugal which is over 2 000 km from my hometown and which was definitely the longest flight I’ve ever took. I absolutely loved Lisbon and I’d love to go back.
There are a lot of green spaces in London. From the Royal Parks to the small private gardens you’re never too far from a naughty squirrel or two. Whatever the season it’s always enjoyable to spend some time in one of the many London parks. They offer more than just beautiful flowers and trees. You can do sports, have a drink, listen to some music, see a play or entertain your kids. I’m sure all the parks in London are wonderful but here’s the list of my favourite London parks.
You’ll find the Kensington palace, the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan statue and the Princess Diana memorial playground in this beautiful park. It’s the first park I’ve ever visited in London. My best friend and I stayed at Bayswater area so we took advantage of our proximity to the Kensington gardens park and spend a lot of time there. We strolled through the park and came across a lot of playful squirrels. A few years later I finally visited the Peter Pan statue too.
St James’s park
You can see the pelicans here! How awesome is that? You can also take great photos of the Buckingham palace from this lovely park. I’m not sure whether I saw my first squirrel ever here or at the Kensington park but you can always see friendly squirrels in St James’s park.
It’s one of the biggest parks in the Central London. You can rent a boat and paddle across the Serpentine lake or just rent a sun lounger and relax in the sun if you’re too lazy to take advantage of one of its sports pitches. There are restaurants and cafes within the park too. If you visit it on a Sunday don’t miss the Speaker’s Corner and listen to people sharing their opinion with the world. I spent some time at Hyde park during my 11th trip to London last year too.
London is the best city in the world! But visiting London can also be overwhelming simply because there is so much to do and to see. You could spend a lifetime visiting London and you still wouldn’t see it all. If you’re visiting London for the first time and you’re only spending a day or two there don’t be temped to find that cool bookstore you saw on Instagram or that cute cat café you pinned on Pinterest just because you think you’re too cool to do tourist attractions. There’s a good reason everyone takes a photo at Westminster Bridge with Big Ben in the background. Why? Because it’s the symbol of London. Yes, you can visit that new hipster brunch place your best friend went to or go on that street art tour everyone’s raving about the next time you’re in London but if you miss seeing Big Ben or Tower Bridge you’ll regret it. So, what do you want to remember your trip by? By visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Tower of London) or …?
Do visit the well-known tourist attractions and cultural and historical landmarks on your first visit to London and leave the trendy new places for your next visit especially if you’ve only got a day or two to enjoy London.
Here’s the list of 5 Unmissable London Sights
1. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the giant bell inside the clock tower? The real name of this clock tower is Elizabeth’s tower nowadays but its name used to be St Stephen’s tower.
The current Westminster palace aka the Houses of Parliament was built in 1870. You can visit it if you book a guided tour (for more information click here ).
2. Tower Bridge
Walk across the Tower Bridge and take hundreds of photos of it. It’s very Instagram worthy!:) If you’re lucky you’ll see it raised to let the ship pass under it. Moreover, if you want to learn about the bridge mechanics or walk on the glass floor 42 m above the Thames visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
3. Tower of London
During the history the Tower of London has been a fortress, a royal palace and a prison. Nowadays a tourist attraction as well as the home of the Crown Jewels. The oldest part of this UNESCO site is the White Tower which was built for William I (the Conqueror) in the eleventh century. You can admire it from the outside or buy a ticket and visit it. For more information click here.
Exactly ten years ago I visited LONDON for the first time. I’ve spent amazing time discovering London with my best friend M. and vowed to visit it again. After ten years and 11 visits to London I’m still in love with the best city in the whole world. And there’s still so much to do and to see. This year I went to London on my own and after initial missing-my-best-friend-to-share-London-with feeling I actually enjoyed wandering around London by myself. However, I do want to share my 12th visit to London with my best friend! When will it be? I don’t know. I don’t actually have plans of visiting London in 2017 ( shocking! I know 🙂 ) since there are other cities I want to explore in 2017 which have been pushed aside because of my constant visits to London (you can read all about my London adventures on my London Posts page).
I’ll be posting quotes for 3 consecutive days but I won’t be nominating other bloggers as the rule dictates. Instead, if any of my readers want to pick up the challenge, that would be great! If you decide to do it, let me know in the comments section under this post so I can have a look at your quote posts! 🙂
Day 1: London
..“when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford “
Dr. Samuel Johnson
Experiencing some Harry Potter ˝magic ˝ at 9 3/4 platform at King’s Cross Station, London
Are you a Harry Potter fan too? This is one of my favourite Magic quotes from HP’s books:
˝Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible sort of magic.˝
J.K.Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone