Follow My Footsteps: London

Day 1:
  • We arrived on a Thursday and immediately purchased Oyster Cards (TIP: get an oyster card for the tube, should be $5 base and then you add cash. We did £30 and it was perfect for 4 full days – we ended with like £4 left. Another TIP: there is a HopStop London).
  • We took the tube to Paddington Station and found our Paddington Hostel (can’t say I would recommend the place…. but the area was lovely). We strolled the Kensington Gardens, where we saw the Albert Memorial and Natural History Museum. We stopped for lunch (fish and chips!) at Hoop and Toy (Chelsea/Kensington area) – this place seemed like a local pub, did not feel touristy, and the fish and chips was delicious.
  • From there, we walked down Cromwell to the V&A – AMAZING. We then continued on Cromwell and walked through Brompton – so beautiful. We shopped/browsed at Harrods and Topshop before walking to Buckingham Palace. (TIP: I think the changing of the guards is at 11:30 most days, but get there early if you want to see it because it gets packed). Afterwards, we headed back to our hostel by way of Hyde Park. That night, we had dinner at Kolossi restaurant (Greek!) I had a seafood pasta and they gave us free hot pita bread with garlic and chili dip, carrots, and peppers and a big bowl of fruit for dessert.
  • We went to London because a friend of mine was living outside the city with her boyfriend (now husband). We met Kelsey Friday morning at Russell Square (Tube stop: Blue line Picadilly and then the 7 bus). From there, we walked to the British Museum! Saw THE GREEK MARBLES and the Rosetta stone. After taking an excellent Art History class in college, I was pretty excited about this.
  • Afterwards, we took the Northern line tube to King’s Cross Station. You can probably tell by my avatar that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Visiting Platform 9 3/4 was … amazing.
  • We walked to The British Library where we saw manuscripts from da Vinci, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen. They also had  The Magna Carter as well as the piece of paper that “Yesterday” by the Beatles was written on!
  • We grabbed lunch at Pizza Express. I had a pesto pizza (£10ish). This pizza was actually fresh – you will see Pizza Express everywhere.
  • After lunch, we took the Northern line (2 stops) to Camden Markets! There was a little food market here with all different stands and we tried some tasty treats.
  • Following the market, we took the northern line to Bank Station to visit St. Paul’s. We learned a disappointing lesson here: TIP: It closes at 6 p.m. So, on we went.
  • We took the tube to Tower of London, where we saw the Tower and Tower bridge.
  • Tube to Trafalgar Square, where we briefly saw Big Ben and then went to Spaghetti House for dinner – had a great cheeseburger, awesome French fries (chips?).
  • Walked to the Golden Jubilee bridges to take night pictures of the London Eye and Big Ben.
  • We crossed the bridge and walked through little carnival thing (I was 23 and they didn’t believe I was 18).
  • We strolled past the Eye to The Queen’s walk (bridge) before taking the Circle Line tube back to the hostel.
Day 3:
  • On Saturday, we took the Circle line to Westminster and transferred to the Jubilee line to London bridge. We visited the London Bridge (not so impressive), the Southwark bridge, the
  • Millennium bridge before reaching the Globe. We also saw Black Friars bridge and passed the Tate Modern (more on this later). We strolled past the Eye and over the Queen’s walk to Big Ben where we met up with Kelsey and Aaron. 
  • They took us to Westminster Abbey (£16 – didn’t go in) and then we headed to Notting Hill.
  • In Notting Hill, we walked the market. I loved it – lots of antiques, jewelry, shops, food, etc. We ate delicious street food (chicken and onion sandwich – yum!) followed by gelato.
  • Next we took the tube to Piccadilly to see the fountain.
  • We walked down the street to Hamley’s (on Regent Street). This is the biggest toy store. At the time, they had a Lego model of the Queen and one of William and Kate up on the 5th floor – so cool!
  • We had dinner at Nando’s (most delicious fast food).
Day 4:
  • We took the Circle line to Baker and transferred to Jubilee to St. John’s Wood Walk to go to Abbey Road (map says otherwise but this is the Beatles spot).
  • Walked to Abbey Road! TIP: bring a marker to write on the wall – it’s cute =)
  • Took Jubilee line to Southwark and visited the Tate Modern Art Museum. In my notes from the trip, I wrote “Awful – I don’t know who would like this museum…” =(
  • We saw the ruin of Winchester palace and had Nando’s for lunch… again 🙂
  • We walked to Horseguard and took pictures with guards.
  • There we unexpectedly saw a parade!
  • We took the Bakerloo line from Charing Cross back to Paddington and walked to Little Venice (didn’t seem like much….)
  • That night, we had dinner at Peking-Seoul at 115 Praed Street – not great …
  • Finally, we took the tube to Victoria Coach Station, where we took a bus through the night to Paris.
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