London, England Part 1

Day 1: Travelling (WOW air, National Express), Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park, Big Ben, London Eye, National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Somerset House, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Russell Square Garden Hostel

Day 2: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Postman’s Park, William Wallace Memorial, Museum of London, Sky Garden, St. Dunstan in the East ruins, All Hallows by the Tower (Crypt Museum), Leadenhall Market, Guildhall Art Gallery, Tate Modern, Shakespeares Globe, Replica of the Golden Hinde, Southwark Cathedral, Hays Galleria, Tower Bridge, Tower of London

Day 1: Travelling (WOW air, National Express), Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park, Big Ben, London Eye, National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Somerset House, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Russell Square Garden Hostel

Skipping over all the boring travelling details (flight with WOW air with a layover in Keflavik and a 2 hour bus ride from Gatwick Airport in London to Victoria Station), 20 hours after leaving Canada I was in the heart of London, England. I arrived a little later than I’d hoped, so I skipped the Saatchi Gallery and Battersea Park/Power Station and walked straight to Buckingham Palace.

  1. Buckingham Palace: The courtyard was packed (as to be expected around 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon). I was looking for the red uniforms but I looked it up after and realized they were dressed in their winter uniforms (grey). What a noob. Snapped a few pictures, then went off in search of the pelican feeding at St. James’s Park.

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    Buckingham Palace
  2. St. James’s Park: The pelican feeding happens 2:30-3:00 pm every day in St. James’s Park and I just missed it! From what I gather, the feeding is at the opposite end of the park from Buckingham Palace. I got there around 2:50 pm but didn’t see anything happening. The park is beautiful though and it was a nice day so I enjoyed the scenery instead.

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    St. James’s Park
  3. Big Ben: on my way to the National Gallery I stopped by Big Ben to take a few pictures. He’s just as magnificent as I imagined! The area was incredibly crowded so lugging my suitcase wasn’t ideal but I’m glad I decided to bring my small bag rather than my large luggage.

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    Big Ben
  4. London Eye: Walked along the Thames but didn’t take a ride on the London Eye. I’m sure the view would be amazing though.

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    London Eye
  5. National Gallery: I was not allowed to bring my luggage into the gallery and the security guard directed me to Charing Cross station where I could store my luggage (6 GBP for 0-3 hrs). Took me a bit of time to find the station, I got turned around and ended up in a restaurant. Oops! The National Gallery was wonderful and better yet – no line to get in. I particularly enjoyed the Two Crabs by Van Gogh (everyone loved the Flowers) and the Monets. I was enjoying the ceiling and a security guard stopped me to tell me about the pillars down the hall. He explained that the pillars are built slightly smaller as you approach the painting at the end, to enhance the perspective of the length of the hallway. So the painting looks farther away than it is. The hallway was actually built after the painting was received and tailored to provide the optical illusion. You learn something new everyday & don’t forget to look up!

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    The painting at the end is closer than it looks!
  6. Trafalgar Square: Checked out the stone lions, lilliputian police station (yes, it is the smallest police station in London), thumbs up statue and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square get a big thumbs up from me!
  7. Somerset House: Tried my hand at long exposure and I was pretty happy with my first try! If you have any tips, let me know! I definitely need a steadier tripod.

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    Somerset House
  8. Covent Garden: Stopped for something to eat at Le Pain Quotidien and enjoyed the live band that was playing in the square. I’m definitely going to have to try making this quinoa cake myself!
  9. Piccadilly Circus: stopped by to check out all the hype and tried the long exposure shots again. It was a beautiful night so I stuck around for a while before heading to bed at the hostel.DSC_0997

Day 2: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Postman’s Park, William Wallace Memorial, Museum of London, Sky Garden, St. Dunstan in the East ruins, All Hallows by the Tower (Crypt Museum), Leadenhall Market, Guildhall Art Gallery, Tate Modern, Shakespeares Globe, Replica of the Golden Hinde, Southwark Cathedral, Hays Galleria, Tower Bridge, Tower of London

  1. St. Paul’s Cathedral: The first stop of the morning and what a site! The cherry blossoms were in bloom as were the flowers in the garden. This is one of my favourite shots of the day!

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    St. Paul’s Cathedral
  2. Millennium Bridge: For those Harry Potter fans out there this is the bridge in the 6th book that the dementors destroyed. It’s a pedestrian bridge across the Thames.

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    Millennium Bridge
  3. Postman’s Park (an Atlas Obscura find): the Watt’s Memorial is for ordinary people who died a heroric death. The park itself wasn’t spring ready but the memorial is worth checking out if you get a chance.

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    Watt’s Memorial
  4. William Wallace Memorial: I hope you all know the story of William Wallace. His memorial is on the side of the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (I went to the garden and got lost. It seemed to happen a lot). On my way to the Museum of London I also stumbled across this wall dedicated to Sherlock Fans.DSC_1060.JPG
  5. Museum of London: I also had a hard time getting into the museum-I couldn’t find the entrance! I ended up following the second level pedestrian crossings to find the staircase across the street on London Wall. The museum definitely deserves more time than I had. Admission is free/by donation and the special exhibit (of the Great Fire) was around 12 GBP. I hardly had time to get through the museum let alone the special exhibit. I stuck around for the 15 minute clip describing the Great Fire of 1666.
  6. Sky Garden: Had to rush out of the Museum of London for Sky Garden (my ticket was for 11:15 AM). There is a grace period but I made it on time. The view is phenomenal and much cheaper (read: free) than the London Eye view. Tickets are released three weeks in advance so be sure to put it in your calendar to get up! I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the restaurant but everything looked delicious. The day was foggy but I was able to see as far as the London Eye/Big Ben and Tower Bridge in the opposite direction.DSC_1066.JPG
  7. St. Dunstan in the East ruins: the church was burned in the Great Fire but the ruins still exist and are hauntingly beautiful. The green is available for rent but I just went thanks to Atlas Obscura. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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    St. Dunstan in the East ruins
  8. All Hallows by the Tower: an active church and I arrived at the end of communion. The Crypt museum isn’t open to the public during services so I stuck around for the last hymn before they opened the door into the basement. Another one worth the stop if you have time. The crypt has been turned into a museum with some pretty spectacular finds.

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    Crypt Museum in All Hallows by the Tower
  9. Leadenhall market: another Harry Potter find, where the outside of Diagon Alley shots were filmed for the first movie. Unfortunately, all the shops/restaurants were closed on Sundays (or at least when I was there) so I just snapped a few pictures and made my way.

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    Leadenhall Market
  10. I had planned to stop at the Bank of England Museum but it was closed on Sundays! Bad planning on my part, so off I went to the Guildhall Art Gallery.
  11. Guildhall Art Gallery: part of a a roman amphitheatre was discovered and excavated when the Guildhall wanted to expand the original building. The excavated part is in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery and the courtyard’s design extends to show where the rest of the amphitheatre is estimated to be. Check it out, it’s pretty cool!

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    Roman Amphitheatre in Guildhall Art Gallery
  12. Tate Modern: I was a big fan of the Picasso, Jean Pierre Yvaral, Bridget Riley and Monet’s. The museum is huge so if you want time to see everything I would give yourself about 2-3 hours. There are 10 floors (some floors are for members only). I stopped in the cafe for a quick bite to eat and to recharge my phone before heading out.
  13. Shakespeare’s Globe: I didn’t go on the tour I just stopped at the store and to take pictures. If I had time I would’ve stopped for longer and maybe gone to a play that evening!DSC_0006
  14. Replica of the Golden Hinde: The Golden Hinde was a ship and you could take a short tour on the ship for around 7 GBP.

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    Replica of the Golden Hinde
  15. Southwark Cathedral: a beautiful cathedral and the cherry blossoms out front made for excellent picture opportunities.

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    Southwark Cathedral
  16. The Navigators in Hays Galleria: an art piece with a steam punk feeling and mechanical functions! The oars in the back were on a cycle and the whole piece gave off a low groan/moan. Very interesting!
  17. Tower Bridge: Walked along the Thames and took a few pictures of the Tower Bridge but thought it would look great at night so I looped back to Horniman at Hays for some fish and chips to wait for the sun to set. Walked back along the Thames and snapped a few more pictures! It was a popular destination!DSC_0072DSC_0103DSC_0111
  18. The Tower of London: My camera battery was close to dead so I only got to snap a few pictures before I just went back to the hostel (around 10 pm). It was a long, eventful and amazing day!
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    Tower of London

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of my trip to London!

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