As some of you may know, a week ago I was traveling in London. Caleb was there for work at the British Library and I tagged along to FINALLY get to see foggy London Town! We spent a total of two weeks in London, exploring all the city has to offer…and it was AMAZING! Our first week was spent riding on a HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) Bus to quickly go London Sight Seeing!
As I mentioned, Caleb was there for work at the British Library (researching India). That may seem strange, but since The British colonized India a lot of their documents/records are kept here. So, most of his week days were spent 9-5 in the Library. I spent many of the first week’s days joining him to work on this blog! (Tip – It’s so productive to work from an alternative space vs. home…I got so much done!) I forgot what it was like to leave the house to work. Anyways, most of our week was spent in this building
It doesn’t seem like much from the outside, but its a wonderland full of knowledge! When you walk in there’s a cool open book shaped bench, which I never got a picture with (DANG!). And the backdrop for the main hall is a glass walled “bookshelf” that runs from floor to ceiling. It houses some of the oldest and most amazing books! It really portrays the essence of a Library!
Luckily the library is closed on the weekends, which allowed us time to explore London! The first weekend we decided to do a HOHO tour (see above) to be able to quickly see the sights and get out and explore ones we wanted and pass on other we didn’t. I recommend this because we were able to see all the main attractions within the weekend. And the price is not bad considering how far apart each monument is and the prices for the tube…within a weekend exploring you could’ve easily spent more than what a ticket for this bus tour costs! While not the most saturated tour, it was a deal for an extra day free with any ticket bought…so we purchased two for one!
Without further ado…here are my photos from my weekend of London Sight Seeing. (Hey you might not even have to visit, here it all is…a one stop shop to everything Iconic London)
London Sight Seeing – Day 1
St Paul’s Cathedral was the first large London Monument we came across! And let me tell you this picture does not do it justice. (side note: a lot of these buildings were hard to capture because they’re squished between a packed city…we did the best we could). We wanted to go inside, but with lines and cost of tickets decided to skip it. If anyone has visited the cathedral tell me all about it in the comments!
It was here that we decided to hop off and retrace our steps to visit a few smaller iconic London places and sights!
On our path we passed St Bride’s Church. Tucked away behind large buildings it would be easy to miss now. But once upon a time it reigned supreme in the skyline that was London. This church is quant, but the steeple is beautiful, supposedly inspiring the modern day tiered cake. The story is that the inventor of this cake style lived within view of the church and was inspired to create a similar styled wedding cake for his own ceremony.
Next up along Fleet Street was the iconic barber shop! The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, named after the iconic play about Sweeney Todd. How FUN! This was one of Caleb’s favorites, as we both enjoy the tale of Sweeney Todd! I should’ve convinced Caleb to get a cut…
Now this building doesn’t look like anything special. It’s the Australia House, and is not an iconic London building. This is an iconic Harry Potter building to see. It is the building that was used to depict Gringotts in the films! FYI for those of you who are HUGE HP fans there’s websites dedicated to Harry Potter film sites throughout London. I desperately wanted to walk in and wish to enter my vault.
From here we kept going until we reached Trafalgar Square. This city center is amazing, and no photos would do it justice (the lighting was weird). But in the center is Nelson’s Column and the backdrop to the square is the National Gallery. With the square you can find tourist vendors for London memorabilia, grandiose fountains, and various sculptures! There are also street performers you can take pictures with, and sidewalk artists. Caleb of course got his photo taken with a “floating” Yoda.
After our fandom situation at the Australia House we decided to head down the street to see if we could get some tickets to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. FYI – the answer is NO they’re sold out until forever! It was a pretty sad moment on our trip, but on the way there we saw some fun streets!
The first was the entrance to China Town! I’ve never been to a china town in another city, but are they all this extravagant?! I do think Chinese New Year was sometime before our trip, but how close Im not sure. Anyway, it looked quite authentic and we perused a few streets before heading onward. Which is where we found more Harry Potter GOLD! We ventured down a narrow alley like road that housed a lot of antique and art shops. It was quite fun to peer in the windows of the shops and admire their curiosities. Later we found out that this street is supposedly the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series. This street is Cecil Court…and HP fan or not, you definitely need to peruse the interesting shops.
Before we knew it the bus had stopped running…5 pm. So we decided to walk around. Our path led us to Big Ben and the London Eye. I actually loved these sights in the dark more than the daytime. The illumination made them appear so enchanting and wonderful. The sight of Big Ben couldn’t help but remind you of Peter Pan. It made me want to fly off to Never Never Land. As for the London Eye, it’s neon illumination made it appear like a fun carnival ride…not the slow motion sight seeing booth it is. But the pink popping against the blue of the aquarium created a fun glow to this are!
This ends our first day of London Sight Seeing! It was a wonderful close to a fun day!
London Sight Seeing – Day 2
for the second day of out London Sight Seeing we started bright and early, to make sure we weren’t left stranded again. We found our HOHO stop and headed out! Our first destination was the Tower of London. We ventured here with the intention of stopping to see the London Bridge, but bought tickets and toured the tower for hours!
We walked all through one corner of the inner wall and adjoining towers. In the towers we learned about medieval torture chambers, saw royal living quarters, prison cells, and where the royal guard used to stay. The prison tower and royal guard area have chiseled inscriptions and pictures all over the walls. It was like traveling back in time or a Renaissance fair! Of course we also stopped and gazed at all the Crown Jewels. During our slow slow tour I learned a lot (from Caleb) about the English Monarchy! And of course the jewels were amazing!
Thought the tower we came across various “characters”. While touring the wall and tower rooms, we came across a few men dressed as knights! Of course there was the Queen’s Guard outside the building housing the Crown Jewels. And the Beefeaters, Caleb’s favorite with their silly/fun uniforms!
After this we headed back to Westminster to get a view of the sights during the day! Call me crazy, but I was underwhelmed. Especially compared to the view from the previous night and the current construction being done. The Palace of Westminster looks like a place where politics should be conducted.
We walked over the bridge to see Westminster Abbey, which was AMAZING! Another cathedral we did not enter. Due to it being Sunday, the church was only open to those wishing to attend. But the outside was enough for me, the intricacies in the structures detailing was amazing! Again, for anyone whose ever toured the inside please let me know what its like in the comments section!
We took a short bus ride on over to Buckingham Palace…where I was again underwhelmed. Caleb says I am spoiled because my first visions of Palace’s include Versailles, Bangkok, and Mysore…which are all so grand and ornate. While this structure was large it doesn’t strike me as royal. It is a fairly plain structure, just immense…but monstrosity doesn’t equate to grandeur in my mind. Anyway, it’s one of the must do’s and see’s of London so here it was. And another stature of Queen Victoria of course!
After this we headed to Oxford Street to explore the wonderful world of shopping that London has to offer! So many stores…so little time! I know that shopping while in a cultural city seems frivolous, but seriously you have to shop while in London! It’s one of the centers for fashion!
I hope you enjoyed my photo diary from my London Sight Seeing! Follow my adventure with my London Exploration photo diary.
Which sight was you favorite? Let me know in the comments.