As many of you may know by now we started our cross world adventure on May 9th. We flew into London Gatwick Airport in the mid-morning and really haven’t stopped to even take a minute since then. We had less than two weeks in the United Kingdom so we definitely had to make the best of it. London is a really hard city to describe; it’s constantly busy, the people are always in a rush, and they aren’t the friendliest either. That being said, I didn’t feel like an outsider in the city either like you sometimes do when places are too hectic. It was almost like it was a comfortable hectic. Because we didn’t have that much time, we really had to cram a lot into the four days that we were there.
The first day we got there, we tried to find our way from the airport to our hostel, which was Astor Hyde Park. Needless to say we ended up failing after the first train and ended up taking a ride in an iconic London Taxi. We had even printed off instructions from google maps and still failed. The tube is a dangerous maze but luckily we ended up getting the hang of it after a day. From the airport, we had to take a train that was packed with people and we somehow ended up in first class. I don’t really think that anyone checks these but even if they did we decided that we would pull the dumb tourist card. Like many hostels and hotels, we weren’t allowed to check in until after two. We ditched our bags in the storage and tried to make our way through Hyde Park to find Madame Tussaud’s, the first thing on our London hit list. We had to be there by a certain time since we had purchased a three attraction pass before we left for a cheaper price. On the way we stopped and grabbed a coffee since we were both walking around in a daze and it really only seemed to help for the first ten minutes. The wax museum itself wasn’t anything special. It was just a ton of pushy tourists trying to get their photos with the “celebrities”. Honestly, we were just as happy to get out of there and get some food than we were to see what the museum even had to offer. After the museum, we got even more coffee and decided that we wanted to go all the way to King’s Cross to check out what they had set up for Harry Potter fans.
What they don’t tell you is that when you walk in, they have a trolley half stuck in the wall with photographers and a large gift shop for fans. I guess they don’t really have to tell you this since it’s so big BUT somehow we ended up missing it. We scanned our transit passes and strolled in so confident that we would walk right upon platform 9 and 3/4. Oh how wrong we were. We almost pulled a Harry by asking where it was but luckily we saw it outside the gates as soon as we were going to ask the workers. Many people think you can’t take your own photos while they were as well, which saves you money since the ones they sell are hella expensive.
The next day we went and hit up the iconic Harry Potter Warner Bro’s tour. This studio could honestly have it’s own post it’s so amazing. You get to see the sets that they use for all of the movies and the props that they use as well. The most exciting part about it all though was the Butterbeer. We had both been dreaming of the day that we could try this and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Going to do the tour for just the Butterbeer wouldn’t honestly be worth it even if you didn’t care at all about Harry Potter.
You also can’t go to London for the first time without doing all of the super touristy things. Some of these include: Trafalger square (pretending we were Spice Girls), changing of the guards (which we ended up skipping), the London eye (which was cool), Big Ben(it’s really just a big clock), and the London Dungeon (which 10/10 would not recommend). Changing of the guards happens every morning at 11:30 at Buckingham Palace. Maybe it’s cool, but the crowds were a huge turn off for us. You can’t get close at all and there was
just way to many pushy people. All we really wanted anyways to to make a Queen’s Guard laugh but you couldn’t even get close to do that to them so for us it just wasn’t worth it. After we walked there we decided that we really didn’t want to stay and we thought that if everyone was there that the London Eye would be dead…we were however dead wrong. On the walk to the London Eye though you pass by Big Ben which is a very photogenic site. There is also St. Mary’s cathedral which we were going to check out until we say the 20 pound price tag (40 CAD). When we got to the London Eye we thought that we couldn’t just stroll on since we had our ticket, wrong again. We were really on a roll for the first few days. We learned that we had to redeem our tickets for actual tickets with a time, that we also learned the time didn’t really matter since we ended up getting on early anyways. The London Eye was the coolest tourist attraction that we ended up doing. We went on a sunny, clear day which made it that much better and you could see for miles from the top of it. There isn’t a ton of people crammed into either so you can move around and take photos. Right beside the London Eye is the London Dungeon. This is something that we wouldn’t ever do again or even recommend to do. It felt too disney and scripted and it just wasn’t what we were expecting. At the end you get free beer or a free gin drink and we took the beer but again the roll we were on, didn’t realize it was traditional english beer which means that it’s served flat and warm. We ended up ditching them and just taking off to go and try…FREAKSHAKES!!
We literally had to take a train across the city to try these but boy oh boy were they worth it. As well as trying Freakshakes, we also had to have afternoon tea. Since you couldn’t get close to Buckingham Palace and we don’t really want to go to jail just yet in our lives we didn’t break in to have tea with the queen. Good things we’re queens though so technically we still had tea with a queen. Afternoon tea in England is just amazing. Yes there are places in North America where you can get it but it just feels way more right to have it in London.
We did a ton of things in London and we barely even scratched the surface of the city or even the things that we did in this blog post. If we did that, you’d probably be reading for a long and no one is thaaat interested in us. At least to the point that they will admit. Hopefully we can become a bit better at updating on our adventures as we get a bit more downtime in the coming days.