Finally I arrived at London, I came in having big hopes for the city and some of them were satisfied and some not! The city strongly reminds me of New York where you have a hodge podge of people, cultures, and foreign languages. There is quite a diverse crowd of people all over the city so many options to explore different types of interests. The city contains an abundance of night life/clubs/bars in the central area but also contains plays and Shakespeare if you are looking for a mellow night out.

Transportation

Coming from Bath, I took a bus to London landing in the Victoria Bus Station. The bus station is located centrally to Buckingham palace area but many of the attractions would definitely require public transportation to get too. The Tube (subway system) here is highly recommended if you want to have an efficient way of visiting the different attractions throughout the city. I would also plan out the routes you would like to take as the tube is quite costly (2.80 pounds for the cheapest ride). Getting an oyster card is key and the 5 pound fee is refundable when you return the oyster card. Walking is definitely possible if you have more time. I did walk to some of the attractions but I buffered at least 1.5 hours to walk to an attraction (one way only).

Things I Did

Kensington Palace and Hyde Park

The actual palace and gardens are absolutely magnificent to view from the outside. The palace is located on the west end of the park and they have a small little fountain garden area which makes for some great pictures. I didn’t actually go into the Kensington palace because based on the size the price wasn’t worth it. I decided to walk around Hyde park which can easily take half a day. The park offers many activities including biking and paddle boating on the lake located in the middle of the park. There was actually a music festival going on in the park when I was visiting which kind of gives you the idea of how big the park really is. Its definitely a big enough space to get away from the big city when you need to.

Key Tip: I actually got hailed/stormed (lots of rain) on while I was walking around this park and hid under a tree for about an hour (was the middle of summer). Make sure to bring an umbrella as you really can experience all 4 seasons in a day in London.

Time required: 2-4 Hours  Price: Free  Rating: 4/5hyde park from my view View from Kensignton garden to Hyde Park

Buckingham Palace

The palace is a short walk from the southeast corner of Hyde Park. I wasn’t able to witness the changing of the guard but was able to take a couple of pictures of the palace itself. The design of the gates and of the palace were gorgeous especially the gold pieces on the gates. Unfortunately, the attraction is full of tourists and it is impossible to get a decent picture which made me leave the area pretty quickly.

Time required: 30 Minutes   Price: Free   Rating: 3/5

buckingham palance So Many Tourists at Buckingham Palace

British Museum

I loved the entrance going into the museum which showed the entire ceiling and demonstrated the size of the museum as you walked in. That was about the only thing I liked in museum. The museum houses artifacts from all over the world but surprisingly not much from Britain itself. It seems that all the artifacts were everything that Britain stole when it conquered other areas of the world. If you want to see a broad view random items from the world then this museum is for you. Other than the different types of artifacts the museum itself doesn’t provide any background or learning about Britain itself.

Time required: 1-4 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 2/5

british musuem The Design of The Musuem is Amazing!

british musuem Random Stolen Greek Piece at the British Musuem

Harry Potter Walking Tour

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan, this tour is a phenomenal experience in learning about the amount of detail that goes into movie planning. Based on the amount of man hours spent, 2 days of filming were required for every minute shown in the movie. The tour walks you through different parts of the movie scenes where they were filmed and the guide provides insane insight to how parts of the film were set up. My favorite was the triple decker bus scene where they actually had to take the bus apart and rebuild it for every scene along the road. The tour also takes you through a few areas that originally inspired J.K Rowling’s design of the train station and candy store! Highly recommended tour to learn about the city as well. Walks included areas through Piccadilly square and the government buildings.

Time required: 2.5 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 5/5

hardy's candy store The Candy shop that sells everything from the Harry Potter Movies

harrpotter inspiration Building That Inspired Architecture in the Movie

King’s Cross Station

You probably need to be a Harry Potter to appreciate platform ¾ at this London train station. The average wait can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time of the day. Even though they have professional photographers you are free to take your own pictures on the side so don’t fall into the tourist trap of buying one of their photos. Pretty much is the only thing to do at the train station.

Time required: 2.5 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 4/5

kings cross station Waited 40 Minutes To Get This Picture (Scarf Provided)

Natural History Museum

The title of the museum says it all, a museum dedicated for how the earth is made and the explanations of the specific forces of nature. There is nothing in this museum that you can’t see from any other museum in another big city. Great attraction for kids for them to explore a bit more hands on. Nothing really special other than this cool elevator.

Time required: 1-2 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 2/5

natural history musuem Cool Elevator Leading the Geographical History Section of the Musuem

Victorian Museum

This museum proved surprisingly in depth with its history. It houses old architectural designs of different pieces of housing and building design. Part of the exhibits housed the different types of gate designs including house gates, building gates, and farm animal gates. They show the evolution of gate design while moving through the times. In addition there is an exhibit that houses a huge greek column ridden with detail as well as other types of doors/gates from temples, monuments, and cathedrals! This was the most interesting museum I found as it showcased some unique items you can’t find in other museums around the world.

Time required: 3-4 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 4/5

greek pillars victorian The Details On These Greek Pillars is Amazing!

victorian musuem piece The Amount of Detail Needed For This Wood Work!

London Eye and Big Ben

The iconic two monuments we see in movies all the time! These two monuments were absolutely beautiful from the eye! There was no value for riding the actual attractions or going inside of the buildings but you can take some amazing pictures from the outside especially for Big Ben. While walking to the London Eye, there are a few angles along the river that point right at Big Ben and make for a great pictures. Other than the few picture spots there really isn’t much else to this area!

Time required: 3-4 Hours   Price: Free   Rating: 4/5

big ben looking A gorgeous iconic landmark!

What to Eat

Sunday Roast at Blackmoor

Ever since I arrived in England, people have told me about getting a roast on Sundays! The roast usually consists of specific types of meat with Yorkshire pudding or other types of vegetables. The roast I had at Blackmoor was decent but not worth the price (20 Pounds). I ate the variety plate (they do this for 1 person even though it says for 2 only on the menu) which consisted of beef fillet, pork, and chicken piece with potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. The pudding is best eaten with the gravy that comes with the dish and with a piece of meat. I was surprised at the crispy ness of the bread itself. The tenderness of the beef was the best but the chicken was still quite dry even with the gravy. I definitely would go for a Sunday roast again but in a different restaurant.sunday roast at blackmoor The Beef Was the Best Meat!

Borough Market

This tiny market is located under a train station and consists of a variety of stall selling both fresh cooked foods and fresh produce. I ate BBQ chicken wrap and chicken & rice dish at Soul food! A good wrap but nothing compared to the BBQ chicken wraps you can get from Texas. There is a so many options here that you should check out some of the different stalls especially the fresh burger ones!

borough market sign A Big Sign Showing Your There!

chicken and rice borough market Chicken and Rice that was Worth 4 Pounds!

borough market area The Beginning of Borough Market!

Sourdough Pizza at Franco Manca

This was the best meal I had in London. The focus on the breading of the pizza instead of just the toppings was the game changer here. The pizza itself consisted of prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, and sautéed mushrooms which was a great blend of ingredients but the sourdough crust was perfectly crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside. The sourdough bread was made fresh for every pizza that came out! I highly recommend eating here but make sure to come early as many of their locations fill up in reservation space quickly and the average wait is about 1 hour during busy times.

sour dough pizza at franco manca The Best Part Is The Breading!

Summary

Overall London was actually a disappointment for me. Many of the sites are beautiful to catch and take pictures of but most of the museums were quite a disappointment. Since I was only there for 5 days, maybe I was rushed while exploring the city but if you have more time, you should definitely check out the areas outside of the city like Camden. In addition, I did visit the Abbey and Cathedrals on a Sunday, make sure to just sit in the back and be quiet (free entry on Sundays). In terms of food, my local friend also mentioned that the best fish and chips are located outside on the coastal villages so avoid that dish while you are in the city. If you have time, Stonehenge is a good half day trip but I would recommend going for sunset trips. Finally I have finished the UK, and now its onwards into central Europe!