They say, ” If a man is tired of London, he is tired of Life”, a quote I completely agree with, but made me wonder, how one could ever get tired of London? It is a city which have absolutely everything, one could love, apart of enough sunshine throughout the year perhaps.
I chose to travel to London in the late November, not really by choice, but it was the only time off work, I could get and honestly it was a great choice – first the calendar was full of events ( as it is every other season), special exhibitions in the V & A Museum and the British Museum, Ice Skating with the building of the Natural History Museum or the Somerset house or visit of the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, feeling absolutely fascinated by the Christmas decorations and lights, as soon as the evening approached; watching Londoner and visitor gathering with friends and co-workers at the Christmas markets, filling up the Soho area or simply doing quick shopping at the Regent or Oxford street – simply amazing.
How can one, not love London? Well, maybe for people who live or work in the city, it can look too hectic, stressful or messy, but it also one of the most diverse cities in the world. Walking on the streets, you hear the languages, you see signs, or even whole neighborhoods with people belonging to one or another culture or ethical group,but you also see all of them united in the same causes when needed. Personally, I love that diversity best seen in the many food markets, restaurants or shops. You might be thinking, why travel the world, if you can just go to London and see the whole world represented in there, but if opportunity for traveling represents, I would take it, otherwise, I would always go to London.
When traveling alone, I prefer to go to places where I actually have friends, so during the day I would enjoy my tours and I would have great company over dinner and evening entertainment after.
I would also prefer to stay in hotel,being more independent, so for the time being I stayed in a lovely hotel ( converted Victorian townhouse actually) in the Chelsea & Kensington area, just a minute walk from the Earl’s court tube station,conveniently linked with the Picadilly line going to Heathrow airport.
Ultra-chic,the Chelsea and Kensington was recommended to me, to stay over, by an insider and it was a great choice-really safe and well establish.This is where many of the London’s elite lives in beautiful,beautiful whitewashed houses and villas,shop in the many trendy boutiques, enjoy a coffee or tea in some of the chic cafes or dine at the high-end restaurants. Some of the most famous museums V&A Museum and the Natural History Museum were within less then 10 minutes walk from my hotel and Kensington palace,where I had ticket for,was just 15 minutes walk. Harrods- the famous department store, is from where I got my first gifts for family members,was something like 10 minutes longer walk then the V&A museum.
The morning after, started with a cup of strong coffee,followed by a walking tour starting from just around the corner of the National Gallery at the Trafalgar square. Joining guided tours is brilliant way of exploring a place and I loved all the stories told combined with hm British humor…There was a great story about the King George Iv, spending so much, so that there were not enough funds left to golden his statue at the Trafalgar square, like it was the original plan ( not it’s all dark). I’m still smiling after hearing the one why the iconic house of 10.Downing street (The official home of the Prime Minister) is painted in black? It is because people were tired of cleaning it from outside, so they left it black. That joke was followed, by a story about the colour the The Pall Mall street. All is red,so the Queen and the Royal Family would feel like they are driving on the red carpet going to or leaving the Buckingham Palace.This and many more stories was told later on.
The Queen is great part of people’s talks and daily life. They respect her and are proud of her. Actually,so I feel about her and the rest of Royal Family. At this moment I was also curious if she was home or not. While watching the change of the Royal Horse Guards in front of the Whitehall, our guide told us that if the main Royal Officer was riding a white horse,that meant that the Queen was home. Also, if the Queen was at residency of the Buckingham Palace, a ” Long Guard” was performed. While performing any of the Guards, I was able to catch part of the conversation of the main officers, just before exchanging each other – believe it or not, they were talking about the football results, girls and pubs.
Next after the Whitehall, we passed through the Churchill War Rooms, followed by a walk throught the St. James’s Park and the Pall Mall street to reach the Buckingham Palace, not so crowded at this early in the morning 😉 Here is where the walking tour finished, so I hop on the Big Bus,starting a tour from the Green Park toward the Tower of London, covering a lot of history, traditions and lifestyle throughout the way – I remain most impressed with the stories happening in the Mayfair, as well as the stories involving the lives of Princess Diana the Beatles and other significant individuals, they wrote history about.
When reaching the Tower of London stop and spending quality time, the daylight was decreasing even though it was around 3:30pm. There was heavy traffic, so I took a boat cruise along the River Thames going back to Westminster to meet with a good friend of mine. The boat cruise is absolutely recommended, as not only I reached the Westminster pier for about 30 minutes, but there was a live commentary all the way to it. There was a bar onboard, so I kept warm, while watching curious the sights from the river.
My friend I met near the Trafalgar square from where we head straight to the most entertaining area in London – The Soho…
As I’m fascinated by fashion and tradition, visiting the Kensington Palace was organized, as soon as I decided to fly to London. I spend a super lovely morning, learning a lot about the fashion through the ages and different Queens ruling the country. Many of the couture dresses worn by Royal women were on display. Before leaving the Kensington Palace, I did stop at the gift shop getting myself another memento.
From the Royals, I decided to do what else people in London do, shop, before meeting another friend of mine. Here the plan was to visit the National Gallery, I’m still sighing just by the though of the beauty hanging on the walls…Since the time was passing and we had a lot to catch up, dinner was next, followed by another favorite activity – heading to a pub 😉 It was interesting experience- first the pub was packed with people, most of them looking like coming from work, wearing the business attire. Second, there was no music as background, so it was funny – everyone talking, laughing having fun.. Third, for wine lover like myself, picking up a beer was kind of experience. Thanks to the guidance of my friend, this happen quit quick and I think I did double it ( it was so delicious with the added cranberry cream).
The British Museum is the other must-visit while in London. Housing so much History from all continents, this is actually the oldest museum in the country and among the largest worldwide. Here I have to admit, that I did pick several sections, which I wanted to see, otherwise, days of visit, won’t be enough to see everything.After the visit, I head the Oxford street walking down to Picadilly circus. Word is that if you spend long enough waiting in here, you will meet somebody you know. I was meeting friend anyway, so i did meet somebody 😉 The day after was supposed to be coming back- home-day…
People write so much about London – some like it, some not much. I adore it and I often find my way with or without reason. My last visit was this summer, just at the Birthday of the Queen, where I made the impossible to stay overnight and enjoy the celebrations. The next visit is already set, spending the time between Christmas and New Year here.
See you soon London or in London!