How long was your stay?
How did you travel?
Tell us why you traveled to this destination.
I had dreamed about visiting London since I was a kid. I had a quick stopover there as I was making my way to Dublin. British people seemed so similar to me, an American! Yet, their accents were absolutely delightful. I was ecstatic to meet some British people and eat some fish and chips.
What was your itinerary?
Day 1 – Arrival to London, check in at hostel – Saint James Backpackers, fish n chips
Day 2 – Explored Kensington Gardens, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben
Day 3 – Went to Beefeater gin tour, pub hopping
Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.
Day 1 – I landed in London, took a train into the city (I landed at Gatwick airport, which is outside of the city), and rode the famous TUBE or London Underground transportation system. I know, I know. It’s just an underground railway but from all the media I had consumed, this was a great moment for me! Seeing the iconic red circle with the blue line through it made for some great photos for this tourist. Anyways, I made my way to the neighborhood of Kensington and got off at Earl’s Court station. I checked in at the hostel, Saint James Backpackers. The rooms were extremely outdated and generally not nice. However, there were some very cool people in the hostel that made for a great stay. Famished, I left the hostel and made my way to Court field, a traditional tavern with real ale and the iconic fish and chips. With a football (soccer) game on, an ale in hand, and a massive plate of fish and chips, this was the perfect start to my trip!
Day 2 – Somehow, it was a beautiful sunny day. I decided it would be a perfect day to get lost wandering the local neighborhoods. I first stumbled into a quaint coffee shop Hjem Kensington and fueled up with a cappuccino and croissant. Caffeinated, I left for Kensington Gardens. The gardens were filled with people running, walking, and bicycling. Beautiful flowers and plenty of trails to walk made this a relaxing way to enjoy a sunny day. You can also see and tour the Kensington Palace, which formerly housed Queen Victoria and Princess Diana. Even William and Harry lived there! While I’m not heavily invested in the lives of the royal family, it was cool to stand directly outside of one of their residences. As I continued through the gardens, I noticed a familiar looking building right on the perimeter of the gardens. It was the Royal Albert Hall! Literally, everyone famous from Beyonce to Winston Churchill to Albert Einstein has been there! You can take a tour of it for around $20USD. You might get lucky and see someone famous rehearsing! Feeling ready for more of the touristy sites, I kept walking. I was undoubtedly getting my steps in today. Right next to Hyde Park is Buckingham Palace. While I did not take a tour of the palace, it is something to behold! As well, the changing of the guard, yes, the dudes with the big funny hats, is quite a spectacle. Next, it was off to see some other wonderful tourist sites – Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. The architecture of these buildings is wonderful and I feel that pictures don’t always do them justice. Fully exhausted, I made my back to the Kensington neighborhood and snagged a curry at Star Kebab before retiring for the night.
Day 3 – I snagged tea at the hostel. I’m not a tea guy but I felt compelled to drink some since I was in London. I hopped on the tube towards Kensington. I had booked a tour at the Beefeater Gin Distillery. It was a mixture of a self-guided and tour guide led experience that covered the history of Beefeater gin and provided you with a gin tasting experience and a gin and tonic at the conclusion of the tour. It was awesome. What made it even better was that I made friends with some locals and went pub hopping after the tour! We visited the Pilgrim Pub and watched a rugby game. I understood nothing of what was happening in the game. The accents were fun to listen to. Then, we finished at the Dog House for more ale. Wishing my friends well, we went our separate ways! It was back to the Kensington neighborhood for an ale at The King’s Head, another cool English pub! I was able to make some more friends here and get invited to a house party. After a quick pit stop at the City of Quebec for dancing, we made our way to the neighborhood of Paddington. On the way, I got some obligatory photos with the red double decker bus and the blue police box. Iconic England! While it might be impossible to schedule a house party with local Londoners, I would highly recommend going to the local pub wherever you find yourself and talking to the locals. I generally found most of the people there accommodating and friendly.
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
What was the highlight of your trip?
The accents of the British people was the highlight of my trip. Drinking ale and eating fish and chips in a pub was a close second.
If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?
London is a pricey city. I think that taking advantage of certain days for visiting museums and other historical dates would help with the overall cost of the trip. In addition to that, I would have considered a city pass that would have enabled me to use public transportation and enter touristy places for a discounted price.
@shlarsen8 – (insta)
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