I finally got around to going to London! It’s not like I’ve been here a month already or anything…
I considered staying in the city for a couple of days, but London is expensive and with my university bus pass I can get a return ticket for only £10 so I just bussed back and forth for two days. It takes about an hour and a half to get there, which isn’t bad at all, so I would just get a really early bus to be there in the morning and then back in the afternoon in time for dinner! I ended up taking the bus back right at rush hour which, in hindsight, was a terrible idea because on the Friday it took two hours to get back to Oxford – something to keep in mind!
I don’t have class on Fridays so I thought it would be the perfect day to spend in London. I got up early and took the bus into the city where it dropped me on Baker Street. I popped into a news and convenience store to get an Oyster card, and then headed over to my first stop – the Sherlock Holmes Museum! I’m a huge fan of the stories, TV shows, and movies, plus anything history related, so I was very excited. The building has been preserved in its Victorian state and is filled with all sorts of paraphernalia from the era to make it seem like Holmes and Watson actually lived there. I’m fully aware they’re just characters, but the museum was done in such a way that it really felt like they would walk into the room at any moment!
It took all of my willpower to not buy out the entire gift shop, and I escaped with only a pin! I walked around Marylebone for a bit, past Madame Tussaud’s (the line was ridiculous) and some lovely buildings, before stopping in Daunt Books. I’d heard this was a really pretty bookstore and specialized in travel books, so of course I had to see it! Again it took some convincing to not buy everything, and when I managed to tear myself away it was to head into the London Underground. I then spent the next who knows how long trying to find the Twinings shop on the Strand, ending up at Trafalgar Square and realizing that I can navigate the Tube better than I can navigate walking. I did find it eventually, so I can happily say that I’ve been to the oldest tea shop in London! It’s 300 years old which means you can see how shops were set up back then – long and narrow with shelves on either side – and there was even a tiny museum in the back.
Then it was back on the Tube to spend the afternoon at the Tower of London. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in history – from the medieval period through to the Victorian era and even today – this is a must-see! The whole complex is amazing and very well thought out for tourists, with tons of information and things to see. It’s also right by the Thames with a great view of Tower Bridge! I bought my ticket online earlier in the week, which saved both time and money so I would definitely recommend doing that. The weather was perfect and somehow I picked a time when it wasn’t swarming with people, so it was a fantastic way to end the day! The crown jewels are housed here but you can’t take photos and I didn’t want to line up for hours to get a two-second glimpse, so I opted for tea and climbing medieval towers instead!
I went back bright and early the next day, because I had signed up for a free walking tour. Our guide was amazing and we saw pretty much all of the iconic London landmarks – all in 6 hours of walking (with a break for lunch of course)! I could go on forever about the stories we heard and the sights we saw, so instead here are some of the photos I took. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all!
London is quickly becoming one of my favourite cities, and I definitely still have a list of things I want to see and do! This was the first trip I’ve done on my own, and I’m actually really proud. I got myself to and from a major city in one piece, I like to think I mastered the Underground, and I organized tickets and things to do while I was there – all done successfully, I might add! This could be really dangerous for me, though, because I know I can do it and the rest of the UK and Europe is now my oyster!
Until the next adventure,