21 years ago I was in London, at that time my favorite city in the whole world! Compared to Amsterdam and Paris that was, the only three ‘big’ cities I had seen so far. Ever since I have seen many more cities but I always kept this dream of London. Last month I visited London again, and I was not disappointed at all. Why did it took me soo long to go back? I’m a bit more reserved calling a city my favorite city because every city has its charm, but London is still great!
This time Luke was with me and it was again a challenge to divide my time between taking pictures and trying not to be an annoying travel companion. The first day I tried to solve this by getting up early and use the time before breakfast to go out and wander around to see if anything caught my eye. Time flew and of course one hour was not enough, but anyway, it felt great to just have this small window of quality time with Luke. Which reminds me I really need to go out there by myself and do a bit more planning…
We stayed in London for three days and divided our time visiting Westminster & St. James area, Southwark and Shoreditch. The first day we ‘hunted’ for the high lights; a walk along the Thames (starting at Tate Modern, Southwark) towards London Eye, House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham palace, 10 Downing street and Regent street, to name a few.
The next day was a cloudy day. We crossed the Millennium bridge towards The City and visited the beautiful St. Paul’s cathedral. The entrance ticket offers a free audio guided tour, but we just wandered around a little bit, as most of the things I learn during an audio tour I tend to forget anyway. We encountered the King of the Zulu’s and his entourage, visiting the cathedral as well! The Cathedral’s security is doing wonderful crowd control, only a certain amount of people is let in at once. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy and walk around without bumping into people all the time.
It’s something different to see people being honored who have been generals and other related functions to mainly war history, in St. Paul’s. But it is a beautiful sight and worthwhile spending some (or a lot of) time. The crypt is humongous, and besides some famous memorial stones (like Florence Nightingale) there is a gift shop, a nice café and a separate Thea room.
We continued our way back to and along the Thames towards London Bridge. From this bridge you can see the Tower bridge (picture spot) and crossing it brings you close to Borough market. We crossed this famous food market, which makes a great photography scene.
In the evening we enjoyed a musical in the typical English Aldwych theatre, beautiful decorated and a great show: Tina, the musical. What a performance!!
On our last day in London we visited Brick lane and the Sunday market. This area of london is the more artistic area. Bricklane lies in Shoreditch, which is situated in The East End and used to be a working-class neighbourhood. Nowadays it's a trendy artistic area with an international community and a great Sunday market!
One of the things I really like about London are all the great food spots, restaurants and food markets. I did not do a lot of research on where to have diner (although I got quite some recommendations). We just made reservations after searching google maps for something close by. It is not my intention to give all kinds of (travel) advise, but the three restaurants we visited were all great and worthwhile mentioning: Union Street café, by Gordon Ramsay, serving quality Italian artisan food, Hixer Bankside (a former metal box factory) by the concept of Mark Hix, serving modern English food and Roka, close by the Aldwych theatre, serving delicious Japanese cuisine!