Greetings! I arrived in London England on July 25, and here are some adventures thus far! This is my third time to London, so I didn’t do the typical tourist stuff as I’ve done a lot of it in previous visits. But the great thing about returning to these big cities is there’s so much to do and see, that each time it’s a whole new experience. This time I explored new areas and explored a bit outside the city for the first time.
Well, lets start with the basics. One of the best ways to get around London is the Underground (the tube) and walking. Don’t be intimidated by it, it’s actually very easy to use. Traffic is a big issue here as the population 8.1 million. That’s not including the surrounding areas. So this is one of the quickest ways to commute. There’s also a lot of staff around, so don’t be shy to ask for help.
There are also the red double decker buses, the hop on-hop off buses and taxi. I’ve done the buses in the past. Fine, but slower. Fun to go on the top deck if you’ve never done that before. I’ve never used the black taxi or Uber here. Interesting tid bit, the taxi’s are black from the days of Queen Victoria. When her husband Prince Albert died in 1861 from typhoid, she went into a prolonged period of morning, I think about 8 years. She wanted London to mourn as well and ordered all the lampposts and cabs be painted black.
River Thames from Westminister bridge. There is a boat tour you can take on here. I did it last time I was here, you get a nice view of some important landmarks. London is an extremely old city, trade was done on the waterways. So you’ll see a lot of old buildings along this route.
That’s the London Eye behind the Lion. Last time I was here it was shut down for maintenance. This time I’m here in peak season so the line ups were insane. So I’ve never been on, but definitely a landmark.
No hopes of seeing Big Ben again until 2021! He’s just scaffolding while he gets a face lift!
Tea at Harrods! If you are in the Knightsbridge area, stop into this posh department store. There are 7 floors, over 300 departments and they sell just about everything you can think of. It’s massive. Good friends of mine Sarah and Tod happen to be in London at the same time, so we decided to go for a proper English afternoon tea! There’s many restaurants in there, this was the tea room on the 4th floor.
First we get our sandwiches. All different kinds. My favourite was the cucumber and cream cheese. My least favourite was the salmon/beet/horseradish and the curry chicken with raisin.
Then the desserts and scones. My absolute favourite is the scones with clotted cream and jam.
We then headed over to the West End for a theatre show. This is like New York’s Broadway. We went to the Book of Mormon. Hilarious. If you don’t care what show you go to, in both New York and London, there’s a booth called TKTS. This is the only legit discounted tickets. You can get up to 50% off. Everyday they put up what shows are discounted. It’s how I see most shows I go to in these cities. If there’s a popular show like Hamilton, then sorry bitch, you’re paying full price! But either way, take in a show, totally worth it.
Piccadilly Circus is a busy hub. It’s like the Times Square of London.
We did a SOHO Pub tour with Urban Adventures. We spent the afternoon walking the streets of SOHO and visited four pubs. SOHO was originally the working mans area of London. It eventually became full of artists, musicians, writers etc. It’s located in the West End, so off the theatre area; Leicester Square. Very happening. My friends Sarah and Tod, and my sister Lindsay and brother in law Brayden, we all met up for the tour.
The Ship was a popular spot frequented by John Lennon, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan and so on…
The Dog and Duck is known for its Gin. We stopped in here to sample one, and learned George Orwell frequented that joint regularity. Rumour has it he wrote a bit of 1984 there.
There’s many different shops and restaurants. A few for adults only! How fun!
You’ll see these blue plaques throught the neighbourhood. Here’s where Karl Marx lived. There was another where Mozart lived etc. Such a rich history when you think of all the people who passed through this area.
Switching gears, since I’m a registered nurse, I just had to check out the Florence Nightingale Museum. Very easy to find, by St Thomas’ Hospital, at the base of the Westminster bridge, close to the London Eye. Small museum but nicely done.
So you might be wondering, who dis? And why would I care? Well, in a really brief nutshell Florence was the founder of modern nursing. She was a nurse and manager back during the Crimean War. (1854-1856). And had a long extensive career after. Not only did she turn nursing into a respected profession, but she made the connection between infection and death due to unsanitary conditions. This completely changed the way soldiers were cared for, reducing the death rate by two thirds. Fascinating woman, a total rockstar. One of my favourite parts was you could digitally look at a book she wrote in. She kept excellent notes on all the nurses she managed and her opinions on them. Look her up!! Also look up Edith Cavell, another nursing badass! ❤️
I just liked this picture.
They have an interesting Spanish Flu exhibit on right now. I’m sure these folks would have loved to get a vaccine don’t you think?
I took the train from London to Canterbury. Only about an hour on the high speed train.
Beautiful little city. Population of about 55,000. Was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Beautiful Cathedral and castles around. Also the home of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the English book I can’t understand one word of. I spent the day with a Lindsay and Brayden, exploring, going to pubs and having tea.
Lindsay and Brayden in front of the Cathedral.
The Old Buttermarket Pub. I’m not a big beer fan, but the ciders in this part of the world are fantastic. Lots of different ones to try. Canada needs to step up its cider game! Got some pub food. Dirty chips, basically fries, cheese, sausage and a bbq sauce. And a meat pie.
Here’s a tourist trap I dragged Lindsay and Brayden into for a cup of tea. Alice in Wonderland themed, they also just play the soundtrack on loop. It’s cute, I enjoyed it. If Alice in Wonderland isn’t your thing, well, then this might be your own personal hell. But they do serve alcohol, so that should help.
And the reason why I came on this trip to begin with. In 2014, Lindsay and I did a tour in India. On our tour was 2 hilarious English girls Rosie and Sarah. We’ve stayed in touch since, and came to Sarah’s wedding in Preston. Lindsay was a bridesmaid. Preston is a village outside Canterbury. Wonderful time. We were so warmly welcomed by all their family and friends. My first English country wedding!
Beautiful country wedding. Rained off and on, I’m told that’s a true English wedding. The perfect couple, lovely speeches, good music, good food, lots of candy, great people. What’s a little rain and mud!
This was Lindsay, me, Sarah and Rosie in India in 2014, doing a Holi festival fight with the powdered colour.
I think we clean up nicely In 2019!
There’s lots to do in London, but keep in mind there’s a lot of day trips out of London if you want to see some of the countryside as well. So I booked a half day tour to Stonehenge with Day Tours London. Our bus broke down on our way out there, so I’d say it was more like a 3/4 day tour.
Finally here! Stonehenge! Created in 2500BC, no one knows why or how it was done, many theories, but here it’s stands…what’s left of it. They started roping it off because people were vandalizing it. I don’t know what’s with humans and our need to carve or spray paint our names on everything. We’re like cats in heat. But apparently you can get private tours and get up nice and personal to the stones. They also offer sunrise and sunset tours, that would be amazing. Truly remarkable.
We made it there just in time for a major downpour of rain. I got soaked down to my skiviez! Thankfully it was a warmer wind.
And the place was definitely not short of tourists that’s for sure! The earlier you go, the better. As the day goes on, the busier it gets, especially in peak season. This was around 11 am.
You really don’t need a lot of time here, we had 2 hours. That was enough time for me to go around it twice, and go through the interpretive centre and gift shop.
Lots of sheep in the fields surrounding the stones.
You have to take a shuttle bus from the main centre up to the stones. This was nice tourists taking pity on me because I didn’t have an umbrella while we waited for the shuttle. Bless them!
Well my London and area adventures are coming to a close. Had a wonderful time. Just doing some laundry before I head off to Belfast tomorrow! 🍀Until next time!😀