PHOTO DIARY OF LONDON
While a foreign language is alluring and always intriguing, travelling in a country that speaks your own language always has its comfort benefits. On my first trip to London, I loved the city more as I’d just travelled through other parts of Europe and didn’t realise how much I missed the ease of conversation. It’s a city where you feel a bit closer to Australia, yet has a different accent and a vast amount of history that my young home country does not. After the obligatory photos in front of Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and in a red telephone box, this last trip was less about the tourist hot spots and more about sampling what a local neighbourhood had to offer.
We stayed in a Studio apartment with the tiniest yet quaint terrace, shopped at the local supermarket Waitrose (my other favourite is Marks & Spencer) and as if we were living there, had a date night at the boutique Renoir Cinema. The Bloomsbury neighbourhood was very tidy and Cartwright Gardens itself was in bloom with potted flowers hanging from the apartment balconies. There is no shortage of pubs to chill at, where a Guinness on tap is normal and can be accompanied by some tasty traditional fish and chips. As the previous stop was New York City, we made ourselves at home at the local Costa Coffee on Marchmont to sip on a decent cup the size of a soup bowl or relaxed over a good pot of English tea with real milk.
To other travellers deciding to visit London I always recommend obtaining an Oyster Card to utilise the Tube and feel a tad more like a local. It makes sightseeing a cinch and can be more cost effective with price caps on multiple stops or day trips. I’ve travelled in quite a few undergrounds, and the Tube is by far the easiest to navigate and has the steepest of escalators. The Embankment is always a good major spot to find your bearings and the past two visits there were festivals so the area can be touristy as well as lively. From the Embankment you can access The London Eye, Palace of Westminster, Big Ben and cross over the River Thames. For an alternative take on the city you may want to visit the Brick Lane markets, have a beer at The Ten Bells (a Jack the Ripper location) and cruise the lanes to find some Banksy artwork.
IN SUMMARY | What you need to know….
– LOCATION – United Kingdom, Europe
– TO DO – Walk along the Embankment, view the city from The London Eye, explore London’s history by visiting Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, take in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, relax in Green Park or St James’ Park, cruise the Brick Lane markets, visit the secret past of The Ten Bells, shop along the luxe Bond Street and Regent Street, shop at Fortnum & Mason, Hamleys and Top Shop, for an extensive cheese selection stop by Paxton and Whitfield, if you fancy cars why not check out Aston Martin W-One, Lotus and the Audi Digital Car Showroom and grab a bite at Gordon Ramsey’s The Narrow or the original Hard Rock Cafe
Photos by Mel McLeod ©