I spent 4 full days wandering about London and man, it’s not enough, not enough at all. Most of the time we were scampering from one point to the next. Even then, we had not managed to see it all, had not seen enough, watched enough nor tasted enough.
If you have plans to:
2) watch musicals
3) visit the tourist attractions
4) visit the markets
5) go to museums
I’d recommend at least 7 full days. Well, at least that’s the time I wish I had. I wish I could visit more markets (I only covered Camden Market and Borough Market) and I wished I had a night (where I wasn’t so exhausted after walking the whole day) to club. London is a prime spot for a couple of other day trips out as well, and if you do want to visit other parts of UK, be sure to allow even more time.
Cost of living:
Public transport within London costed me £30 per day for that 4 full days. Each train ride costs ~£2.50, while the bus is relatively cheaper. I noticed that the bus drivers are separated from the passengers by a transparent panel sandwiched between them and the passengers, unlike in France where there is no physical barrier between them. I thought it symbolised the emotional connection between the driver and passenger quite representatively too.
Meals cost easily £10. There are £7.50 options if you look hard and aren’t fussy. Think street stalls or fast food chains.
I’m sure London needs no introduction, nor mapping. I came to realise how there are more Singaporeans than I expected in London to do their bachelor’s degree. Wished I had the time to meet up with them, but time was very tight on my trip there.
I’ve been procrastinating on this post for the longest time now simply because of the sheer number of places we’ve visited (and the accompanying photos that follows).
To keep things organized, I have laid out my content in the following order:
- Personal experiences – CNY celebration, climbing trip, Matilda musical
- Tourist hunts
Food & markets we visited are reserved for a separate post.
1. Personal experiences
This was WL’s first stop from Singapore. After 2.5 months, we’re finally reunited!
We kickstarted the night with salmon, mussels in white wine sauce and some wine. This has got to be my best home-cooked meal in the entire time I’ve been overseas. Very much thanks to none other than our superb host, Leonard.
It was also the eve of the eve of CNY (17 Feb). We just came back from CNY shopping at Chinatown street. It was where I found the one and only (monopoly?) bubble tea shop to cost £4 per cup. On a side note, that got me craving for milk tea so badly so I bought the bottled one at the Chinese shop. Heh.
Below shows our steamboat spread for CNY (19 Feb). I can’t believe I would have this opportunity to eat steamboat in Europe. What a joy! I remember feeling very deprived of fish and prawns. So when the ever-talented cook Leonard cooked fresh fish for us, and with 2 of the guys being averse to fresh fish, I unabashedly claimed the whole fish for myself. 8)
We improvised steamboat using a rice cooker. Again, we have much to thank Leonard for not only being helpful with the planning of our itinerary, but for also being a splendid cook! Felt so blessed. 😉
All hail patriotism! Sorry I couldn’t maintain a straight face.
Since we were in the company of climbers, how could we miss out on it?! This was, and still is, my sole climbing trip since the beginning of exchange so far. :/ It was a novel experience to climb in the cold + dry. No sweaty palms, no slippery tiles.
Watched Matilda the musical for £5. It’s a STEAL, considering how we woke up before the sun was up to be the first in queue. We arrived 3 hours before the box office opened at 10.30am. That’s how long we stood/ sat in the morning chill. My toes were frozen midway through the wait.
To WL’s disappointment, we didn’t manage to win the lottery ticket to watch Book of Morman for £20. Hence we didn’t watch it at all.
I also lost my beloved glove in London while rushing for the lottery ticket draw. 🙁
2. Tourist hunts
How else can I begin other than the famous London telephone booths? No, posing with the booth is too cliche. I like a lone, bright booth standing on its own. Besides, in case you didn’t know, drunkards conveniently pee inside these booths in the middle of the night when everywhere is closed. Talk about being iconic.
I knew I couldn’t leave London without a picture of their famous red buses too!
And their iconic subway stations.
Horse Guards building
This building was named as such because at certain times of the day, you can watch the changing of guards who’re on horses.
Needs no further introduction. It was overcrowded with people that it dampened the charm of it.
Saw this from a distance. Very distinct architecture that looks like a bullet. One of the tallest buildings in the world, at 87 storeys.
My favourite attraction of all! Can’t help that I have a thing for bridges and this bridge is in bright blue instead of the usual copper-brown colours. It sounds like I’m describing a toy bridge but when I was actually on it, it is pretty dazzling! Now I wish I had a memento of this bridge…
Here’s an interesting one. This picture below depicts new age technology consumers. Given that I’ve just finished writing a report about digital technology, I found this picture rather apt in describing the humans in this age. There is a really gripping article that I found while researching. It called out to me, and I strongly suggest you read it too.
En route, we walked through old-fashioned buildings set in a modern setting. They looked like garages-turned-office-spaces. I found them really pretty.
My favourite exterior design below! I didn’t visit this restaurant, but passing by it, the striking red windows, rustic brick building, and gold finishes on its street lamps and signboard complemented each other so well that I couldn’t rid my eyes off it.
Very… nondescript, in contrast to the Tower Bridge. Different from my childhood expectations of a London Bridge.
Made me wonder if Singapore’s Helix Bridge somehow got the idea from here ‘cuz of their similar features.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
On the way we also passed by:
Tate Modern (museum)
Tower of London (museum)
Pretty buildings of London below.
Other attractions that should not be missed are:
Oxford Street– the shopping street of London
St. Christopher’s Place– a side street along Oxford Street, filled with restaurants. At night the restaurants light up, offering a quieter (compared to bustling Oxford Street), saner and more conducive place for a intimate evening with your companion(s).
St James’ Park
Goodge street– look for hidden cool pubs!
Seven Dials– seven streets that converge to the seven-faced dial, with each street filled with plenty of shopping opportunities. Shops like Holland & Barrett, American Outfitters, Mango, Hollister and other cafes can be found here. Couple of musical theatres as well situated within the streets here. This is where we caught Matilda the musical.
Picadilly Circus– for the musical-fanatic.
Accom: courtesy of Leonard
Expenses: SGD 674.33 for 4 days
Bristol-London: SGD 20.40 by bus
17 Feb, Tue – 22 Feb, Sun