Thursday, April 13, 2017

London in 3 Days

When you return from studying abroad for a semester, you are going to be frequently asked: "What was your favorite place that you traveled to?" Although its such a simple question, I sometimes struggle to answer it because there are so many amazing cities/countries in this world, each of them unique and special for different reasons. There are so many factors that you consider when you think about whether you like/dislike a particular place: The sites; the culture; the food; the people; the layout/terrain of the place; the liveliness, and the list just goes on and on.

I think it may be because London seems to have such a great balance of all of these factors, that it just holds such a special place in my heart. I can't deny that the fact that the locals speak English is definitely a plus also, especially when you have spent the past few months struggling to piece a sentence together in your host country's language. Nevertheless, London was one of the cities that I would definitely go back to in a heartbeat. For the limited amount of time that I was able to spend there, I was able to fit in a significant amount of site-seeing in, but I could definitely spend a few months there and would not get bored at all.

First Stop: Harrods

I have never appreciated a department store more than the moment I stepped foot into Harrods. My friend and I spent a good 2 hours wandering around, just admiring how beautiful the interior was, as well as the amazing assortment of merchandise they have. What excited me most about this store was the huge assortment of teas that they had; I was in heaven to say the least! I was even more thrilled to see that they had strawberry tea bags (I have been looking for that everywhere but have not had any luck in the supermarkets near where I live). So, I obviously had to take advantage of that and purchase a few.

Stop 2:"It's Even Better Than the Pictures" - The Parent Trap House

If you are as big of a fan of "The Parent Trap" as I am, your child hood dreams will come true when you get the chance to see Elizabeth James' house in person! My mom and I watched this movie every single day after Kindergarten, so its no surprise that I am still obsessed with it to this day. If you get the chance to go, I would definitely walk by 23 Egerton Terrace-Kensington London so you can see with your very own eyes where Annie and her mother lived!

Stop 3: The London Eye & Big Ben


Riding the London Eye is probably one of the first activities that comes to mind when people think of visiting London for the first time. It is definitely one of those obligatory experiences, but the view that you get from riding it, really is worth it! If you can, I recommend getting a fast pass ticket, which costs a little extra than the standard ticket, but you won't have to wait nearly as long as you normally would. The lines can get pretty crazy, and when you are in London for only a few short days, you really want to try to maximize your time as much as you can!

As for Big Ben, we just looked at it from a distance, but you will be able to get a good view of it while you are at the London Eye!
Stop 4: Borough Market

 If you are a foodie like I am, you will love this big outdoor market/food festival, called Borough Market! They sell every type of cuisine that you can possibly imagine, and they sure are all tasty options too.I am warning you-you will want to try food from every stand that you pass. That's why its a great place to come with a friend or two, so that you can taste and share a few different types of food, and not feel as guilty.

Stop 5: Kensington Palace & The Orangery

Home to the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge, this place is nothing short of breathtaking. It is hard to say how much of the space belongs solely to the prince and princess, but a pretty big portion of the palace is open to the public in the form of a museum exhibit. When I visited, they had this beautiful exhibit which displayed dresses worn by every queen (from as long ago as they have record of). It was really fascinating to see just how lavish and extravagant the clothing worn by royalty was, and to see the evolution of styles worn by each of them.

 Right outside of Kensington Palace is the Kensington Gardens, as well as a lovely restaurant known for its high-tea! Enjoying tea and scones was one thing that I just had to do when I visited London. The number of tea cafes in London is pretty equivalent to the very high number of Starbucks that you would see in NY. The place that I went to is called "The Orangery" and you can order a pot of tea and a tower of treats for 29 pounds. This is a pretty good deal, especially because the ambience and furniture makes you feel like royalty the moment that you walk in.

Stop 6: Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace is another must-see site while you are here. Although the palace is not open to the public like Kensington Palace is, just standing outside and taking in the beauty of this building is satisfying enough! With the intricate detailing of the architecture, and the gold accents seen on the gates, there is no mistaking that someone very important lives here. Some people even just visit the palace just so they can see the very serious and attentive guards, as people try to wave and dance around from a distance, to get them to flinch (Which I am pretty sure never happens!)

Stop 7: The West End Theatre

If seeing a Broadway play/musical in NYC is one event that you associate with a successful visit into the city, then you should definitely see a musical or play at the West End Theatre in London! They have many options to choose from, and you can find a show for a significantly lower price than what you would pay in NYC. If you are as fascinated by English accents as I am, then you will be very content for 2 or 3 hours just listening to the actors and actresses speak and sing.

My list of sites/activities is just a small sneak peak of all of the fun and exciting places there are to see in London. If you have more than just a weekend to visit this amazing place, I would definitely take advantage of that and see as much as you can!

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