Euro Trip Cont’d: Last Stop London, England

August 28

We left Barcelona early in the morning (Check out Barcelona post here); and arrived in London’s Gatwick airport at around 12:30 pm.
We were welcomed by heavy rain and it lasted for a few hours. If you are local, then you already know the deal, but if you are visiting , then this is a heads up; it rains in London a lot (a lot)! I honestly didn’t mind the rain, as the weather did cooperate the rest of our trip and it didn’t rain much after the first day.
We hopped onto an airport shuttle going into the city and it took us about an hour to get to our hotel. We stayed at Best Western Boltons, it is located few steps away from the Earls Court tube station. One thing I noticed about hotels in London is, that the rooms of 4 star hotels are not as large as North American hotels, but that is just a cultural thing. We got a pretty small room and there was a bit of an issue with, lets say, cleanliness, which resulted in us getting another room. As a result of the issue, we got free breakfast buffet offered by the manager. I wasn’t overly impressed by our hotel, but was impressed by the customer service we received.
Later in the evening, we went to grab some food at Dragons Palace, it’s a Chinese restaurant few minutes away from the hotel.

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Day 2
The next morning we took the tube to Westminster station, to check out the Big Ben and Palace of Westminster. From here we roamed around the Thames River, it is a big area to chill around and explore. Oh and of course a lot of those famous double-decker buses are around.

Big Ben and the Westminster Castle
Big Ben and the Westminster Castle
View of the Big Ben across the Thames River
View of the Big Ben across the Thames River

Next we went to ride the London Eye, it is a huge ferris wheel looking over the city. We had already bought the tickets online so didn’t have to line up. But there is still a line up to get on the London Eye. The ride lasts about 15- 20 minutes, with plenty of picture-taking opportunities.

Just got on the London Eye
Just got on the London Eye
View from inside the London Eye
View from inside the London Eye
View from inside the London Eye
View from inside the London Eye
Gigantic Ferris Wheel
Gigantic Ferris Wheel

Afterwards, we had built quiet an appetite and went to Great British Fish & Chips, located near the London Eye, and since no trip to London is complete without their fish and chips. We got our food to go and walked to Jubilee Gardens where we sat and ate our fish & chips with the view of the London Eye.

Fish and Chips by the London Eye
Fish and Chips by the London Eye

After eating we walked around the Thames river some more to explore the area.

So many Bubbles!
So many Bubbles!
Street art around the area
Street art around the area
Ship rides on the Thames River
Ship rides on the Thames River

Later at night, we went to catch the The Lion King Musical at the Lyceum Theatre. It is a very grande theatre and the play itself was a classic.

Before the Curtains opened...
Before the Curtains opened…

Day 3
Today we woke up a bit later, closer to afternoon. It had been over 2 weeks already on our Euro trip and we had to catch up on some much needed sleep.
We were hungry and since it was afternoon we went straight to lunch and got some delicious spicy biryani at a nearby restaurant. It was very hearty and we found out the owner of that place used to live in Canada in Markham, Ontario (Such a small world)

Delicious Biryani
Delicious Biryani and Kabobs

After our meal, we headed out to Knightsbridge station to check out Harrods. It is a gigantic department store with pretty much everything (food, clothing, electronics, beauty etc etc.) and it also holds a lot of history, including a memorial for princess Diana in one of the floors.

Outside Harrods
Outside Harrods
Harrods building with its iconic green entrances. It is huge
Harrods building with its iconic green entrances. It is huge.

Afterwards, we headed towards Buckingham Palace, you can walk from the Harrods area and it takes about 20 minutes or you can also take the tube, it also takes about 15 minutes.
Once we got to Buckingham Palace, I swear I spotted the queen, but to my disappointment it was a bunch of old people riding in a golf cart, going inside the palace. Also, I doubt the queen takes golf carts to get around, when she probably has horse ride carriages 🙂
We chilled around the palace for a while, taking pictures and I still had hopes deep down I would see a glimpse of the queen, but they were not actualized 🙁 (Its ok, until next time)

View from outside of Buckingham Palace
View from outside of Buckingham Palace
Around the Palace
Around the Palace

Later, we left the palace area and walked around until we got to Trafalgar Square. It is a very big public square surrounded by museums, cultural spaces, art galleries, restaurants and much more. We hung out and chilled by the fountain, listening to some locals singing songs on the street and watched street artists making art.

On our way to the square
On our way to the square
Trafalgar square and double decker buses
Trafalgar square and double decker buses
Fountain and museum by Trafalgar Square
Fountain and museum by Trafalgar Square

We walked towards Leicester Square and ate at a café called Fiori Corner. My friend and I had smoked salmon and hot chocolate, in retrospect, maybe not the best decision (More on it later)

Smoked Salmon and hot chocolate
Smoked Salmon and hot chocolate

After eating we headed out towards Oxford Street, it is one of Europe’s largest and busiest shopping streets. We checked out several shops before they closed, as we got there closer to closing time. If you are visiting Oxford Street, give yourself plenty of time earlier in the day to cover it all.

Oxford Street Shopping
Oxford Street Shopping
Roaming around Oxford Street
Roaming around Oxford Street

Day 4
As I mentioned earlier, maybe eating smoked salmon and hot chocolate wasn’t the best idea, since my friend and I got sick. So our fourth day was basically spent in us recovering. In the afternoon, we went to Pret A Manger (sandwich and coffee shop) by our hotel and that is pretty much all we did that day. We had plans to go on a day tour the next day, which we had to get better for.

Coffee and Croissants
Coffee and Croissants

Day 5
The next morning we woke up bright and early to catch our tour bus. We had signed up for a tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford University.
First stop was Windsor Castle, this castle is where kings and queens have stayed from generations going back in centuries. If you notice the flag on top of the castle flying high, then it means the queen could be staying there at that time. We were there for a few hours, so we explored the ins and outs of the castle, along with a church at the castle.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Views of Windsor Castle
Views of Windsor Castle
Views of Windsor Castle
Views of Windsor Castle

Afterwards, we hopped back on our tour bus and headed towards the Stonehenge. Once we got dropped off at the main area, we had to take another bus that takes you to the actual Stonehenge, as regular traffic isn’t allowed there. And there we were, standing in front of rocks that have been standing tall for ages for whatever purpose. We weren’t allowed to touch the rocks, but if you can get a private tour outside of visitor hours, then you can go up very close.
After taking in the view and snapping lots of pictures, we just sat there and relaxed.

Stones standing tall for ages
Stones standing tall for ages
Resting time and giving our thumbs up for the experience
Resting time and giving our thumbs up for the experience (it was a windy day)

Finally, we headed on our last stop of the tour and also our trip; Oxford University. I am a super fan of Harry Potter, so when we got to Oxford, all I could think of and talk about, was how much it all reminded me of Harry Potter. It is a HUGE campus, with beautiful architecture and so much history. Definitely, worth a visit.

Such great architecuture
Such great architecuture
Beautiful views and buildings
Beautiful views and buildings
This is the bridge which students cross to go to their exams
This is the bridge which students cross to go to their exams
Great oxford architecture
Great oxford architecture

After getting a tour of the campus we went to a store called Flaggs, and in it was so much Harry Potter related souvenirs that I ended up buying a scarf, which i thought closely resembled the Gryffindor colors and got my picture with Dobby (yes, i got way too overly excited)

With my friend Dobby :)
With my friend Dobby 🙂

Just like that our Europe Trip had come to an end. As much as I was missing home, I was also super sad to leave, as it had been one amazing trip. From Lisbon to Madrid to Barcelona and finally to London. We explored so much in just under 3 weeks and made so many memories, discovered so many different cultures and new places. Travelling is an amazing way to refresh the soul, and it opens our eyes up to people and places out in the world that are so different from ours. Also shoutout to my friends; May and Nikita for being awesome travel buddies and I got to share these experiences with them. The good nostalgic feelings of this trip still linger among us when we reminisce of our times here.
The next morning we woke up bright and early to depart London, and just our luck, in our flight back home, we had a British senior choir group travelling with us for a show in Canada. They even performed for us mid flight and it was the perfect way to end off our trip; the memories for which will live on forever. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the Euro trip blog post series, stay tuned for more foodie and travel adventures.

Highlights of London

  1. Big Ben and Westminster Castle
  2. Walking along the Thames River
  3. Riding on the London Eye
  4. Eating Fish and Chips at Jubilee Gardens
  5. Watching Lions King Musical
  6. Checking out Harrods
  7. Buckingham Palace
  8. Trafalgar Square
  9. Shopping at Oxford Street
  10. Windsor Castle
  11. Chilling by Stonehenge
  12. Oxford University and its beautiful architecture
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