A Day in London

London Travel Blog

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Buckingham Palace

The Journey There
I had booked a seat on the Megabus about a month before leaving from Preston to London (the return journey only cost £7!).  The bus left Preston at 05:30 so it was a very early start.  I arrived at the Victoria Coach station in London at 11:00 and having had the last 5h 30mins deciding what to do I was able to hit the ground running.

London
First off was
Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria Memorial
  There were loads of people about so I decided to carry straight on into St. James' Park, which is not very big but it was pleasant.  I walked the length of the park then back up to Buckingham Palace and by this time the crowds had cleared and I was able to see the Palace properly.  I then walked down The Mall to Trafalgar Square.  When I was walking down the Mall I decided that I wanted to get a photo looking down the centre of the road to Buckingham Palace but the volume of traffic made standing in the middle of the road somewhat difficult.  I eventually did it and am still in one piece, although the pic turned out not to be that great anyway.  Trafalgar square was really nothing special.  There was a lot of scaffolding on many of the buildings and it really didn't look very visually pleasing so I moved on quickly and walked across the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
The Guards Marching
  I had planned to go on the London Eye but the queue was huge and I didn't want to spend my limited time in
London in a queue.  So, moving on I headed south and across Westminster Bridge.  I had only ever seen Big Ben from a distance before and I was very impressed with it as I stood beneath the tower with the sun gleaming off the gold coatings.  After having a look at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abby I went to catch my first tube of the day.

I bought a day travel card for the tube (£5.30) and jumped on my first tube from Westminster to Tower Hill.  Easy.  Here I walked around the Tower of London, then across Tower Bridge (which is by far the best bridge in London).

View from St James's Park
  From Tower Bridge I could see HMS Belfast, which is the largest surviving example of Britain's 20th century naval power and is now permanently moored in the Thames.  It now serves as a museum and I would like to visit this one day when I have more time.  From here I walked west along the Thames and then crossed back over via London Bridge, which in my opinion is a really boring bridge to look at.  I had planned on climbing the steps of Monument, a memorial to the 1966 Great Fire of London but the whole structure was encased in scaffolding :(  I pressed onto St Paul's Cathedral, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
A Squirrel in St. James's Park
  When he was planning the cathedral he was told that he could not build a circular tower because it was too Catholic.  Well, I can assure you that it does indeed have a circular tower and Sir Christopher was able to do this by progressively tweaking the plans in secret and by the time people realised it was too late.  Nice one!

I then got a tube from St Paul's to Lancaster Gate and had a stroll through Hyde Park.  First I had a quick walk across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern.  I had been into the gallery over Christmas with my family and I was far from impressed with what I saw.  Anyway, I wanted to quickly have another look at The Crack so I could get a picture of it.  The Crack is a work of 'art' and is well, a crack that has been cut into the concrete floor.  It stretches the entire length of the floor, which is quite large.  I walked right the way to the end of it and have to admit I was somewhat disappointed because it kind of just stops.  I don't know why but I had expected it to end in something amazing.

A Pelican in St James's Park
  Never mind.

I walked back across the Millennium Bridge to have a look at the Albert Memorial and the Royal Albert Hall before walking back along the Serpentine and up to Marble Arch.  As a keen athlete I was very impressed by the number of people I saw running, not just in Hyde Park but throughout the whole of London and many of them were obviously dedicated runners as they were all kitted out in good old lycra/spandex.  Good for them.  I also saw a lot of cyclists about, most of them were commuters I think but I saw a few racers on the streets.  It must be quite a challenge to ride the streets of London on a bike given all of the traffic.

By the time I reached Marble Arch the light was starting to fade and I was getting really hungry so I jumped on the tube and headed for St Paul's again where I thought I had seen a McDonalds (I hadn't had one in years and for some reason I had a craving for one).

Carlton Gardens House
  I couldn't find one, nor any other suitable place to eat so I decided to walk across the Millennium Bridge again and head towards The Eye, which was now lit up.  I finally got my Mc Donald’s and ate it looking over the Thames at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

It was no dark so it was time to do a bit of night time photography.  I spent some time capturing the London Eye then walked across Westminster Bridge to Big Ben.  From here I wandered back to Buckingham Palace, then into St James's Park before finally heading back to Victoria Coach Station.

The Mall
  I was shattered now as I had been on my feet all day and had hardly had any sleep the night before so I was ready certainly ready to rest my feet after a very enjoyable day.

The Journey Back
The coach left almost bang on time (
23:45) but there were a lot of people on board this time, including one idiot who insisted on playing his music so lour that I could almost hear every word through his headphones.  Anyway, I dozed on and off throughout the journey and arrived back in Preston at 04:30.  I was very impressed with the MegaBus service.  Both journeys left and arrived on time (we arrived in London slightly early actually).  I can't help wondering how many hours I would have been delayed had I travelled by train!  Yes, I was very impressed with the service and even though the journey times are long the hours soon go by and you are not left frustrated by poor quality service as is so often the case with our overpriced train system.

Final Thoughts
London is certainly a big city but in a way it also seems so small because the tube system allows you to get anywhere within a few minutes.

  It is also really easy to navigate around and you can never really get lost.  If you don't know where you are then just jump on a tube to somewhere you do know.  I'm sure this is a different story when driving as the one way systems probably cause a lot of confusion if you don't know where you are going.  On foot though it is a great city to explore.

Sunflower300 says:
They have some sort of tax or fee to drive in the centre of London now, maybe that's why there are so many bike commuters and runners, they can no longer afford to travel by car.
Posted on: Feb 11, 2008
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Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
The Guards Marching
The Guards Marching
View from St Jamess Park
View from St James's Park
A Squirrel in St. Jamess Park
A Squirrel in St. James's Park
A Pelican in St Jamess Park
A Pelican in St James's Park
Carlton Gardens House
Carlton Gardens House
The Mall
The Mall
The Treasury
The Treasury
Jubilee Bridge
Jubilee Bridge
The Golden Jubilee Bridge is held …
The Golden Jubilee Bridge is held…
Im not sure what this man was doi…
I'm not sure what this man was do…
The London Eye
The London Eye
The London Eye
The London Eye
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliame…
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliam…
Even lamposts have crowns here!
Even lamposts have crowns here!
Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben
The leaning tower of Big Ben
The leaning tower of Big Ben
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Winston Churchill Statue
Winston Churchill Statue
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
The Gherkin
The Gherkin
Tower of London and the Gherkin
Tower of London and the Gherkin
My reflection in a shiny ball thin…
My reflection in a shiny ball thi…
HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast
London Bridge
London Bridge
Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
The Tate Modern from the Millenniu…
The Tate Modern from the Millenni…
The Millennium Bridge and St Paul…
The Millennium Bridge and St Paul…
Me standing over The crack
Me standing over The crack
The Crack
The Crack
The Crack
The Crack
Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial
Albert
Albert
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
Marble Arch
Marble Arch
The Skyline just before sunset
The Skyline just before sunset
London Eye
London Eye
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliame…
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliam…
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Big Ben
Big Ben
The London Eye
The London Eye
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
View from St Jamess Park
View from St James's Park
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London
photo by: ulysses