Laaandan Mate!

London Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Friday 21st December
We had a well oiled plan to catch our flight at 8.30am when Cam went out on Thursday night, and it wasn’t till he came home and started packing at about 10pm, that we realised we got to London at 8am, and left Edinburgh at an ungodly 6.30, so we had to create a new plan, with no internet to help us find a way to the airport, I was STRESSED OUT! Ooh I forgot to add that the airport is about a £40 taxi ride out of town so not really a feasible option. But everything went fine, we got a very early taxi and an airport shuttle after a few hours sleep and made it to London ahead of schedule. We had devised that we were going to buy Oyster cards seeing as we would be travelling around on public transport, and purchased them as soon as we got to Heathrow, where we had a hearty breakfast and started on our way to Willesden Green. As the tube was taking for-ev-er, we decided that cam should start sight seeing while I go see my aunt and uncle and drop off the bag. So I hiked to the house all on my lonesome, while Cam went to the Imperial War Museum. At about 1.30pm I met Cam at Westminster tube station, where we headed out to Westminster bridge and I got my first glance of London proper in a while. Just oustside the Westminster tube station you can see so many of London‘s fabulous sights, the houses of parliament, Westminster abbey, Big Ben, White Hall and the London Eye. We walked around the houses of parliament, admiring the architecture and security. After we had walked around as much of the outside of the parliament as humanly possible, we decided to venture into Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is still used today for worship and was a lot bigger than I had remembered it being, Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

After seeing so many passed royals we thought we best try and glimpse a living prince, so we high tailed it to St James Tube Station and walked our way around to Buckingham Palace, it was sunset and the palace and the Victoria Monument in the mall looked fabulous. It was too late to see the changing of the guards, but we made a mental note to do that some day soon.

Not wanting to waste our first day in London we went around to the Science Museum, which unlike most other attractions does not close at sundown, it was great to relive our childhoods and play on all the interactive displays, lucky we were not ones to judge. The Science Museum was founded in 1857 with objects shown at the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace. When we exited the museum, getting quite exhausted after our early start we passed carolers at the church of latter day saints, we decided to stop by some of the famous squares on the way home, we ventured through Leicester square, and then walked to Trafalgar square where there were carolers for charity and a huge Christmas tree, the atmosphere was amazing. We decided by then that that was probably enough sight seeing for one day and headed back to the Bedhans to call it a night.

Saturday 22nd December
Saturday was a day for the family we stayed in the house till about 11, and then headed over to Hertfordshire for lunch at Siraj Mama’s. We got the train from Willesden junction to Harpenden Station, and then met Siraj mama there, Aunty Chambi, John and Nicole met us at the house, where Vaji Aunty had put on the most amazing Christmas spread. It was a relaxing afternoon catching up with them all after so long (though the two families hadn’t seen each other for as long as I hadn’t seen them, so there was certainly a lot of catching up to do) and the girls had all grown up so much. On the way home we decided to head into town so we had a coffee at Kings Cross before heading home.

Sunday 23rd December
On Sunday we had decided that we should fit in as much as possible, but to our dismay the day didn’t turn out to be as nice as we would have hoped for sight-seeing with a very low lying fog. We went out to marble arch and went shopping along that part of Oxford Street, where we had ended up by accident. After a long phone call home we went over to St Paul’s Cathedral. A Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has overlooked the City of London since 604AD, a constant reminder to this great commercial centre of the importance of the spiritual side of life. The current Cathedral – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces. Since the first service took place here in 1697. Wren's masterpiece has been where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated. Unfortunately we could not go inside the cathedral because they were preparing it for the mass we were invited to come back at 4pm for the service, but being the Sunday before Christmas we decided it was probably not the best time to try and get in.

Here was where our plans went askew, when we were at the cathedral, the weather appeared to be clearing up, but by the time we had made it to the tower of London and Tower bridge, the fog was so bad we could not even see the top of the tower, so we made an executive decision not to go in as we would probably not be able to see anything at all. So we headed past the London Bridge and back to the tube, where we had lunch at a Chinese Buffet just near Victoria Station. We were meeting Vicky in the evening so we decided to kill a bit of time at the Tate Modern art Gallery. Before we went in we saw Sam Neill exiting the building, and both of us managed to make a fool of ourselves at our claim to fame. The Tate Modern Collection consists of four wings on Levels 3 and 5 of the gallery, which are free to view. At the heart of each wing is a large central display, or ‘hub’, which focuses on one of the pivotal moments of twentieth-century art history. The four hubs feature Surrealism, Minimalism, post-war abstraction in Europe and the US, and the three linked movements: Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism. Around the focal points, a range of displays move backwards and forwards in time, showing the predecessors and sometimes the opponents of each movement, as well as how they shaped and informed subsequent developments and contemporary art. It was a bit of an intense art session and I think Cam was a bit bewildered by ‘modernism’ by the end of it. We then walked over the milenium bridge to meet Vicky at the London eye. It had been 10 years since I had seen him so it was great, if not short lived to catch up. We decided we weren’t quite done for the day so walked over to waterloo station and caught a tube to canary wharf the up and coming finance centre in London, it was great by night, but I would love to see it during the day when I’m sure it is a buzz. Cam has been really excited about the possibility of working there these last few weeks so it was great that we managed to catch a glimpse of what that could be like. We then went to Piccadilly Circus as we were starting to get quite hungry, but we walked and walked and found ourselves back in the buzz of Leicester square where we settled in for a pub meal and a beer.

Monday 24th December
We started Monday as if it were a Sunday really I made a batch of pancakes while Cam went off to see Wembley stadium. We finally set out about 11, only to encounter a Oyster card drama at the tube station, but luckily for us the superstar at Willesden Green station managed to fix up for Cam. We got off at Hyde Park and walked up towards Knightsbridge. As we walked around the park we passed through Wellington arch. We walked up past Harvey Nichols to Harrods where there was a rather sad looking fur protest outside. We didn’t really stay long, just basically went in to say that we had been, we got some amazing sandwiches, but I was put off by the swarm of pigeons following me around. We jumped back on the tube, because Cam wanted to indulge his shopping addiction, but the atmosphere was amazing, there were Christmas carols and Santa hats everywhere, even if there were thousands of people. We headed back and had an early dinner with the Bedhan’s, before catching our flight to Edinburgh and getting home very early on Christmas morning.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Sponsored Links
photo by: ulysses