London has such a magical aura that surrounds it. Its streets are filled with a certain magic that can’t be explained unless you have physically walked the streets yourself. The movies can only half depict the beauty that London beholds.
A little over a month ago, I had the pleasures to travel to London for a few days before heading back to the United States. The moment I got of the metro into downtown London, I was like a little kid in the candy store. I was in awe with the heritage. Around every corner was a old building that was being put in to use. My travel buddy and I took took everything in as much as we could. Since we only had a few short days, we had to take advantage of the short time we did have. Since it was our first time, we downloaded a London map on our phone (which was super helpful) and started hitting up the most important things in the the we had, and started our travel adventure around the London streets.
Here are the top 5 things to do in London in a short trip that I found to be worth it!
1) Rent a Bike
Renting a bike from the local stands, called Barclay Bikes (or as everyone calls them Boris Bikes), is the best idea that my travel buddy and I ever had. There were so many locations around London to rent the bikes and to return them, making it super convenient and easy to use. Literally around every coroner there were station of bikes, and we were able to see all the top things to see in London simply by biking around. We knocked out every top thing to see, such as Buckingham palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London, and even rode to the shopping centers and Hyde Park along the way. It helped that London isn’t filled with hills and is relatively flat to bike, which makes biking so much more enjoyable (especially since I am not a pro biker in any shape or form). Once you tackle the opposite traffic directions, it’s such a magical feeing to be riding a bike in the streets of London, plus you save a ton of money sine the underground is so expensive and renting a bike is literally 2 pounds for 24 hours.
The wonderful thing that London has to offer is that it offers free admission so some pretty amazing museums! Of course you can pay for the ones such as the Tower of London, but if you are on a tight budget no need to worry, London offers free admission to a few really good ones, such as The British Museum, Museum of London, and The Science Museum. In any of these, you could get lost in it for hours on end and never find your way out, but it’s highly interesting and worth a see if you want to take a few hours and visit a museum, especially if you are only there a few days or if you are not really a museum person. We only went to the British Museum which was highly enjoyable by both my travel partner and I and we took one afternoon to do it!
3) Harry Potter Warner Brothers Tour
If you are remotely at all a Harry Potter fan. I HIGHLY recommend going out of your way and doing the wonderful tour that is offered just right outside of London. You get to see everything first hand, and you feel like you are a part of Hogwarts, which is every Harry Potter fans dream. It is a day trip though but one that is highly worth it, even if are only visiting London for a few days. You get to see every prob imaginable, you get to see costumes and sets, and even get to to have a glass of Butterbeer if you feel like it. If you go and see this, I always recommend getting the audio guide because you hear more specific details about each section of the tour and honestly makes it more worth it!
4) The Beer and the Food
Let me tell you, London has some pretty amazing food and pubs. The fish and chips are to die for and the beer is something of it’s own. I think my favorite part everyday was exploring the city and finding a good restauant and pub to try every night of our trip there. The atmosphere that surrounds pubs in London is pretty special. Londoners are very sociable and enjoying a few drinks is always fun in a foreign city, you really get the feel of what the atmosphere of that life is. It’s always been one of my favorite parts about traveling. Just be aware, be prepared to drop some good money on drinks because it’s really freaking expensive (but so worth it).
Literally, shopping is the center of London. Between browsing through Harrods to even the shops on Oxford Street. Even if you are on a tight budge and can’t shop, just walking through the stores is something of it’s own. Being that London is definitely a fashion capital and it’s super apparent, and highly intriguing to see, I highly recommend browsing through the shops and seeing the fashion that is just present in that atmosphere. In addition, the store in general interesting to shop in, like we stopping at he Twinnings tea store and that was something amazing within itself too!
Overall, I can only hope one day that I am able to experience London yet again for a longer period of time but for now the glorious few days I had will have to do. Just a few days was enough to see the basics and get a feel for London and I couldn’t be happier with my experience. If you ever get a change to visit this magical city, I would highly recommend it even if it is just for a few days. You won’t regret it.
Coming up: An open letter to the one that showed me to love again, the worries of resume/cover letter writing, and Tips on traveling in Paris!