As I have written in my previous blogs, that I live and love to travel, I got an opportunity to explore one of the most striking cities of this world “London” and a paradise on this earth “Scotland “. In this blog I have shared my experiences of two weeks Unplugged.
To begin with London, it is a city with beauty all around. London is the place if you would like to experience a perfect historic culture with the modern outlook. Few adore the architectural sights during the day like these
and a few admire the charm of the city in the night full of lights.
The hospitality of the people around us was impeccable. To my surprise at every place we visited, be it restaurants or casino or hotels or tourist places, the people were extremely compassionate and helpful. It is very subjective if one would like this place or not. If you like to explore and experience different cultures, cuisines, lifestyles, people, laws etc. like how I do, then I would suggest that London is the place to visit. There is more to London than just visiting the tourist attractions.
I visited London towards the end of October and got set to welcome the winters. I was never interested to know about the history but the architecture was so mesmerizing that it compelled me to dive into the history of the place.
Hop- on Hop-off Bus Tour in London
To understand this city well and to decide which places we should spend more of our time, we took a hop-on hop-off bus tour on the very first day which is valid only for 24 hours. You are given ear-phones which helps you to listen to the commentary about the place you pass- by. There are many tours available. We took the bus tour from the Original Tour. Initially it was quite confusing to understand the map and locate the bus stops but gradually we got the hang of it. We got the bus tour tickets from an online portal and started our tour from Trafalgar Square. The price which I got online was definitely cheaper than what was sold at the office at Trafalgar Square. But I missed out on a relatively cheaper option which is to buy it from any train station.
On the contrary, if you have already decided as to which places you would like to visit during your stay, you can opt for an Oyster card. The deposit that you pay is also refundable. With Oyster card you can get around London at a very cheap price by public transportation.
The World Famous Wax Museum- Madame Tussauds
The next day we visited the world famous wax museum named Madame Tussauds which is one of the top tourist attractions of London
There was a very long queue to get into the museum. Make sure that you buy your tickets online to avoid that long queue since you can book your slot online and don’t need to spend hours wasting your precious time. It was quite exciting to see the waxworks of famous people around. It took us more than 2 hours to complete the entire tour of the museum. I am sure you would find some of your favorites to click your pictures with since there are wax statues of all the famous personalities be it singers, actors, leaders, sportsmen etc. We were quite exhausted after this tour. Post lunch, we again got in our hop- on hop- off bus and enjoyed the view around, listening to the history about the places we passed by. Since the winters had set in, we had day-light till only 4:30 pm. The sun was setting and the city was getting lit. We got off the bus to see the beautiful London eye which is on the South bank of the River Thames. You can also see Big Ben which is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and also spot Westminster Abbey beautifully lit in the dark. The huge London Eye was shinning so strikingly that it was difficult to take our eyes off it.
The London Eye
Westminster Abbey and Big Ben
Some people like the view of the city from the London Eye in the night and some love to see the flawless architecture when the sun shines. It is better if you can see both. Since we had reached there in the night, we decided to preserve our pass of the London Eye for the next day since we were more interested to see the view during the day and to explore the night beauty from the top, we took another ride next to the London Eye named Around the world 360-. It was quite thrilling and chilling.
We then had a calm walk on the promenade in the cool breeze and had dinner at one of the fancy restaurants located there.
The Restaurants in London
It is so amazing that throughout England, the menu is displayed outside the restaurant. Me being a vegetarian was little anxious about the type of food that I would get. So it is better to choose the restaurant on the basis of the menu displayed. There are many Indian restaurants in London which serve delicious vegetarian food as well and if you are missing the Mumbai food delicacies for a long time then visiting Dishoom restaurant can definitely give you a homely feeling.
Change of Guards- Buchingham Palace
The next day, we started our tour from witnessing the ceremony of changing of guards at Buchingham Palace. The ceremony starts in the morning at around 10 am. If you wish to experience it, make sure you are aware of the timing of the ceremony in advance since the timing changes as per the season.
Then we moved towards London Eye to enjoy the ride finally. Again here too the queue was too long. Make sure again that you buy those tickets in which you don’t have to stand in the long queue since you have limited time on your vacation it is important to save more time than save more money. Fast track entry at every tourist attraction is what I recommend. The fast track entry saved hours of our time.
The view from the capsule is spectacular.
London eye is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and it gives you the highest public viewing point in London.
The Capsule of the London Eye
If you enjoy sea life, then don’t give a miss to Sea Life London aquarium which is next to the London Eye. We got this as complimentary with the London Eye and Madam Tussaids’s pass. However it was totally worth it. Had we not received it complimentary, I think we would have missed this beautiful opportunity to stopover at this place. It took us nearly 2 hours to visit the entire place. You can spot the sharks so closely, different types of jelly fish and the cute penguins were icing on the cake. It was a beautiful experience.
Since we had visited London eye, we skipped the view from the Shard as it was one and the same. However, we enjoyed admiring from outside. We could not go to Hyde Park but you must find time to explore it.
We visited the Tower Bridge in the evening and took the Thames cruise from Tower Bridge also known as the Blue Bridge to the London Eye. There are many start and end points of these cruises. You may choose as per your availability of time but plan in advance by checking online.
We had also passed by the Tower Bridge during the day, and without the lights also, it looked breath-taking.
Also, if you into fashion, you should explore Oxford street with more than 300 shops in a row. Since I was looking out for some winter boots and a fancy coat at a reasonable price, I found one showroom named Primark. You can get the winter boots starting from 8 pounds as well whereas in other branded showrooms it was nothing lesser than 80 pounds.
One night we also explored the casino named Hippodrome.
Things you can do in the night at London
It was a four floored casino and we enjoyed thoroughly.
We happily came out winning 60 pounds and in the night at 1.00 am too the street was so lively with some street artist playing djembe and another entertaining the crowd with his lovely dance performance, It is so cool about this city that street performers are encouraged.
You can also spot the red telephone boxes around which is such a classic British icon and closer to the camera lenses of visiting tourists like me.
Luckily when we there we could be a part of two festivals. We spotted the Halloween night and also Diwali was round the corner.
The firework show was so enthralling that we couldn’t just believe that we would be able to celebrate Diwali in such a magnificent manner being far from our country. There was a firework show, along-with music and food stalls.
If time permits and you are a Harry Potter fan, you can also enjoy the Warner Bros. Studio tour at Watford. You can enjoy your journey from London to Watford by travelling in train, underground metro to get the feel of the citizen.
Make sure you have your tickets booked for this tour well in advance since this place is highly in demand and the tickets are booked nearly one month in advance.
If you are planning to hire a car at London, be ready to pay hefty parking charges. The times when we got bored travelling via pulic transport we booked private cabs with an application called Uber. I observed that everywhere the human intervention was at minimal. If you are visiting the United Kingdom, you need to make sure that you have basic knowledge in digital space or else you might find yourself handicapped. There are poundshops also throughout the UK. You can get goodies for your loved ones and yourself at affordable rate.
So there is a lot to do in England. You can visit Bath if you wish to explore the countryside, Manchester if you are a football fan etc. It depends on how much time and of-course money you have to spend for this vacation. But I would advice to plan your itinerary well in advance.
So in this blog I have shared my experience unplugged. To read the blog on the dramatic landscape of Scotland, you can click here.