London was not on my radar to visit, it just happened to be where my flight was departing. Of course, I knew of historic sites, but I categorized the UK as a someday when I have nowhere better to be destination. They speak English, so I thought, where was the challenge!? Well, once I arrived, deciphering their English language and British ways proved me wrong.
I’ve been to London twice in four months. Once in the summer and then mid-autumn. I love this city. I rank it as my number two favorite city in the world (so far); Rome is number one and if you’re interested Montreal is number three.
I stayed at an Airbnb, $149 for two nights, this is London during the summer, so I think that’s a fair price. The en suite loft was roomy, the bed was super cozy and there was a shared kitchen downstairs.
The Dollis Hill Tube station was an easy five-minute walk. I walked the neighborhood once looking for a grocery store (one is nearby and also a gas station with a quick mart), and the area seemed okay. But, as a solo woman traveler, I thought it was best to stay in after dark.
I had a few hours to kill, before check-in, after my arrival by bus from Cardiff (my ticket was only £7.50), so I bought an Oyster Card (the card cost £5, but is refundable – return to a seller) and jumped on a bus. This is the transportation card you need to get around the city. It works for the bus and Tube. Spying the Westminster Cathedral out the window, I hopped off to check it out.
One nice thing about not planning anything upon arrival, you’re much more ecstatic to come upon things.
Due to conservation works, Big Ben will be out of commission for four years. I had no idea this renovation was going to happen and was really lucky to have arrived in London on the day they started putting scaffolding up.
Since I only had one full day without my backpack hanging on me, I decided to enjoy the day nerding out on Baker Street, then wandering a cemetery. I know, weird.
The apartments location made it easy for me to stop off at Baker Street to see the Sherlock Holmes museum (two stops away). Due to the success of the novels, the house numbers had been renumbered so there could be a 22 B Baker Street. The museum next to the famous door has time-period antiques and souvenirs. I didn’t go in, there was a line and my only goal was to take photos.
Down the street I passed a Beatles store. I’m not into the Beatles, but for those of you who are….
The Highgate Cemetery is not just any ol’ run of the mill place of burial. There are 170,000 people buried and only 53,000 graves. It’s the oldest cemetery in London, with stories of grave robbers and mass burials of plague victims.
Many famous people are buried here, the newest George Michael. His grave site is not open to the public, but many others are, like, Karl Marx.
My tour reservation wasn’t until the afternoon (you have to book a tour for the west gate, £4 adults/£1 kids, then you get free access to the east, where you can roam freely).
The East Gate…
Both sides have beautiful headstones, some are very creative and reflect the owners personality.
Below is Douglas Adams, the writer, you might know his work… “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.”
The West Gate…
The next day, I didn’t have to be at the airport until 8pm. I had enough time to see things, but with my life’s belongings hanging on my back, I didn’t want to go into museums. I headed to the circus instead.
I don’t have the desire to go to Lego Land, but what can be built from them is amazing.
I was super excited for my dining reservation. I usually don’t splurge on food, but I couldn’t pass up The Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Sanderson Hotel and what a delightful dining experience that was. Two hours of delicious finger foods made with unique flavors and shaped into a whimsical Alice In Wonderland theme. It was totally worth the £40 (yes, you can ask for seconds of anything).
TIPS: purchase Oyster Card with at least £30 for 3 days, per person. It’s used for all public transportation. You can do this online before you go, perhaps you’ll get a discount.
Okay, your turn…
Have you been to London? What’s your view of it?