Okay. So for those of you who don't know, I went to the UK on my own for a month last year, from October to November. I went to Oxford, then central London, Edinburgh, Coventry (Also went to Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham for a while) and finally Barnet (where I also spent some time travelling back to central London). I stayed with friends (or parents' friends, or friends' godparents) and I had my friends who were studying in the universities around the area to take me out and stuff. There was Sarah in Oxford, Geraldine and Jia in London, Christabel in Edinburgh and Jaslyn in Coventry. I stayed in a vineyard and visited 12-century churches, crashed lectures, got lost in the woods very often, went to church... and I have yet to do a proper post about my trip, but oh well. This is more urgent.
Okay, Jackie! Firstly, here's the London tube map. You need to get an Oyster card to get around - you can get one at the tube station when you arrive at Heathrow.
I'm going to do parks first, because I really enjoyed them. Being a city girl in a place that's 30 degrees or more all year round, walking in the woods in the nice chilly weather was heaven to me. Okay, fine, that was in autumn and it's winter now so they'll look very different, but still. Whatever.
1. My personal favourite: Hampstead Heath! (Tube: Hampstead Heath - Zone 2, Overground)
Okay, it probably looks extremely different now, but when I was there it was beautiful. Could have spent the whole day there if I had the time. It's great for a morning stroll.
2. Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park (Tube: Queensway - Zone 1, Central Line)
Okay. Keeping in mind the fact that Jackie only has three days and they're already partially taken up by other things, I guess two parks are enough. I did a lot of walking around in London, and Little Venice was quite pretty too. I also got to take a quick look at the Royal College of Music, Imperial College London and King's - and walked past UCL - but didn't get to crash any classes.
3. St. Paul's Cathedral (Tube: St. Paul's - Zone 1, Central Line)
4. Westminster Abbey (Tube: Westminster - Zone 1, Circle / District / Jubilee Lines)
By the way, if you're planning on visiting a lot of the attractions where you need to pay to enter, check out the London Pass - it might save you some money!
If you visit Westminster Abbey, you've also got Big Ben and and a view of the London Eye right there, and the Horse Guards building is very close by.
"Daddy, is he a horse-man?" "No, he's just a man." "...Really? :("
5. Southwark Cathedral (Tube: London Bridge - Zone 1, Jubilee / Northern Lines)
I did most of the church-visiting in Oxford anyway, where they were incredibly old and beautiful, from the stone walls and engravings to elaborate statues and stuff. But Southwark (pronounced suth'-urk) Cathedral was free, so I had a look. It's a lovely cathedral, too - not huge, but beautiful all the same. Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer used to attend services there, and John Harvard was baptised there.
From the Cathedral, it's also really easy to get to Borough Market, and London Bridge's right there. The Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are also only a short walk away.
In fact, the day Geraldine took me out, we didn't take the tube at all - we walked from King's Cross to her school (King's), which is near Temple / Charing Cross Station, I checked out the British Museum and a bit of Leicester Square while she had lessons, then we went to St. Paul's, and then walked down London Bridge and went to Southwark and all. It's very walkable.
6. The British Museum (Tube: Tottenham Court Road / Holborn - Zone 1, Central Line and more)
|Rosetta Stone, y'all. I mean, yeah, it's just a stone, but still.|
7. National Gallery (Tube: Charing Cross - Zone 1, Northern & Bakerloo Lines)
|Uh, the 'Healing' banner isn't a part of it. My host parents were conducting street healing!|
Theo also wanted to visit the Tate Modern, which is near Southwark / London Bridge. Visit if you like modern and contemporary art!
Other awesome places:
8. Hamleys!!!!!! (Tube: King's Cross - Zone 1, Northern Line and many more)
|THEY MADE THE QUEEN OUT OF LEGO, DUDE!!!|
9. Camden Market (Tube: Camden Town - Zone 2, Northern Line)
10. And, of course, watch a play / musical!!!!!!!!
Theo and I caught One Man Two Guvnors - it was really hard to get the thick accents, but it was enjoyable all the same - and I watched the Phantom of the Opera when I was staying in Barnet, towards the end of my trip. Phantom was awesome.
Don't get the full-priced tickets - Leicester Square is full of little shops that sell tickets at half-price (or around there, anyway, but basically they're a lot cheaper). I watched Phantom for 40 pounds for a dress circle seat, and One Man Two Guvnors for 35 pounds in the stalls! Be sure to walk around and compare the prices and seatings between half-price ticket stores, though. One guy said he only had an upper circle seat for 40 pounds, and the next shop I went to gave me the dress circle seat for the same price.
Okay. This post has taken up an incredible amount of space thanks to all the pictures, but I'll briefly go through a few other places.
Leicester Square (pronounced Lester Square) is a pretty cool place to visit; I like the atmosphere. There's also an M&M's World there if you're interested.
|Hand of God - Lorenzo Quinn|
I also paid Covent Garden Market a visit. Again, I like the atmosphere!
And then there's Oxford Street, of course... Theo and I made the huge mistake of spending too much time there. I mean, we made three short trips there. We should have spent the time doing a whole lot of other things. Like, I didn't get to visit Shakespeare's Globe Theatre!!!!! (At least I got to go to Stratford-upon-Avon later on in the trip. Lovely town!!) But Oxford Street's cool too - have a look at Selfridges and the big H&M buildling... and check out the insanely cheap Primark. And maybe you'll pass by the perfume shop guy. The guy that hands out free perfume. Don't make the mistake I made of being a shy Singaporean. Go all out for it, man!
Go to church for a service if you can! Whether it's Evensong or Sunday morning worship. Geraldine and Jia took me to Hillsong Church. They have their services in Dominion Theatre on Sundays, but from Mon - Sat, We Will Rock You plays in the same theatre.
Okay. Jackie, you definitely can't see all this in the time you have there. But try! Does anyone else have any other suggestions? Did I get anything wrong?