If you follow me on social media you’ll have spotted me out and about in London town at the weekend. I have close friends who live in the city and it was time myself and my Mam paid them a visit!
London, the capital of England, is possibly the most famous and magical city of all. It’s a 21st-century city with a history stretching back to Roman times believe it or not. At its centre stands the impressive Houses of Parliament, the legendary Big Ben and Westminster Abbey and then across the Thames River, the London Eye and Southbank.
I don’t mean to brag, but I have seen and visited all of these tourist hotspots. They don’t get boring or any less amazing the more you see them however we told our friends we wanted to see London through the eyes of a local. We wanted to discover the hidden gems that often get outshone by the big names! And that’s what we did, now I feel like a fully fledged Londoner!
Our adventure began on Thursday evening when we managed to catch a Grand Central train directly from Sunderland to London Kings Cross which was ideal since usually, we have to travel to Newcastle central or Durham! My Mam, who is the money-saving travel queen, by the way, managed to grab us first class tickets so we travelled leisurely in style. We arrived around 9ish but the minute we stepped off the train we felt like it was in the middle of the day since there were so many people around. London really does have a constant buzz about it that is completely indescribable, until you’re amongst it, you’ll never understand.
We hopped on the tube and headed to our friend’s house in Stockwell where we were staying for the weekend. That’s another thing I LOVE about London, the tubes. Many people dislike them but they are so quick and easy. If you have a contactless card, use it on the tubes as there’s a £6.00 cap meaning you can travel from one end of London to the other for only £6.00. What a bargain!
The heat was astounding, it honestly felt hotter than Spain! I knew instantly we were in for a scorcher of a weekend. Once we’d arrived and gotten settled we had an early night ensuring we’d be ready and raring for a weekend of exploring.
On Friday morning we had a delicious breakfast at a local Stockwell eatery called Estrella, which is a Portuguese restaurant and then we headed into central London to get the train. Greenwich was first on our itinerary, located on the banks of the River Thames and most known for its maritime history. It is the home to the Cutty Sark, a restored 19th-century ship which is magnificent FYI. And then there’s the huge National Maritime Museum and the classical buildings of the Old Royal Naval College which are just stunning. We also had a wander through Greenwich Park, spotting the Queen’s House which is a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635. Walking does work up a thirst in the London temperatures so we stopped at this lovely traditional English pub just outside of Greenwich Park for a refreshing alcoholic beverage, it would have been rude not too!
We then headed to Greenwich market on the afternoon, browsing the stalls and learning about the local heritage. It was so lovely to see the history and age of the market. We moved on to London Bridge shortly after for a glimpse of Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship. And then it was time to head back to Stockwell to get ready for Dream Girls!
I’ve wanted to see Dream Girls on stage for years now after falling in love with film. We headed to Joe Allen pre-theatre which is an Amercian Restaurant located in Covent Garden. I’d really recommend a visit if you’re in London as it’s quite rightly earned a great reputation. If you head there any time between 12-7pm you can take advantage of their delicious set menu which is 2 courses for £15.95 or 3 courses for £18.95, exceptional price for London and it’s good quality tasty food. Dream Girls started at 7:30 pm and ran on till around 10 pm, it was a wonderful show and the actors were fantastic. We actually walked 8.58 miles that day according to my Fitbit so I was knackered and basically fell into bed that evening.
Saturday was soon upon us and we started the day at Borough Market for brunch. Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark and it’s one of the largest and oldest food markets in the city, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century. It was heaving as you can see by my photographs, the atmosphere buzzed around the place. I could have eaten from every single stand but I couldn’t say no to these halloumi fries just look at them and all for £4. The stalls within the market are all really reasonably priced, I actually enjoyed the food more being apart of the hustle and bustle.
After eating more than I probably should have we headed to the Tate Modern. Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art which is free entry. We had a quick browse and then walked over the Millenium Bridge to St Paul’s Catherdal. The cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building.
We caught the tube and then headed to Covent Garden for a cocktail, then we walked down to Trafalgar Square where there was a free concert celebrating Eid which was great to see! And lastly, we went to Soho and China Town for a bit to eat. China Town is amazing and the food is to die for, another place I’d recommend visiting! All Bar One is a brilliant must-go-to bar and hosts 241 cocktails daily. I think I’ll write a post on how to be money savvy in London, whatcha’ think?!
Before we knew it the end was near and it was Sunday! The dreaded hometime. I’m writing this all out now and releasing we did a bloody lot, didn’t we? London never fails to knock my socks off, it is such a beautiful city. I love how cosmopolitan it is and forward thinking with society. If you haven’t been before, you NEED to go, like now. It will blow your mind! I can’t wait to go back.