Published: August 6th 2010July 24th 2010
Tower Bridge at night
next to the Mayor of London's offices (the dome on the right)
For my birthday/one year anniversary with my boyfriend I wanted a little bit of luxury! Plus I'd never been to my own capital city before to the disbelief of others so fancied having a look! Me and my boyfriend (Dan) were a bit apprehensive on arrival in Paddington because we expected sheer chaos, and to get lost, particularly as there was loads of diverted tube routes due to work being done on them. But we purchased our tube tickets costing £8 (:o) for both of us to Tower Hill where we were to stay at the Hilton Hotel.
We checked into our swanky hotel room before heading out to see a few sights. Decided quite quickly that I loved London. Got talked into going to the London Tombs under Tower Bridge and we talked him into giving us 2-4-1 entry. Started to regret allowing him to talk us into it as we had to queue for about an hour and a half! Something I soon realized was not uncommon for any London attraction (in fact this was a relatively short time)! The tombs were where the bodies of the plague victims were stashed and it's quite a spooky attraction. In
Sherlock Holmes pub
where we ate a lovely fish and chips supper
fact it has been voted the best UK scare attraction. Towards the end you go through the tombs where people jump out at you and scare the living shit out of you. Dan screamed like a girl at several points and pushed me into a wall accidentally in fear, scratching up my arm. I was half screaming, half laughing throughout that final part! The first part is an entertaining history lesson, going into different chambers with different guides comically giving the group some history. Not bad for £21 for 2 people (normally £21 each mind)!
We were feeling very hungry by the end of that tour so we went into a traditional English pub and I had sausage and mash while Dan had burger and chips. Then it was back to our room with a bottle of wine to prepare for the drunken night ahead! We saw the tower bridge suspended which actually made me feel quite emotional for some reason. It was a lovely sight at night.
We were both a bit nervous (Dan more than me) about getting the buses at night to Brixton in South London, which is notoriously a rough area, to
go out clubbing with his aunty who lives there. I didn't take a handbag and Dan carried all our stuff lightweightedly? in his pockets just to be safe. We had to get 2 buses to get there and it was fine! Saw 2 gangstas on bikes but that's about it! Went to Dan's aunt's flat before going to the local pub (can't remember the name, but it was good, with reggae music). Bouncers are understandably very wary of everyone and search people's bags for weapons and drugs. Dan's aunt's rasta friend drove us back to the hotel through the ghetto at about 4am, which was quite interesting.
OMG breakfast was amazing. Full English, smoothies, fruits, croissants, cakes, tea, orange juice, salmon, cheeses. One of the best breakfasts we ever had! We needed all the energy we could get for our full day of site-seeing. We boarded the Original hop on hop off bus tour and saw almost every site we possibly could in London: Westminster where we did the river cruise which was better than I expected it to be actually! The tour guide was really funny and very informative. We got this cruise free with
our tour tickets. The only thing was was hour long wait in the queue for it. We saw the London Eye (pretty hard to miss really to be fair), aquarium, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Soho, Hyde Park, the Dorchester hotel, the Ritz hotel, statue of Winston Churchill, Cleopatra's monument, Shakespear's Globe, Tate Modern, St. Paul's Cathedral, Chinatown, Covent Garden. We only actually got off the bus and looked round Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden and near Trafalgar Square to eat a delicious meal of fish n chips at the Sherlock Holmes pub. I would highly recommend the Original Tour Company it was fantastic, with really good guides. I would actually go as far to say as it's the only way you can properly do the sites of London.
We finished the day on South Bank starting from the London Eye, which we didn't end up going on because of the cost and the 3 hour queue. But the entertainment on south bank is the most entertaining I have seen as far as street entertainment goes (see videos). We strolled along South Bank until we finally reached our hotel, which we chose to spend
the rest of the evening in with a bottle of wine to really soak up the swankiness :)
After our second and final fantastic breakfast at the Hilton, it was kinda hard to say goodbye to London :(
There are more photos below