Published: March 28th 2011March 24th 2011
I always forget to keep a record of the places I have visited but having just spent 3 fantastic nights in London I thought I would give it a go. Hopefully I'll get the chance to add other places too in the near future.
Departed on the train from Poulton-le-Fylde at 10.20am and arrived in London Euston at 13.10. Today was Ric's birthday and I had booked us in at the Grand Royale Hyde Park and requested a bottle of champagne on arrival to celebrate. Got the tube from Euston Square to Bayswater no problem and found the hotel easily enough. The hotel wasn't as 'Grand' as I had imagined however it was clean and the staff were friendly enough. The champagne I was told was in the room but this wasn't the case, it was soon rectified with a trip to reception though. We then decided to take a trip to Harrods and purchase the neccessary gifts for friends and family. The evenings plan had been to visit Marco Pierre Whites London Road Steakhouse in Chelsea but a few days before we went we decided the amount of money spent on that one meal would be the same as our food costs for the whole trip so we decided to not bother and instead choose an italian restaurant down the road from the hotel followed by a few beers in a local pub. Good start to the trip and an earlyish night meant we were up and ready to go the following morning.
Woke up at 8am, bathed and had breakfast. Breakfast was the yummiest buffet breakfast I have had at a hotel for a long time. We started off the day by walking through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, it was a glorious day, sunshining, sunglasses on... found the Diana Memorial and made our way on foot to the Natural History Museum and then the Science Museum. Both places are huge but offer a variety of interactive features and there is sooooo much information on offer its quite difficult to take it all in. After spending the majority of the day wandering round we then took the tube to Hammersmith where we had a pub lunch, (scampi and chips for me, steak for Ric) and then had a few beers before heading over to Hammersmith Apollo for the Micky Flanagan gig.... now being a little drunk we appeared to find it funnier than the people sat in the row next to us... perhaps we were a little loud I am not sure or maybe they just had no sense of humour.... either way we enjoyed it very much and if your into your commedy then I would recommend going to see him. After the gig we headed back to the hotel for a much needed soak of the muscles and sore feet in the bath.
Again the alarm went off at 8am, got up, had breakfast and made our way to Buckingham Palace, then walked through St Jame's Park to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, our intention was to take the ferry up the Thames to Greenwich however upon arriving at Tower Bridge we choose to disembark and visit the Tower of London. We had a guided tour of the TOL by a very enthusiastic beefeater who did his best to engage the crowd, was just a shame that some of the foreign audience were rude and ignorant and kept talking over him! Once we finished looking round the TOL and gawping at the Crown Jewels including the Star of India we decided to visit the Tower Bridge Experience. This involved looking at lots of photo's of bridges placed throughout the world and provided some fantastic views across London. Feet aching and blistered once more we went back to the hotel to freshen up for the evening. Having been awake since 4.30am, Ric promptly fell asleep whilst I bathed so we decided to give the original plan of a night out in Shoreditch and treated ourselves to some good food and wine at Bella Italia. Now Bella Italia was a strange place as there were two on the same street, opposite sides of the road and one was completely empty yet the other was full! We managed to snap up the last table and throughly enjoyed the food, two starters + garlic bread, two mains, two desserts, one coffee and 4 glasses of wine all for £67... not bad at all!
So being the last day but the train not being until 19.25 we had another full day to explore. Having done a lot of sightseeing I was up for doing more fun tourist attractions like the Sea Life centre but we agreed that we should make the most of the London Passes that we had bought so took the tube back to Westminster Pier to board the boat to Greenwich, however we didn't realise that the pass only allows entry onto the boats once so we then decided to go have a look at Covent Garden Market. This was a good decision as it meant we could use our passes to gain entry into the London Motor Museum. We had a little fun pretending to drive buses and trams before heading to Bulushi's (part of St Christophers Hostels) for a snack and a refreshing beer! Once full of fuel once more we decided to make our 3rd attempt to get to Greenwhich... this time we went by tube, it involved a couple of changes and took about 40 minutes but was worth it for the views of the docklands on the DLR. We followed the signs to the National Maritime Muesum and then had an ice cream whilst walking up the Royal Observatory. Sadly the pass didn't include entry to stand on the Meriden Line where they were charging people £10! A little extortionate I thought...
We then walked back to the tube station past the all boarded up remainder of the Cutty Sark. I had a quick peep through a hole in the boardings and they appeared to be doing a good restoration job.
We then took a final trip to Oxford Street and popped back into Harrods, it was soooooooooooooooooooo busy, you could hardly move. The prices of some things were amazing, they sold a bottle of still water in a glass bottle that was encrusted with swaroski crystals that retailed at £29.95.... insane price for a bottle of water!
Having had enough by this point of everything, we headed back to the area near the hotel for a drink, a chill out and to collect the bags. We then boarded the tube for the final time to Euston Square and waited for the train to arrive. The station was covered in the Scottish men wearing kilts, playing bagpipes and throwing coins at a tramp for their amusement. Scotland beat Brazil 2-0 at Highbury so they were in good spirits, they proceeded to sing, dance, clap and cheer all the way home. Rather annoying when your tired and just want to get home... still, at least they weren't agressive and causing lots of trouble.
All in all it was a very successful trip, lots of sites visited and we had decent weather. Plenty more still to see next time though!
Natural History Museum
St James Park
Houses of Parliament
Tower of London
Tower Bridge Experience
London Transport Muesum
National Maritime Museum