HELLO HELLO HELLO! I feel like I start all my blog posts with this, but sorry for not posting earlier! Haha. Travelling has been so much fun and hectic and busy and stressful (but so worth it and full of learning and adventure).
Don’t worry – I’ve been making notes along the way so that I don’t forget to talk about them in my blog, so hopefully this is helpful for your future travels/curiosity!
WHERE WE STAYED
I couchsurfed for two nights, then stayed at No. 8 Seven Sisters Hostel for two nights, then stayed at a friend of a friend’s for the remainder. The hostel lady was super nice. They even let me mail my train documents to them before I arrived so that I could pick them up for my future travels! The hostel itself seemed nice enough. It was noisy and full of people in their early 20s. The ground level is a pub, so it gets busy at night. My friends and I didn’t hang out much there. Not really our scene? I don’t recommend this hostel. It was what we needed (a place to sleep), but nothing more. The rooms were humid, the location wasn’t ideal (kinda sketchy and a 10-15 minute walk to the subway), and the lockers were small too.
WHAT WE DID
As usual, hover over the image to get the caption. More detailed description below for some of these things!
- Watch a play: Highly recommended, and you should look into it at least two weeks beforehand as tickets to good ones sell out fast. We watched Romeo and Juliet at The Garrick Theatre. It was AMAZING. The actor of Robb Stark from Game of Thrones and the actress from Cinderella (2015) were the main characters. It was also directed by the guy who played Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter… so it basically had everything I love – GoT, Disney, and Harry Potter. I’ve never read Romeo and Juliet, so it was extra great. We had seats near the front.
- Trafalgar Square: YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. It’s just beautiful with two giant fountains and street artists/entertainers.
- Visit Oxford: The campus was beautiful. There is a bus that leaves from Victoria station in London every 20-30 minutes. It was 11 pounds round trip. More on Oxford later!
- Camden High Street: So cool! If you’ve ever been to Toronto, it’s kind of like Kensington, but better. They have food carts.
- Tourist things: We did HMS Belfast, Foundling Museum, Wellcome Museum, Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace (learned a lot about horses and carriages that day lol), British Museum, Westminster Abbey, and Tower Bridge. We bought a 3 day London Pass to do most of these things (some are free). Make sure that, if you are buying this, you read the descriptions and are actually interested in the stuff you’ll be learning! Then, add up the prices to see if you’d be saving money by getting the pass. Also a good idea to map out the different attractions and make sure they are doable within whatever # of days you decide to buy the pass for. I personally prefer walking around and not doing tourist attractions. I love learning about stuff, but I could’ve done without them, you know? I’m more about the local life. Some of the museums were pretty cool though.
- Walking around is the best thing to do. I normally got off Leicester Square (pronounced Lester Square) and walked everywhere. You can walk to Chinatown, Big Ben, the London Eye (ferris wheel), the Graffiti Tunnel, and Tower Bridge all within maybe 3 hours? It’s nice and you get to see things you’d miss if you were on a guided tour.
- Brick lane: somewhere nice to go! More about this later.
- Sky Garden: you can go here for free if you buy your ticket online in advance! By buy I mean reserve for free! And it is BEAUTIFUL. They check your bags though so make sure you don’t bring anything questionable that you need and don’t want being taken away.
- The Shard: we wanted to go here because we wanted a good view of London at night, but they didn’t let us in because they have a dress code! Make sure you go with decent clothes and shoes. Also, a tip is that you can go and not pay to go to the very top. Just ask to go to the bar *near* the top and say you’re going to buy a drink there. They’ll let you up!
WHAT WE ATE
So the thing you should eat in London is fish & chips. And also apparently bangers & mash? (It’s sausages). And pie! Savoury and sweet.
- Camden Street food carts: I ate a cous cous thing and my friend ate a hot dog. They were both yummy.
- Near Oxford: After walking around Oxford campus, we tried to find fish and chips. We went to 4 different pubs before finding one that had a seat. Something you should know about the pubs is there you seat yourself (nobody will acknowledge that you have entered their premises and try to serve you lol), go to the bar to order, and give them your table number. Also, it’s hard to get separate bills? And tipping isn’t really a thing. We ended up eating at Three Goats Heads. I ate beef pie because they ran out of cod (I wanted fish and chips). It had the word “bitter” in the title in the menu. I don’t recommend it. It was good, but not amazing! Get their fish and chips. Or another pie.
- Le Garrick: I ate a mushroom risotto thing! It was good. The place is a little expensive, though, so don’t go there if you’re tight on money.
- Masters Superfish: hole in the wall. I ate fish and chips from there. They put salt and vinegar on your fries if you want. It’s absolutely delicious and everyone should put salt and vinegar on their fries.
- Nicholson’s pub: near central London. I ate fish and chips here too. It was awesome! The pub was in a nice area. We sat upstairs and had a nice view of the street.
- Clipper: we went to an Indian restaurant on Brick Lane. There is SO much Indian food on this street, so make sure you go and negotiate with the restaurants! Trust me, it’s normal. We got sold a deal with 3 starters, 3 entrees, 3 naan, 2 rice, and 3 drinks all for 30 pounds total. (We were a group of three, as you have probably gathered).
- Beigal Bake: 24 hour bagel place, also near Brick Lane. SO good, and cheap!
- Speedy’s: SHERLOCK (THE TV SHOW) WAS FILMED ON THIS STREET! Good and healthy food we ate for breakfast! Very nice servers! In London, it’s hard to get served
- Beijing Dumpling: in Chinatown. I ate noodles because I wanted something warm and soupy (it was quite cold in London).
- I also bought egg tarts from a bakery nearby! I forgot the name of the bakery, but it’s near the euroexchange thing where you can take out cash from an ATM. It’s on the left of the other Chinese bakery that’s called TAPAS.
- Also TAPAS bakery is really good for pork buns.
- Laughing Halibut: I ate fish and chips again!! LOL, three times in London. It’s just a small restaurant, not particularly nice-looking, but good food. Yummy and decently priced! But I think my favourite was still Masters Superfish!
- My Old Dutch: PANCAKES! THEY’RE ACTUALLY JUST GIANT CREPES BUT THEY WERE REALLY GOOD. It sucks when you know how cheap and easy it is to make something, and then you just go ahead and order it LOL, but no regrets! Good food, AMAZING service, and nice environment!
- Bibimbap: at a place called Bibimbap LOL. Near the British Museum!
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
You can read my first post on London: it’s about how everything is on the wrong side, and the prices are weird.
Other than that… well, there are motorcycles everywhere. The bus stops are super close together (maybe it was the busses I took, but come on people – walk a little more!), and everyone smokes (sorry, but I’m not a fan of that smell or way of death). There are pigeons everywhere and they don’t get out of your way. They also fly super close to your head, which made me really paranoid about being pooped on :P.
It’s kind of chilly in May, so bring a spring jacket and a sweater.
That’s it for now! I loved London. I absolutely loved walking around aimlessly. Let me know if you have questions! I’ll post about Edinburgh and Dublin/Galway soon!