I was really excited to go to London as I had heard so much about the city. As we had stayed with AS’s cousins we caught a train from Hove station to take us to London. The train was full so we had to stand near the doors with our luggage. After a while I was so tired that I sat on the floor :).
A lady came with a trolley selling tea, coffee, biscuits and cake like in an plane. This was something I hadn’t known would be available on the train. I guess that is good business as many people will need tea and coffee to wake up in the morning. The train dropped us at Victoria station and from there we planned to go to our hotel, which was near Hyde Park.
Experience with London tube
At Victoria station we bought the London pass as well as a day pass for the tube. One thing about the tube station we hadn’t know beforehand was that in most of them, there were no lifts or escalators but there were plenty of steps everywhere. Both AS and I had a big suitcase each, a hand carry and I had a small bag as well so going up and down so many stairs was a nightmare. When we got on the tube from Victoria we meant to go to Notting Hill station to change for our next tube that was supposed to take us to our hotel but unfortunately something was wrong with the tracks and we had to catch another tube which meant we had to go through more stairs with our luggage. Poor AS had to go up and down several times with the heavy luggage as I couldn’t carry my suitcase up and down the stairs. After one more tube change we finally managed to get to Queensway Station which was near our hotel and were done with the tube for the moment.
We were booked into Central Park Hotel which was close to the city and next to Hyde Park. When we checked into the hotel, I was very disappointed with the size of the room. It was literally just a bed with a side table and a bathroom. It didn’t look very good either with plain white sheets and plain looking curtains but as we didn’t plan to stay inside much, it worked out OK.
We were really hungry so we went out for a stroll and to have some lunch. In Queensway Street, there were lots of restaurants as well as many shops. We choose to try some Thai food. We ordered Thai curry and Pad See Wee. The food was ok but the portion size was huge. After lunch we went back to the hotel, freshened up and were off to explore London. London tube was excellent when you were not carry luggage and we made the most of it.
Ride on London Eye
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, in London, England. The entire structure is 135 metres tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually.
We had pre purchased tickets to go to the London Eye but we had to go and exchange out e-tickets for proper ticket from the counter. It was really fast as they have a special line for online tickets. From there we went and saw a 4D film presentation that showed London through the eyes of a child on the London Eye. It was quite interesting but I and AS were having fun watching people’s reaction to the 4D effects. There was a man in front of us who ducked every time a seagull seemed to come flying out of the screen towards us. It was a nice short movie overall.
From there we went to join the queue for advance ticket holders going up on the London Eye, moved pretty quickly.
We were lucky that we chose an afternoon with very little cloud and went early. We could see the whole city from the London eye and the view was magnificent. There weren’t many people in the pod we got into so we could move around and take heaps of photos from various angles. There was a lady in our pod who was scared of heights but she did manage to stand for a few photos.
When your pod reached the top, the view was breathtaking. Being an avid amateur photographer, this was a great way to see a bird’s eye view of London. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben along with the Millennium Bridge looked just amazing from the top.
The ride takes roughly thirty minutes for one complete rotation. No food or drink is allowed on the Eye as far as I can recall. In all honesty, the money paid to experience the Eye was well worth it. It’s a splendid way to get a bird’s eye view of the city and take a few pictures. Make sure you buy them online which makes it easier and cheaper.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the busiest museums/historical sites. It is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England.
The outside area of the tower is easy to get around but inside it is really busy. It was hard to move around with visitors trying to get a glance at the armours and other pieces. The best part of the tower is to watch a performance by Past Pleasures, a historical re-enactment and costumed interpretation company. It was a ‘Dark Tales of the Tower’ story about an Jacobean Prisoner and the intrigue that surrounded his death.
Sir Thomas Overbury was imprisoned in the tower at the start of the 17th Century and there he was murdered. A few years later Frances Carr the Countess of Somerset (previously Essex) and Robert Carr (Earl of Somerset) were found guilty of his murder by poisoning. Their motive is believed to be a dislike of his attitude to and knowledge of their earlier affair (they married two months after his death).
It was a great act and the audience’ involvement made it more interesting.
The post is getting too long so I will continue on next post.