London… oh London. I absolutely loved London. It truly felt as we were home. The stunning architecture and history had us amused throughout the entire stay. We wish we had a little bit more time there, however, we will be visiting again at some point as we didn’t get to see everything we wanted.
We flew via British Airways which neither of us had before. The flight was rather quick from Doha, but that probably was because I fell asleep watching movies, ha-ha. One thing British airline took us truly by surprise was their unique and entertaining safety demonstration video. I will not spoil it!! Please watch the video below.
Now on to the good part…
We landed in Heathrow late afternoon and we took an Uber to our Hotel. The weather wasn’t the best as it was raining but it’s London, right? We stayed at The Belgrave Hotel which was rather nice. The front desk staff were welcoming, and our room was cute and clean. By the time we got settled and out of our hotel, the rain had stopped so we decided to walk to Harrods for some shopping and sightseeing prior to dinner. We loved the department store, especially the toys… 😀 . Once we finished our shopping and taking a few photos outside Harrods we ended our evening with a few drinks and a very English pub dinner at The Prospect of Whitby while catching up with an old friend..
Our second day was well spent at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I must admit I am not a massive fan of Harry Potter. Yes, I enjoyed the movies, but I wasn’t too sure if we should go to the studios or not. What encouraged me to make the booking was all the research on “things to do in London”. ‘The Making of Harry Potter‘ came up first each time, so we thought why not! We weren’t disappointed!
The magic begins pretty much straight after a fairly short video featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint thanking everyone that helped make the movies. The set still looks like it is ready to film another movie. Everything is rather magical as you walk through all the different sets and makes you feels as you are in the actual movie. If you’re planning a trip to London, I’d highly recommend to visit the studios. However, you need to purchase tickets online in advance as they get booked out very quickly and it is recommend you book the tour 2 months in advance.
The studios are located about 45 minutes from central London. There is plenty of ways to transport to the studios, but we booked everything through a tour.
Here is a few photos of our time in the magical world of Harry Potter…
The same night we’d booked to watch a play at the Criterion Theater – The Comedy About a Bank Robbery. I had read some great reviews about the play prior to booking, but there were so many great choices when researching that we just had to pick one in the end. It was one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in theater and we both had a great laugh. The jokes, visual and verbal, many being corny as can be, were piled sky-high. It was the perfect ending to our second day in London.
Our next 2 days were all about exploring London. We had Hop-On-Hop-Off (used Golden Tours for this) tickets to go all around and make sure we see as much as we could and what better way to start exploring than Buckingham Palace.
Up on arrival the front of the Castle was covered with a mass of people. We knew the change of the guards was taking place at that time, which took approximately an hour, however, we didn’t expect it to be so busy, especially at this time of the year (November). We managed to find ourselves in a pretty good spots eventually (must be the Greek in me :p ) and stayed through to the end. Due to being really crowded, we decided we’d come back again later for more photos, so we hopped on the bus and enjoyed the city of London and it’s history through a live guide as we noted down all the places we wanted to return back to and have a better look at.
The London Dungeon was our next stop. We booked our tickets online on their website through a ‘pick 3 attractions’ deal, from which we picked the London Dungeon, London Eye and Madame Tussauds. Our favorite attraction out of the three was London Dungeon. It was rather fun and interactive. Even though it is about a thousand years of London’s history, it is not a boring museum. We got inside in a group of approximately 20 people as we visited all different rooms/settings. We met characters from the past through actors who told us gruesome tales about London. I have to admit, I was rather creeped out and one of the actors made me scream my lungs out… and then giggle. 😛 (typical)!!
To make the attraction even more entertaining, there is two rides included. Henry’s Wrath is the boat ride and needed 20,000 liters of recycled water from the River Thames to create the ride inside at the start, and of course for the proper experience you get a splash! Drop Dead is the second ride which occurs at the end of the tour and you drop down 10 meters and of course this is the photo part of the attraction, so try not to scream too much.
Our next stop was the London Eye. We’ve been in several similar wheels so it wasn’t anything magical about it, but it was nice to get a greater and higher view of the city of London. It looked out at most of London’s big landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The River Thames (you can do a cruise if you have time, we ran out of time 🙁 ) Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, The Tower Bridge, St.Paul’s Cathedral and more. Here is a few photos we took.
Once out of the London Eye, we decided to walk to Big Ben and get a closer look and of course some more pictures. We both were quite disappointed as the building was under construction. Nevertheless, it still looked stunning and we managed to take a couple of nice pictures. Maybe next time we’ll get to see Big Ben back in shape.
We took one of the last Hop-On-Hop-Off buses to get back to our hotel before dinner and drinks catch ups with some of my London relatives.
Our last day in London was not as busy as the previous, mostly because it was raining majority of the day but also the city was blocked from 11 am to 3 pm with a parade for the new elected Mayor. There were a few other events being help on that same weekend so we tried to avoid those locations to stay safe (so many terrorist attacks lately in Europe, got to watch out).
We found ourselves at Buckingham Palace as it was our last opportunity to do so and take the photos with the Palace we didn’t take the previous day… It was raining but it was rather OK..
We treated ourselves some coffee and English breakfast at Bread Street Kitchen, which is on of Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurants, located right outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. Hands down, stunning place and amazing food. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to get in the Cathedral or take any photos with it as we ran out of time and we had an allocated entry time for Madame Tussauds. We said we’d go back but with all the events going on it was almost impossible getting back at the heart on London.
Madame Tussauds… I personally wasn’t amused. Not because we don’t appreciate art, but because it was jam packed (so much for having an allocated entry time so it doesn’t get too busy), people lining up to take photos with the wax sculptures and it was fairly loud… We took very few photos but we had a good look around and enjoyed ourselves.
Just past mid-afternoon we decided to stop by the Tower of London. We didn’t get inside as we were advised we’d need at least half a day to see everything so we decided we’ll make sure we do the Tower of London Tour on our next visit to London.
We walked through the London Bridge to the Westminster Abbey and decided to do a guided Tour there. By the end of our Tour it was quite late and dark so we returned to our hotel and got ready for our last dinner in London at a beautiful Italian Restaurant, called O’Sole Mio, just across the road from our Hotel.
We were sad to be leaving London the next morning, but excited to continue our trip with destination Amsterdam. We loved London and we will definitely be returning in the future.
What are some of the places you visited in London?
Any places you would like to visit?
What was you favorite place to visit and which was your least favorite?