What One Got Up To In London!

London was calling me for a May bank holiday weekend. With Ireland being neighbours to Great Britain the flight only took just over an hour. Pure bliss and no jet lag. I flew from Knock to Luton with no hiccups. It was my first time flying on my own, I’ve always travelled in groups and so I wasn’t sure how I’d fare by myself. I get nervous going through security and even though I know I don’t have anything on me that I shouldn’t, there’s always that little worry that I might look a bit dodgy to one of the security officers and ask me to step aside. Maybe it’s just me. I obviously looked normal to them so crisis averted.

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Just over an hour later and I landed in Luton. It was time to make my way to the centre of London and then get the tube to my cousin’s house. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about getting the tube as it was my first time in London but it’s actually dead easy. After much pushing and shoving through the tube (you would think I would be used to it from living in Dublin for two years!), I finally arrived at my cousin’s house and spent some time with her little munchkins. My cousin Michelle and her partner Lee allowed me to stay with them on my trip. I really appreciated their hospitality ☺

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My cousin John Paul was my tour guide on Friday night and he walked the friggin’ legs off me!!! ☺ He was brilliant though. We got off at Bond Street station, walked down Oxford Street to Oxford Circus onto Regent’s Street to Picadilly Circus. We walked through Soho and China Town onto Leicester Square to Trafalgar Square. We walked passed No. 10 Downing Street, passed Big Ben, over Westminster Bridge, passed the London Eye and along the Southbank to London Bridge, where we got the tube back to Michelle’s. I have to say London looks beautiful at night.

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But the highlight of the tour was stumbling across this little fella!

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Saturday was spent going around London on my own. It was time to explore the city properly.

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First stop was the London Eye. I don’t know about you but I’m not great with heights. However, I was not going to let this tiny detail deter me from going on it. Although I couldn’t back out after paying for my ticket. It’s something that has to be done when visiting London. I’m glad I booked by ticket in advance and printed it off before arriving. And the queue was so long that I was waiting half an hour to get on. The staff were very efficient in getting people on and off though. As I was in the queue I was trying not to think about it but as I kept getting closer and closer my heart was pounding and I was hoping there would be space to sit down. No turning back now. I wasn’t alone in being nervous as there were two people sitting on the bench alongside me clinging on for dear life! They couldn’t even look at the view! I have to say the view was spectacular and once I was sitting down I was quite calm. I became a bit brave at one stage and took a selfie and a pic of the Houses of Parliament.

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Back on solid ground it was time to get some sustenance and enjoy the street entertainment. The Southbank is a hive of activity during the day and I love that about cities. The bank is lined with talented street entertainers and food stalls. It just so happened that the Streets of Spain Festival was on the long weekend. I so badly wanted to get something from one of the stalls but the queues were off-putting. It was thronged with people! I made my way back towards the aquarium where I had noticed a food stall near there selling noodles. Armed with my noodles I went to the Jubilee Gardens to enjoy my food.

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Fuelled for the next part of my exploration I hopped on the tube to Green Park to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace, as one does when they’re in London. Green Park is such a lovely park with cute striped deck-chairs that you have to pay for to sit down on. But there’s more than enough space to bring your own blanket and sit down on the grass. After following the signs and a 10 minute walk, I arrived at Buckingham Palace. Of course the palace was buzzing with visitors, TV reporters and the local bobby because of the new princess, HRH Princess Charlotte. I wonder how HRH Prince George feels about being an older brother!

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Next stop was Covent Garden. The markets and shops there are a must see. You can buy everything and anything. My new love is Sass & Belle. I nearly bought the whole shop but restrained myself and purchased two lovely items. I’m owl mad so of course I was going to buy an owl mug and an owl money box! I’ve promised myself that I will return and whenever I set up my tea room I will be decking it out in Sass & Belle. There isn’t a shortage of restaurants in Covent Garden and my particular favourite was Chez Antoinette. There’s a rustic French feel to it and a great variety of savoury and sweet dishes on the menu. I ordered the Croque Monsieur and it was to die for. The atmosphere was made better by some outstanding opera singing.

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Sunday was spent with my cousin Michelle. She’s the best craic! We went to the London Dungeons. You’re transported through the history of London, from the time of King Henry VIII to Jack the Ripper. You meet all these shady characters from London’s past and you feel as if you’re right there in the moment. The actors playing these characters are superb and they must have so much fun watching visitors scream with fright. If I wasn’t tour guiding in Ireland I would love to work there. However, we were delighted to be out. We needed to keep things relaxed after the dungeons so we took a leisurely stroll around London, taking in the sights. Of course some food was thrown in as well thanks to Ed’s Easy Diner in Soho and Haagen Dazs ice-cream in Leicester Square. We rounded the day off nicely with another visit to Covent Garden and enjoyed the music of a string cinquet.

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Monday morning and it was time to say goodbye to my family and London. But I will be back. London has everything, the culture, the nightlife, the shopping. I didn’t really go with a plan, apart from booking the London Eye and the Dungeons. I wanted to be spontaneous but on my next visit I hope to check out some museums and get a walking tour of some of the city.

Marteen x

Find out what I got up to on a Bank Holiday weekend in London!

51 comments

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    • Marteen Lane

      I did cram a lot in for a weekend! You’ll love it 😊 I know everyone does the London Eye but the views are amazing once you’re up there. I had no idea Seattle had there own version 😊

      Like

  1. Svet Dimitrov

    London, London, London! I should really get my bags and start booking. I have been speaking English for more than 22 years and, believe it or not, have never been to the UK. And, I write in British English (or I try to)!

    Anyway, what you have described is great especially the little tips for stations and I loved the view from the Eye, although the day was not that bright. At least, it did not rain?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wanderingwagarschristina

    This brings back memories of my visit to London. It was pre-London Eye so I need to go again soon. I remember feeling like my legs were gonna fall off too as we did so much walking. London has so many sights to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pinay Flying High

    Was laughing while reading the first part, I always feel guilty as well when in the presence of security, immigration or police even if I have not done anything wrong. I’m so glad to know that I am not the only one. Lol.

    So lucky for you that a place like London is just a short flight away!!! Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Haha yeah 😊 It’s awful to feel that way and you’re going through trying to look normal but nervous as heck even though there’s no reason to 😂 I won’t be near it much longer, moving to Canada in August 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. missb88

    Lovely lovely post! Really does the city justice! I don’t think I could possibly describe it like that! I think we may have been at Buckingham Palace around the same time too! Haha! Don’t you just love Covent Garden?! I find it one of the most beautiful places around! The variety of street performers and shops is wonderful! The goal is to go see Les Mis next time round and to cross it off the bucket list! We were also in Camden on Saturday – I’ve been watching Peaky Blinders and my friend thought I’d enjoy going to one of the places where the story takes place and I loved it! definitely worth a look at the next time you’re over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      I fell in love with it! I had been to Harrow a few years ago but never got the chance to go into the centre of London. Covent Garden is so special. There’s a shop there specialising in macaroons, I bought a box, they were to die for! I want to see Wicked or The Lion King the next I’m over and get a tour of the palace. That’s so funny, we could have passed each other on the street 😊 I wanted to go to Camden on Sunday but there wasn’t much time. I could see myself living there. It’s a fantastic city.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. royyman32

    Thanks for bringing me along 🙂 The only times I’ve “been” to London are on layovers when I crash in a hotel for the night. I’m planning on going back. The shopping opportunities look like too much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      You’re missing out on a fantastic city! The tour guide in me is hoping to check out the museums the next time 😊

      Like

  6. Jen Morrow

    The London Dungeon is so camp! Everyone should go for a visit. I lived in London, but that never stopped me from going to all the tourist spots. Great fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Epepa

    I have never been to London and my wish is to visit it in the future. Lots of my friends live there and maybe it would be a chance to meet my old schoolmates. This city looks gorgeous on your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lauren of Postgrad & Postcards

    What a busy busy trip! I had a similar experience at the London Eye but I bought the day/night ticket! I got to go before 8pm and after 8pm and got the see the city during the day and then after dark for just a few pounds more.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Chantell

    Sounds like you had a really nice time in London. Congrats on your first solo flight too! It’s always so nice to have friends and family act as guides and is sounds like you saw a lot in your time there. I also went to the London Dungeons once and it scared the crap out of me ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kerri

    I remember thinking Covent Garden was just amazing on my very first visit. I still love going there – so much happening and always great street performers too. Nice summary of some of the key things to do in London.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      I wish I had time to visit that museum. Won’t get a chance to visit London again for a while but it will definitely be on my list ☺

      Like

  11. Megan Indoe

    London is one of my favorite cities I have ever been too! It’s been awhile since I have been but one of my favorite things to do was go see the Phantom of the Opera! I also loved tower bridge and the London Eye! There’s so much to do and see there I barely got to scratch the surface! It looked like you had a wonderful trip! I love the sheep statue from Wallace and Grommit too!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sheri

    I love London and go there at least twice a year. This is a city where new discoveries and friendships can be made, You got to do so much! That is great. Yay, for you flying alone for the first time. Will you do it again?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Lucky you! I did pack in a lot on that visit, I almost need another holiday just to recover ☺ I will as I’m moving to Canada in August on my own.

      Like

  13. Sally E

    What a great post! Sounds like you had a lovely time in London and managed to see a lot of the great sites as well! That’s great that you were able to stay with family since London accommodation can get so expensive. And congrats on your first solo flight too! I know it can be scary but now you’ll be able to do it no problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. abcdeghizzy

    Awwww, I loved London so much but I got pickpocketed in the crowds at the London Eye so the touristy areas really dampened my spirits even though the House of Parliament area is like the hotspot of activity. Good job on your first solo flight! I know that’s a big milestone for any traveler but you did it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      That sucks! Yeah that area so extremely busy with tourists! Thank you ☺ Going through security worried me the most but I did it!

      Like

  15. The Toronto Seoulcialite

    Sounds like you got into all of the best tourist destinations! I feel like London will never really be a tourist trap – it’s just too delicious and delightful, even if areas are a tad cheese-laden. I’ve always wondered about flying into Luton, too. Sounds like it was easy as pie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      How exciting Monica! It is a very touristy thing to do but the view of London from up there is just amazing ☺

      Like

  16. travelerettenyc

    I love London! But sadly the last time I was there my camera broke on the plane and I couldn’t take pictures. Good tip about buying tickets to the London Eye in advance. My favorite things in London are: classical music at Wigmore Hall, musicals in the West End, the Tower of London tour, and the Globe Theater tour. But I will have to try the London Dungeons next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Oh no! That sucks! I just passed by the Globe when my cousin was bringing me around on a tour the first night I was there, would love to take a tour of it 😊

      Like

  17. Sarah @ Expat of the World

    Shame I didn’t give this a read a few days ago- I was in London yesterday with my friend and although we had a lot of fun taking our time walking and cycling around the city, it’d have been great to go to some of these places! I love that London is a great place for a weekend escape, or even a day trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marteen Lane

      Thanks Jessica, I’ve heard wonderful things about Camden but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit while I was there. I will definitely do that the next time 😊

      Like

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