At the end of August, for the Summer bank holiday, I took a trip to London.
One of the most exciting things about living in Bristol for me, was it’s proximity to London, at least relative to the North of Scotland.
I was actually born in London and lived there until I was 8 so it is a very special place for me.
Prior to this trip, I had last visited London in January 2015, but this long weekend would be the longest I had been there for a while.
We got the train across on a Saturday morning which was grey and a bit drizzly in Bristol but by the time we got to London it had turned into a lovely late summer day.
I had several hours by myself in the afternoon so went for a wander. I walked from Trafalgar square, down Whitehall, passed Downing Street and towards Westminster Parliament. I walked across Westminster Bridge, dodging the many tourists and secretly thinking about how I wasn’t really a tourist like them (even though I totally was), then took a break in Parliament Square.
After this, I walked back towards Trafalgar square via Horseguard’s Parade then headed up into Soho, wandering through China town and admiring the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue, unsure if I wanted more to be going to see a show or to have the talent to appear in one!
It was very important to me when visiting London this time to go to the part of East London that I grew up in, even if this meant travelling to the opposite end of the city from where we were staying in Earls Court staying very early on Sunday morning.
After taking a detour past my old home, we went to the Columbia Road Flower Market. I would definitely recommend anyone visiting London to visit this Market. There is a noticeable lack of tourists which is quite refreshing in London and it has the exact same busy yet friendly atmosphere I remembered it having as a child. The Flower Market runs from 8am to 3pm on Sunday mornings and is easily reached from nearby tube stations.
Whilst there, I had the MOST amazing Bacon sandwich in the the Birdcage pub and just purchased a little cactus since I couldn’t really take flowers home with me.
After the Flower Market, we traipsed all the way back across the city to get to the Natural History Museum where we spent most of the rest of the day. The Museum was brilliant and there was so much to see and learn! The dinosaurs were of course a highlight, but I also loved the sections on human evolution, human biology and the minerals and gemstones.
On the way back to our hotel, we refueled in the Cafe in the Royal Albert hall, which is a pretty impressive place for a snack! We also walked through Kensington Gardens and saw the Albert Memorial, which I heard about in an Art History lecture a long time ago and really wanted to see in person. We also saw some of the tail end of the Notting Hill Carnival on the way back to the tube.
In the evening we ate at the loveliest Italian restaurant on Earls Court Road called Bistro Benito which had a very family run feel with very friendly staff, great homely food that you could tell care had been taken over and a unique atmosphere!
We had nothing planned for the following day and as someone who LOVES to plan, this is unusual for me. Happily we came up with a brilliant idea for how to spend our day – playing in Harrods!
This may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but I had a great time looking at all of the ridiculously expensive things, exploring the sensorially overloading food hall, admiring the very lavish decoration and, most importantly, the toys!
We honestly spent hours in the toy section, admiring the huge selection of beautiful teddies, the train sets, the pristine dolls, the rocking horses… It was pure childish joy!
The trip ended at Paddington where, after the compulsory photo with the Peruvian bear himself, we boarded our train and said goodbye to the Big Smoke, hopefully not for too long though!