For celebrating the new year’s my boyfriend and I decided to do a city trip to London!
I can immediately say : we were not the only ones with that idea. There were a LOT of people! Nothing we didn’t expect but it would be impossible to go for a shopping spree that time of year. Good that we had other plans! Anyway, let me tell you about our trip.
We took the Eurostar train to st. Pancras station in Londen, very easy and fast transportation. It gives you a little pressure on the ears when it goes undergrond, as an adult it doesn’t bother you that much, but for children it’s very uncomfortable, so beware of that if you are traveling with the Eurostar, bring enough to drink/eat for your little one, so the pressure gets lifted off often.
Because prices are very high that time of year we decided to stay at an airbnb, something we also did this summer in Amsterdam and I did in 2014 in Croatia with a friend. We stayed in an apartment in Barking with a lovely woman named Carol. It was easily accessible with the metro but very different from central London. The neighbourhood was rather poor, but let’s be an optimist and call it an ‘upcoming’ neighbourhood, but it has a long way to go.
We decided to get all the touristy stuff over with the first day, so we set out to go walk over the London bridge and next to the tower of London. The tower is incredibly expensive, 40 pounds for only 1 ticket? That was a little unexpected and made us decide against visiting. From there we walked over to the Sky garden, unfortunately we didn’t book places in advance so we couldn’t go up. You can go in without a place if you come early enough, we really want be good at the early bird thing, we just don’t seem to succeed up to now. We did try getting there that early, but we failed.
Since we were in the touristy mood we took the metro to the Westminster bridge and Big Ben, from there we walked all the way to Buckingham palace. A very nice walk trough a nice park in the middle of central London. The guards must have been freezing out there, standing still in these cold temperatures! By the time we got out the park we were starving and we got ourselves some mexican food. We rest our feet a bit there and we wondered how we walked this much without seeing any YouTube/celebrity/royal yet!
We got the metro to Soho and walked around Convent garden, very romantic and cozy even though there were -again- so many people. From there we walked to Leicester square and to the first little Christmas market we found, we strolled through Chinatown and ended up dragging ourselves all the way up to Piccadilly circus and Carnaby street. When the sun set, we searched for some food in King’s court and ended up taking the metro home on Oxford street.
Obviously an exhausting day!
The next day was supposed to be the ‘shopping’ day. Well boy, was I wrong. In the UK you have boxing day on 26 december and sales right after, so the shops were so filled with people it was not a nice experience. We tried to enjoy the magic of some Harrods shopping and went to Piccadilly street and Oxford street again but we soon gave up on the whole shopping thing. I did buy some makeup and skin care in Superdrug and wandered around in Lush and Anthropology, but it really wasn’t long before we couldn’t enjoy it anymore. I did manage to buy some UK-only skincare and Zoella stuff I wanted to try, so I was happy!
On our third day , the 31st of december, we planned going to the museums. In London these are free to visit. We started with a wonderful breakfast/brunch in Pain Quotidien at Convent garden. I do love the Pain Quotidien, it’s an originaly Belgian place and it’s always so cozy. We were lucky to have a seat and had a great breakfast there. Even when it was this busy, the staff remained very polite.
We started our cultural day by walking over the Millennium bridge, we spotted some people vlogging but sadly we didn’t know them! We visited Tate Modern, beautiful architecture but the collection is not really our taste to be honest. My mother is an artist herself so I was brought up a bit in the art world so I do love a lot, but the modern take on art is most of the time not my favourite. We travel further to Soho to the National Gallery. We didn’t expect a lot but that was a great museum, I would definitely recommend that one! A beautiful collection and really nicely presented. Also completely free! We saw Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, name them!
What I really love about museums (or touristy things in general) is the little shops at the end … I just love these adult gadget franchise they make about it! I always buy a magnet from the places I visited to put it on my fridge. After our artistic afternoon we set out for something very British: afternoon tea. We went to Richoux, a place my parents discovered years ago, and ordered afternoon tea with scones and jam. This was delicious! A great tradition in a nice decor.
Normally we would be setting out for home by now, but since it’s the 31st we had to stick around some more! We had tickets for the fireworks from Westminster bridge, we should be getting in around 10pm, so we had some hours to fill! We decided to go already in the right direction and eat something nearby. A good choice apparently since soon the whole area was FILLED with people wanting to see the fireworks! We found a really nice bar/dinner place where we ate some pasta and had a drink! It’s new year’s after all. When we went out to claim our places on the bridge we got pretty stressed by the whole rather confusing organisation but eventually everything turned out alright in the end. There was some music on the bridge, some people were dancing. We spend a few hours there waiting for the big moment!
And I must say, it was truly amazing to witness that big party with the Big Ben counting down, the amazing fireworks from the London Eye, the view and the experience were unbelievable! Everyone was really happy and hyped! Afterwards we had a long walk to find a metro station but we got home alright and had a good first night of 2017!
The first of january we planned on going to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde park, it had rained that day which was a little bummer but on the other hand it meant that there were not a lot of people and that was a definite plus! I must say: this is a lovely Christmas market, it’s like a whole theme park put up just for the Christmas period. I definitely want to go back there and enjoy it in a pre-Christmassy mood! It’s divided in sections (German, circus … ) and it’s really worth a visit. We proceed to something with a roof this time and decided to go check out the National Science museum. Again, it was much better than expected! Even though a lot of people were there, it did not necessarily feel crowded. We had wayy to little time, we definitely want to go back. We saw the famous and amazing collection of dinosaur fossils and looked in here and there on the other collections about for example earthquakes and the galaxy. It’s also a really nice museum to do if you have children! You arrive and with a staircase you enter some kind of planet, so the start is already cool! We went to a little Thai restaurant nearby and went home to cozy up for the night.
The last day we went to Camden Town, I discovered it a few years ago with a friend and wanted to show it to my boyfriend, I really love the special boho atmosphere of Camden, we dove into the gigantic Camden market and came across some robotto cyberpunk underground shop with girls dancing in the corners, horse stables with adorable shops, some food stalls and an asian inspired section where I bought a Totoro sweater. If you never went you really have to go take a look in Camden.
We still want to go visit Nothing Hill, little Venice, the Tower of London (when we are rich), the Sky gardens (when we are succesful early birds, or we manage to book in advance), and so much more! I never seem to grow tired of London!
Hoped you liked to read about our little adventure with new year’s!
Have a nice day!
Question: Where does that ‘mind the gap’ thing come from? The gap really isn’t that big!