“If you were to live in another city outside your home country, where would it be?”
London would definitely be my answer in a heartbeat. Oh London, how can I begin? I’ve always loved this city even before seeing it in real. Why? Most of the things I love are from here — Harry Potter books from my childhood, afternoon tea, theatre at the West End, Topshop, Cath Kidston, the beautiful Big Ben, Notting Hill, lovely gardens, the most interesting architecture and structures from classic and iconic to the quirkiest ones, the castles and palaces and a lot more! Growing up, I’ve also had a fascination with British royalty. My mom was an avid fan of the late Princess Diana and I’ve always crushed on William during our teens. Then he married Kate Middleton, my forever style icon and so I loved them even more! 🙂
So 2 years ago, when Ken and I were planning our honeymoon, London was the non-negotiable stop for me. We made it our first stop and took a train there from Paris. You can read more about our travel from Manila to Paris to London in my previous posts, Planes & Trains. We visited in October and it was really cold already. But despite the freezing cold, we fell in love with London the moment we arrived. Walking to our little hotel in Leicester Square and seeing the pretty and quaint building in our neighborhood, the iconic red phone booth, the little gardens and shops, it was just all so lovely!
And what made our arrival even more perfect is that our friend Charl, who met us the moment we arrived, took us straight to high tea in Kensington Palace! A warm British welcome couldn’t be more authentic than that! 🙂 So even if we were hungry from our long travel and our Pinoy stomachs were already craving steaming hot rice meals hahaha, the excitement of the experience won me over. I was literally so giddy to experience one of the best high teas in London! Charl took us to The Orangery which was in a wing in Kensington Palace that was made public. It was just walking distance to our hotel. There was a long line when we arrived. Even if it started to drizzle and it was really cold, people actually waited in line. It was definitely a popular place. When we finally got to go inside, I saw the reason why it was so popular. It was a really charming place for high tea! High ceiling, pretty interiors, it was definitely a lovely place to catch up with friends or even hold your bridal shower or birthday or any personal affair. Everything was just so pretty and it remains to be the best afternoon tea experience of mine. (Thank you Charl for treating us here!) I was just so thrilled to be having tea where Will and Kate actually lives (they chose Kensington Palace as their home after they got married and they live there now with little George).
On our first night we were set to watch “Les Miserables” on West End. So we went and toured the areas of Central London while waiting. We went to Piccadilly Circus and saw a mob of zombies and discovered the biggest M&M World I’ve ever seen! It was really massive with the most interesting finds and I wanted to bring home a lot! We love the vibe of Piccadilly Circus, it was just bursting with energy and there’s so much to see and discover.
The next morning, we went to see the Buckingham Palace and catch the Changing of the Guards. It was a nice walk going to the Palace from Green Park. When we arrived it wasn’t crowded yet but in just a few minutes we were surprised to see how fast the crowd thickens. So many people come everyday to watch the spectacle and there are guards with big tall horses roaming around to just keep the crowd in order. It was actually an exciting thing to see and the energy of the crowd is just infectious! I can just imagine how wilder and more exciting it gets here when there’s an actual Royal affair like William & Kate’s wedding!
We got the London Pass so we can easily tour the rest of the sights and museums in the city while making the most of our money within the 5 days of our stay. We went to Trafalgar Square and the National Museum too.
That night, we went to Oxford Circus to meet my friend Marie who was living in London that time. I wanted to do some shopping around Oxford Circus but we were surprised to discover that shops close at 6pm just like in Australia. How early!! I guess the Brits are really more laid-back than the Americans and us Asians who like to shop til we drop. So we had dinner instead and went to see the Big Ben at night. Oxford Circus is beautiful at dusk. I love how the skies turn dark grayish blue and the buildings start glowing and everything looks like a romantic painting.
But the Big Ben is another sight to behold. During the day it’s already a gorgeous structure but its look at night is my favorite, it’s just sooooooo lovely and magical! Its glow gives you the eerie feel that Peter Pen is about to come out of the clock. It’s really really splendid at night! And right across is the London Eye which is also beautifully lit up.
London is just so beautiful day and night. In just a few days, we were able to get a glimpse of what this city is all about and we loved every minute of it! I remember thinking that 5 days is never enough. There’s so much to see and the best way to enjoy everything is experience the culture and vibe unhurriedly. Just like my post, I can’t hurry sharing everything in one entry as our UK trip was so adventure-filled so I will have to write about it in parts. Notting Hill, Harry Potter tour and Windsor Castle up next in my next coming entries! 🙂
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