Monday, December 21, 2015

London // To See

So I am doing such a terrible job at doing these posts! Life just gets in the way! Well, I just finished my last exam of the semester so I am celebrating by making a blog post, and because I do not really have anything else to do today!

So here is the second installment in my London posts! I don't know if I have said this but I am actually going to end up doing 4 London posts, as I broke up the food posts into two posts. But, today's posts is going to be various sights to see in London, which there are a lot of them.

London is such a cool city and there is so much to do there, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of all of the things to do! London is a city full of history, I mean it's been around for ages! It seems like everything has a backstory and as a history nerd, I was basically in heaven.


1. Notting Hill
Notting Hill is actually a neighborhood in London, but it is a neighborhood I feel in love with. For most people it might not be that exciting but I loved wandering the streets just looking at all of the adorable homes. Plus, one of my favorite things to do when traveling is to see what real life in that city is actually like and not just touristy things.


2. Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market is a really cool street market where vendors come to sell antiques, knick-knacks, food, clothes and everything in between. It's super fun to browse through everything and be amidst all the masses of people. The best time to go is Saturday mornings (supposedly)!


3. St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral is simply stunning. Not only is the inside just as gorgeous, if not more, as the outside but you can also climb to the top of the dome to get stunning views of the city. This was everyone in my family's second trip to St. Paul's Cathedral. We all wanted to go back because it truly is stunning and my brother had never been to the top of the dome. Funny story: When I went in high school we came here the day we arrived, aka after an overnight flight, and climbed to the top of the dome. How I climbed up and down 528 steps each way after not sleeping on the plane is beyond me.



4. Westminster Abbey
I was so stoked to go to Westminster Abbey, I have been dying to go here ever since watching the Royal Wedding. It had just looked so stunning on TV. Now I was slightly disappointed as it wasn't as done up as it was for the Royal Wedding, there were no trees in the building, and there were so many people in there it was hard to take everything in. But, it was still gorgeous and this building holds so much history, I mean this church is 925 years old.



5. Victoria & Albert Museum
If you only go to one museum in London, it should be this one. I could literally spend all day here. The V&A is an art & design museum, so basically it was the best place. They have everything from paintings & sculpture to fashion & furniture and more. A few of my favorite exhibits was the fashion gallery which showed trends in fashion from 1750 to now, and there was also an interesting exhibition about shoes which is on until January. I also stumbled into the theater exhibit which was surprisingly really cool too. I think I also ended up in some 20th century design exhibit which I really liked too, there was literally just so much to look at.



6. See a Show
It's no secret that I love me a good musical. When my family was deciding on going to a show, we narrowed our options down to The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. While we had all really wanted to see Les Mis we ended up going with Phantom, as none of us had seen Phantom of the Opera on stage before. I was actually the only one in my family who knew the storyline. To anyone who doesn't know anything about Phantom of the Opera, the ending is not great & leaves you a bit confused, but the music is what makes everything worth it, literally goose bumps.



7. Sky Garden
Sky Garden is a really cool garden located on the top of the "Walkie Talkie" building. It is essentially a huge atrium on the top of a building. It is a really cool space that has a different feel to it. It's a great place to wander around and/or grab a bite to eat, or just take a break from the city. The only way I can think to describe it is a refreshingly urban setting...



8. Tower Bridge
I had kept seeing ads for a glass walkway at Tower Bridge. I jokingly brought it up to my parents not thinking anyone would be interested in it, but it turns out they were. Fun fact #2: I like heights. Heights do make me nervous for like the first 5 minutes, but I think they're fun. I have been wanting to go on a glass walkway for the longest time too. If you do this I recommend taking the stairs too, as the line is way shorter (aka no line) and you get to see cool parts of the inside of Tower Bridge.



9. Hyde Park/Kensington Palace
Hyde Park is a massive park in the middle of London. It is also the location of Kensington Palace, aka where Prince William and Kate Middleton live. Hyde Park is a great place to go if you want to get out of the city (but not actually leave), or have a picnic or something. Kensington Palace is also a cool place to go and they offer tours year round. The tour is just through unused parts of the building, but the best part was the part focusing on the life of Queen Victoria. Literally who knew the British monarchy was so interesting. Also, the gardens at Kensington Palace are definitely worth checking out too as they are gorgeous.



10. National Portrait Gallery - Audrey Hepburn Exhibit
It's no secret that I am a big Audrey Hepburn fan. When we were in London the National Portrait Gallery had an exhibit of Audrey Hepburn, so I made my family go to see that. The exhibit contained some of the most well known pictures of her, to some that I had never seen before. It was really fun, to see all of those pictures and learn a little bit more about her.

So this is not everything we did in London, but it was some of my favorite things that we did. A few honorable recommendations would be Churchill's War Rooms, walking across Millennium Bridge (aka the bridge from Harry Potter), and the Buckingham Palace tour, which you can only go on during certain times of the year.

London is one of my favorite cities I've ever been to, well it probably is my favorite city. I don't know why I love it so much, but it's just like the best place. I would honestly love to live there for bit at some point in my life just to see what it's really like, but we'll see!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

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