If you are regular followerof my blog (which I really hope you are!), you must have read my post-‘Stamp on my passport’. Well, the jinx finally broke and I travelled to London a month back..for three long weeks. Incredible, right? I know, even I could not believe it until I exited the Heathrow airport, looked around and said, ‘Wow!’ London is an extraordinary city, let me begin by saying this..and you must visit London whenever you get a chance. It is not just about the magnificent architecture or the breathtaking sights or even the fun filled tourist attractions, there is an aura about the place, a certain warmth despite the chill of winter winds and a feel of being welcomed. As for me, I was spell-bound the moment I stepped foot there. London- it stole my heart!
There is just so much to see and explore and you will be surprised that at the end of my vacation, three weeks appeared too short. There is still so much I could not see but then, that gives me a reason to return so I am not complaining. If you are planning a trip to London, no matter what anyone or any book tells you, you simply must not miss visiting these places:
- Windsor Castle
Lush green lawns around a castle that appears to have materialised out of a fairy tale- that was the first impression of Windsor Castle for me! One of the many residences of the British royal family, this castle was originally constructed in the 11th century and yet looks as good as new. Incredible!
This royal residence withstood many disturbances and wars and provided refuge to the royal family and is now where the Queen likes to reside over the weekends. While getting mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the architecture, I learnt another interesting fact- more than 500 people live and work in Windsor Castle. Where do I apply?
2. London Eye
Who does not love a ride on a giant wheel? When the giant wheel is bigger than any you have ever seen and promises a view of the entire city of London, your excitement is way more than you ever had in your childhood before any ride. That is exactly what I felt as I stepped into one of the 32 capsules of London Eye. An intriguing fact is that though the capsules are 32 in number, they are numbered from 1 to 33 as there is no capsule number 13 (unlucky according to British beliefs). The glass capsules ensure a clear view to a distance of over 40 kilometres on a clear day. The view at night time is just as beautiful as during the day. I learnt that a lot of weddings take place on the London Eye. I can hardly think of a venue with a better view!
3. Madam Tussad’s
Yes, Madam Tussad’s museum has wax statues of celebrities in every field. I know you know that but that is not all! For me, the section of the museum that lies beyond is just as fun. Just when you have almost exhausted the memory of your phone with selfies with your favourite celebs, you discover a lot more. A taxi ride takes you on a journey through time and you pass by and behold the events that occurred over the centuries and shaped the capital of United Kingdom into the present day London that we see. It is a visual treat! At the end of the tour, a 4D movie from Marvels gives a befitting end to the magnificent experience. I came out as happy and pleased as my 7 year old.
4. Buckingham Palace
Well, this one is a no-brainer. You cannot visit London and not go and see the Queen’s official and administrative residence. Though you can just go till the gates and peep inside towards the regal structure and try not to let your jaw drop, it is worth visiting. It does remain open for public some time in August and September.
5. Emirates cable car
This cable car that takes you from one end to the other across River Thames is a different way to fly over the water body and view London from a height. Not only that, there is a cockpit replica wherein you can sit and get the feel of flying an aeroplane. Better still, you can sit in the flight simulator and feel like a real pilot.
Right next to it is the O2 arena which includes dining restaurants, bowling alley, cinemas, arena and exhibition areas.
6. Shrek’s adventure
I had told myself that I was doing this for my kid who is a die-hard fan of Shrek and can watch the Shrek movies on a loop. I don’t mind admitting it that within seconds of entering Shrek’s adventure, I hardly knew what she was doing. I was myself squealing and screaming with excitement and joy, running from one room to the other, meeting fairytale characters, following the leads, searching for Shrek.
You must, must visit this place, even if you are not travelling with a child. We all need some magic in our lives, right?
7. Sea life Aquarium
Imagine walking through a tunnel above which you can see sharks swim by…that is Sea Life aquarium, a magical kingdom of scores and scores of sea creatures of all shapes and varieties. Fishes, eels, sting rays, coral reefs…and the icing on the cake are the penguins!! The environmental conditions are strictly monitored and maintained as close to normal as possible. By the time we reached, it was sleep time for the penguins and we could hardly catch a glimpse. Do not, in any case, miss this enigmatic display of the underwater world.
8. Big Ben
One of the most iconic and prominent landmarks of the city, Big Ben is hard to miss. Situated near the houses of parliament in Westminster, the towering clock resounds with the sound of the big bell inside it every hour. The Palace of Westminster in itself is a tourist attraction. The architecture of the building is intricate and stunning in detail.
9. Tower of London
We are love stories, especially when there is an element of intrigue or mystery surrounding it. The Tower of London has seen it all. It was once a palace, then a fortress, a prison even and now it houses the Crown jewels. Legend has it that the slain wife of King Henry VIII, Queen Anne Boyle, can still be spotted walking down the corridors, headless. I did not see her (not that I had any intention to) but the resident ravens who are considered good luck for the Tower were daunting enough.
10. Oxford street
Travel is incomplete without shopping, at least that is what I believe in! Shopping in London is synonymous with Oxford Street. Every brand, every store you can think of is there. You can shop till you drop, then visit one of the many fine dining options, rejuvenate yourself and start shopping again. Shopper’s paradise!!
If you are travelling during the Christmas season like I did, you will get to witness the very famous Christmas lights of Oxford Street.
Motivated enough? I am sure you are. So grab that laptop and plan your vacation to London and if you have visited it already, let me know your favourite places.