People always ask me where I’m from, and their always slightly shocked that London’s the city I have left, in their mind it’s one of the most awe-inspiring places.
However when you’re ‘born and bred’ in the good old London town, you have two views on the one city. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE London – but part of me loves what it was once upon a time. As Thomas Burke once said “when the citizen was permitted to live in freedom, to develop himself to his finest possibilities, and to pursue happiness as he was meant to do” To me this sums up exactly how I feel about London.
As a tourist visiting it is truly an inspiring place – it gives you this warm, nostalgic, fuzzy feeling. I still remember walking back after a boat party along the Thames river, I was barely 18 me & my best friend both half cut, heels in our hands, tottering across the millennium bridge gone 2am. I just suddenly stopped and stared out at the city in front of me. I can only really describe it as opening my eyes for the first time and seeing the real beauty of the city I had spent my entire life in and wondering how much I had really been missing, Just by focusing on the mundane and tedious side of what I had always known…
Still to this day, I’m unsure of how long I’d been standing staring, to turn and see my best friend doing exactly the same. Until today I never actually thought that maybe she wasn’t doing the same, breathing in the true beauty of London maybe she just thought I was going to vomit over the side of the millennium bridge due to all of the cheap Lambrini I had drank during the evening.
So as a reborn tourist, here are my top places to visit in London – I hope you grow to love them as much as I do.
Walk along the millennium bridge and embankment at night – its free and in my view it really is the most amazing thing to do to just wander about staring at all of the buildings and history surrounding you. Throw in a cheap bottle of lambrini and the night could take you anywhere! I couldn’t even count the amount of times I’ve been here but I really do love just wandering, nothing beats it.
Get Lost – no really actually get lost (please do make sure this is NOT at 2am with a bottle of lambrini so preferably not in the order I have listed these!) Its one of the ‘touristy’ activities we always did. Just get a train to somewhere in central London get off the train and walk.. you’ll get to experience the true vibe of London and you’ll also get to find these small individual places in London that aren’t listed on a top 10 attractions flyer. They most likely won’t actually mean a thing to anyone but you… but it really is part of the experience! If you’re not that way inclined, plan to get from one station to another merely by asking for general directions – the joys of an oyster card!
The London Eye – I know what your thinking ‘the giant Ferris wheel’.. Regardless It is a great experience and gives you a fantastic view of the city both in the day and at night-time – keep an eye out for a good deal online to keep costs down.
The National Gallery – you can see some beautiful art work and see Trafalgar square in one yes its a traditional tourist spot but again it’s usually free along with the Tate Modern if you love art – although I do know you have to pay to view certain exhibitions in both.
Big Ben – Yep again shock horror … The big clock in London.. Still amazes me every time I see the thing! You really can’t miss seeing this stunning piece of architecture when you visit London – and amazingly I’m lucky I just noticed my typo of writing the ‘big cock’ in London.. that definitely could have been interesting for a tourist to be asking to see big Ben’s cock!!
Take a boat trip down the Thames – The joys of this one is it can be flexible enough to suit your personality from a quiet lunch, a romantic dinner or a party into the night. Just look for tickets online or even when you’re in London there’s always something going on!
The Tower of London & Tower Bridge much like big ben you can’t go to London and not visit the tower of London & tower bridge! I know you can get a good deal on both at http://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/tower-of-london.html
Tourist-Tourist-Tourist; None the less you have to visit Madame Tussaud’s & The London dungeons – great fun and a fantastic day out not to be missed no matter what your age.
Go star-gazing on Hampstead heath! – By now you must have realised I’m a night owl but this is one of the highest points in the city meaning one of the best places to just lay and gaze at the stars totally free and not to be missed as London’s incredible at night. Also if laying on the grounds not your thing drop by Hampstead observatory… Happy Gazing!
Visit the shard & the gherkin – For ages I kept referring to the gherkin as the ‘big pickle’ because I couldn’t ever remember the darn name! but needless to say there are plenty of beautiful and be it odd pieces of architecture to visit in London so don’t limit your self to just the one! I think both the gherkin and the shard have restaurants with kick ass city views which are apparently a must visit!
Feel free to comment or email me for more info or tips – also keep posted for my up coming trip back to London for 12 weeks being a tourist once again with the little backpackers!