My program had the option to have a few days in London before continuing to Paris. It was a great way to meet a smaller group of people that would be joining me in Paris before we arrived. It also made for an easier transition into European life. Though time was limited, I was able to see most of London’s main attractions. The lines to get into most places were crazy long so we had to settle for the outside view in order to get in all the locations we wanted to see. If you only have a short time in London, here is what I recommend you do as they were the highlights of my time there:
1. The Tube: This is the easiest and fastest way to get around London. It’s underground so you miss the view of the city but the speed and ease of transportation can’t be beat. It can be pricey though because you pay based off of the distance you travel.
2. Buckingham Palace: We ended up going on a Sunday night as the sun was setting. Not only did the sky look amazing but the palace was extremely quite. We had no trouble getting to the front gate to get pictures. The next morning we went and it was crazy busy.
3. Big Ben: He was my favorite thing to see in London. Located in what I think of as the heart of London near Westminster Abbey and the London Eye, the River Thames flows in between Big Ben and the London Eye making it a beautiful area.
4. Hyde Park and Kensington Garden: Walking around here was truly beautiful. Sculptures, fountains and flowers are everywhere you look. It reminded me of a larger Central Park and I didn’t feel like I was in a city when I was inside the park. Kensington Palace, home of William and Kate, overlooks the park as well. It would have been the perfect place for a picnic if more time allowed.
5. Harrods: The iconic department store is a must-see. It is a massive building that would take days to get through. I recommend visiting the shoe section and the gift shop. London has so much to offer that, unless you want to go on a shopping spree, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time there. For other shopping check out Oxford Street or the SoHo area.
6. Fish and Chips at a Pub: It just wouldn’t be a trip to London without eating in a pub and enjoying some fish and chips. I ate fish and chips for dinner both nights and they were amazing both times. Pubs are everywhere and each has a uniquely beautiful, often wood paneled front so you don’t have to worry about finding one. The pub I went to was located near Westminster Abbey.