My London Travel Blog (Travelogue)– In 2017, I set on a journey to achieve my long-lasting dream of studying abroad. This one dream somehow had many other dreams attached (like traveling and living by myself) to it and one of them was visiting London.
Always fascinated by the beauty of the city as shown in Bollywood movies, this girl fell in love with London. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that my love for London only grew stronger when I actually visited this ‘Gorgeous’ (as the English say) city.
As I set off to pursue my master’s from the UK, I first landed in London before going to Leeds. It was September, the weather was pleasant and the days were fairly short.
Since I was there with my dad, we stayed at the Novotel Hotel at Hammersmith. 3 days here, we went on to explore the city, visiting the major tourist attractions like Tower Bridge, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and St. Pauls Cathedral as we had my dad’s friend showing us around. This was my first visit to London.
LONDON WITH FRIENDS (Visit 2)
Three months later (In December), I planned another trip to London, this time from Leeds, with my friends. We booked an Airbnb for the 4 of us and shared it with 4 other guests who stayed in a room upstairs. The worst part about this accommodation was that it was far from the main attractions and we had a shared bathroom.
This time, my experience in London was different altogether. We walked around the city on foot, at midnight. London was bustling, Millennium bridge lit and empty, Thames calm, London Eye shining and people cheerful. The best thing about London is that the English are very polite and friendly. If you caught an eye with someone, they will definitely pass a smile.
The second day, we were all set to go around the city, hopping from one tube to another. Instead of tourist places, we visited the charming streets of London- Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus.
The next day (our last day on the trip), we packed our bags and moved out of the Airbnb, heading straight to Tower Bridge. The chilly December wind made my hands freeze but I still stood on the bridge to make a time-lapse video of The Thames.
During December, everyone in London is in high Christmas spirits. There are Christmas fairs everywhere right from the second week of December and we were overjoyed to be a part of this merriment.
Hot and delicious rolls, chocolaty crepes, refreshing coffee, and happy people at the Christmas market definitely brought in the Christmas cheer for us. After the delicious food and a much-needed photo session, we walked towards the Victoria Station for our return journey, stopping by the Westminster Abbey on our way.
LONDON WITH FAMILY (Visit 3)
I came back to the UK in December 2018 for my convocation ceremony but this time with my mom and dad. Since the booking arrangements were up to me, I opted for some budget-friendly options (as opposed to what my dad really wanted.. haha).
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Victoria Hotel, Belgrave Road. Though a prime location, the hotel rooms were very small and cozy. The first evening, after settling in, we headed straight to Primark (the savior) at Oxford Street to shop some warm clothes for mum and some other essentials.
The next day, we started early and set out to explore London. Our first stop was Buckingham Palace, to witness the Changing of the Guards ceremony that attracts hundreds of visitors every time. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy it much.
Taking a stroll through St. James Park, we were headed towards the London Eye when we saw the most adorable dog enjoying Christmassy vibes.
We were off to Leeds the next morning. After the ceremony in Leeds, we came back to London and stayed at the Central Park hotel, right opposite Hyde Park. Just like the location, the rooms and services here were equally amazing. We walked around the neighborhood and ended our day with an Indian dinner at a local restaurant.
I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since my teenage years and couldn’t resist visiting the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Baker Street, the next morning.
Our next stop was The Tower of London, but not before some fun tube rides and an ice-cream break as the sun shone in the London winters.
After enjoying some delicious noodles and hot coffee at the Christmas market, we walked towards the colorful streets of Leicester Square, entered the tempting M&M world, and stopped by Piccadilly Circus. Making our way through the beautifully lit Oxford Street, we reached our last destination for the day, WINTER WONDERLAND- the famous Christmas fair.
This marked the end of my last trip to London (for now) and we returned to another beautiful city MUMBAI!
Personal Note: If you are Indian and want only Indian food, there are plenty of amazing Indian restaurants in London. However, try not to have Indian food and instead, taste different cuisines and some delicious street food. Also, if you are visiting London between Dec to Feb, shorter and darker days can feel a little depressing. Try having fun by staying out- London is always bustling and lit.
Best Time to visit– Of course, December! the city is in a complete festive mood, streets are lit up, people are cheerful. However, the days are short.
Duration– If you are planning to visit only London, 5 days trip is a good option. You can also plan to go around London and should account for +2 days for each destination around London.
Stay– You can choose to stay at a budget hotel too. Select accommodation closer to Oxford street if feasible. Even if your hotel/ hostel is away from the main attractions, tubes are the savior in London. If you are travelling solo, stay at a hostel as you will get to meet many more people there. Central park hotel at Queensborough was a great option. An Airbnb didn’t seem like a nice option, personally as the accommodation was very untidy and there were no cleaning services.
Travel– ALWAYS travel by underground tubes. It is fun and fast. You can buy an oyster card if you plan on using the tube a lot as it will save you a lot of money. Avoid travelling on the road because you are most likely to be stuck in traffic. If you can walk through the city. You will see a lot of interesting things on your way to literally anywhere.
SIM Card– Buy a Lycamobile sim card. They have affordable tourist plans too.
Shop– If you are looking for affordable or cheap clothes and accessories, Primark is the go-to place. For expensive branded products, Oxford street offers you that choice with a lot of brand stores. You can get souvenirs too from Oxford street. PS: (For Indians) You get amazing discounts on Victoria’s Secrets perfumes and H&M.
Must do and see–
- Sit by the London eye and walk on the Millennium Bridge at midnight.
- Watch the Tower Bridge opening as a huge cruise passes by- check the timings of the same, beforehand
- Visit St. Paul’s cathedral and learn about the whispering gallery
- Visit Leicester Square street in the evening. It is very cheerful and fun
- If you are planning to travel around London, book your train tickets by Trainline App
- Have city mapper app downloaded on your phone, helps you reach anywhere and everywhere.
- Book your hotels through Booking.com and hostels from Hostelworld.com
- For taxi services, download the Uber app
I hope my experience helps you in planning your trip. No matter what, London will never disappoint you. If you find my London blog quite useful, please rate the article by clicking stars.