Monday, December 12, 2016

two days in London

Spending two days in London? Or just making a quick trip in the land of fish n chips and tea? In this post, i'm breaking down my best tips and worst mistakes made. 
(So that you don't have to).

First off, London can be extremely overwhelming.  (Especially for first time visitors or city-newbies). Living in the greater NYC area, big cities are a natural part of my every day experience. But London still took me by surprise. Is it a fairly small city? Yes. But that does not exclude it from being packed with people, full of traffic, and plain confusing. So here are my do's.

DO #1: DO stay in a hotel/airbnb closer to the city center. For only two days, it would be worth it. Staying in a little funky neighborhood  like Shoreditch, located on the East End, might sound appealing (and more affordable) to all of you young millennials (it did to me), but for a short trip- it's just not worth it. Being located on the East End was convenient for seeing sights like Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, but most of the quintessential London atmosphere and sights (Big Ben, British Museum, Kensington gardens, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus), are located closer to the city center by Westminster.

DO #2: DO prioritize going to The British Museum and the Tower of London. The British Museum is one of the best museums in the world, with artifacts like the Rosetta Stone and crushed helmet from ancient Ur. The Tower of London is not really a tower. It was really a prison built like a mini castle, that held Queen Elizabeth 1st and Sir Walter Raleigh. It's a fortress of history, holding the crown jewels.

DO #3: DO prioritize stopping for fish n chips and a tea. I highly recommend getting tea at Kensington Gardens. There is a little cafe located inside the gardens, that is connected to the palace, and the tea is AMAZING. It also won't take out a lot of time from your itinerary, since it's a cafe and not a formal restaurant. (Making it affordable and convenient!)

DO #4: DO invest in an Oyster Card. Even for only two days, it's completely worth it. It makes Tube rides so much more convenient and simple.

So now that I have provided some necessary Do's, here are my Do Not's. 

DON'T #1: DO NOT use the bus system in London. It may be "simpler" than using the "Tube", AKA: London's subways, but you will waste an outrageous amount of time in traffic. Use the tube system. It can be confusing at times, but it is still so much easier to understand than NYC subways.

DON'T #2: Not use a tour bus. The big bus tour companies in London are a great way to see the city in a short amount of time. However, if you are staying in London for only two days, do not endeavor to go on every bus route. Just focus on the main areas on the routes. You will understand where everything is located, and get the history, all in one ride.

DON'T #3: Expect to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace if you arrive late. Try to get there a half hour before it starts to claim a good spot (which is by the main center fountain). Honestly, the changing of the guards is not a big deal. And I do not recommend seeing it if you only have two days to spend in London. Instead of spending an hour or so watching the guards, you can just see the guards whenever you pass by Buckingham Palace. (There's always one to see standing by the palace).

I hope you enjoyed these few tips for seeing London in a short amount of time! 
Feel free to share this post with friends, or comment below for any other questions concerning the city.


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