The whole reason I came to England was to visit Manchester to watch a premier league match. IT was cheaper to fly into London on our trip from Iceland so I figured it would be good to spend two days here.
Day 1 – Taking the Tube & Explore 05.12.2017
We arrived in London from Amsterdam after having a mild heart attack with a passport issue. We lodged in London for our whole three days stay in England. We stayed West of London in Hayes at Staycity Apathotels, which is near the airport and a train station. After checking into the hotel, we decided to check out the transit system to make sure getting to Euston station the next day for the trip to Manchester would be easy for my grandmother. The train from the hotel brings us to Paddington Station, we found the best way to take transit was to buy a London Oyster Card. You can check fare cost here and you can buy a travel card or Oyster card at a kiosk, or online here.
The tube in London, is a must-do, especially to circle the city and explore London, but it would be very difficult for an elderly person. Once we determined there was no way we were taking public Transit to Euston station we decided it was time to explore. We took the tube and got off at Green Park station. Walking across the park there is the famous Buckingham Palace. The Palace was bigger than I expected but I also expected a lot more of the famous guards and they were behind a fence and closer to the Palace entrance.
Getting late in the evening we decided it would be good to find a pub to have a bite to eat and watch the Chelsea match. We coincidently ended up at a Chelsea supporters pub with no intention. Chelsea ended up winning the league that night and we got to witness it with their fans at the Pub, crazy experience. The only thing I remember from this pub is the waitress clarifying that we were American and probably wanted to drink cold beer. I had always wondered if drinking warm beer was a thing in England or if it was a myth, turns out it’s true
After the football match, we took the tube from Victoria Station to the Palace of Westminister to see Big Ben, at this point, it was about 22:00 local time. We got to see Big Ben with all its lights and then the London Eye. Time to head back to Hayes to rest for the long day in Manchester tomorrow.
Day 2 – Head to Manchester 05.13.2017
Spending zero time in London today and heading to Manchester taking the train. This is a separate post here.
Day 3 – Double Decker Bus 05.14.2017
Our final day in London was spent taking the red bus tour. This is where I saw the last two things on my list the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London Castle. This was a neat experience, we were able to set outside on a double-decker bus which was a first, and of course, there are two things every American thinks of when going to Britain the red phone booth and the double-decker buses.
You can buy your tickets online even the day of or just buy them directly from the bus driver with cash. Hoping on and off as you please each company seems to run a bus about every 10 minutes between stops and then the driver had told me the whole cycle was about five hours with traffic. We did about 3.5 hours plus stops so a total of about 5 hours of travel.
You can go up to the top of Tower Bridge and you take a tour through the Tower of London Castle, due to time constraints I did not do this, but if I went back, I would do both of these and the London Eye. Seeing all these places were plenty for my first time, and I saw everything I wanted to see, however, if I came back I could find more to do.
Overall, London is a city that I think I would have been better off saving for my retirement years, there is plenty to see and do but a lot of it, such as museums, is something I will appreciate more as I get older, let alone I would be willing to spend more time in a museum. Plus while I’m active and young I plan to be more adventurous, and I didn’t find that in London. I think three days there is plenty, but if you like museums then definitely stay longer than a week. The city was cleaner than I expected and the transit is top-notch, the people were friendly, and traffic is congested, so enjoy the tube! The food was great and the prices were very reasonable, even with an unfavorable exchange rate to the USD.
I’ll be back to England and the UK, so many other cities to explore and castles to see. Till next time.