Whilst I did have a good time in London, I’ll admit that it’s not my kind of place. There’s plenty to do but unfortunately I didn’t find it as interesting as other places I’ve been to. I’m glad I’ve been though.
The first day we went to Shakespeare’s globe and on a Jack the Ripper tour. The tour was so good! We got to walk the streets of London and visit the sites where the girls had been murdered. The tour guide had spent most of his life studying Jack the Ripper so he was full of facts and quite the character. He definitely added to the tour with pictures and a small projector that shone pictures onto the street walls as he told us the story of Jack the Ripper.
The next day Hayden and I went to Warner Bros Studio and did The Making of Harry tour. It was amazing! All of the sets and props were original. We were shown how certain scenes, like quidditch games, are filmed and created on the green screen. We were then able to board the Hogwarts Express! Unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere but we were able to walk through the carriages that had been organised in chronological order with the films.
After that we tried butter beer which was delicious! I can’t describe the taste of the beer itself but it was topped with what tasted like butterscotch cream. So yummy. Once we had finished our drinks we headed outside to see the knight bus, Harry’s house on Privet Dr and a few more outdoor sets. Hagrids bike and the Weasley’s car were also outside for people to sit in.
Once we had had our turn, we went back inside and through Diagon Alley. It was crazy being able to walk through there and see all the shops the characters go to. After that we were shown models of the different sets and then a big model of Hogwarts itself. It was so detailed and had a room dedicated to it, letting us walk all around Hogwarts.
On our third day, the three of us had lunch then Mitch and I did some shopping on Oxford St and Regent St and Hayden went to Arsenal stadium.
The next day we watched the Changing of the Guards which was interesting and good to watch. My only piece of advice is the shorter you are, the earlier you should get there. Apparently the Queen was in Scotland at the time too so we missed out on getting a wave. Unfortunately we missed out on going inside too since tickets need to be booked in advance.
Once the guards had been changed we headed back to Oxford and Regent St to visit Hamleys toy store, M&M World and Harrods. Hamleys was so impressive! It has multiple storeys and staff on each level playing with toys and showing children how different things work. As you can imagine there were a great deal of tantrums when they couldn’t get whatever toy they had just been playing with but it was all smiles from us big kids.
M&M World is also multilevelled and filled with chocolate. Each coloured M&M had its own section with merchandise from mugs to pyjamas. After that was Harrods. Us backpackers were pretty out of place. It did make us wonder what kind of extravagant lifestyle a person would live to do their everyday shopping there and of course there were people doing just that.
The day after we were off to the London Zoo. It was decently sized with part of it across the road. We started with a walk through Regent Park before going into the zoo and I’m sure we only saw a snippet of the park. It’s size is so impressive and definitely something to be jealous of.
The zoo also included an aquarium, butterfly enclosure and lemur enclosure. I loved both of the enclosures, especially the lemur one. It was so cool having them walk around us and sit next to some people. Though Melbourne zoo is still my favourite, London zoo was pretty good.
The day after, Hayden and I climbed The Monument and went to the Tower of London. The Monument is in acknowledgement of The Great Fire of London in 1666 and was really well put together. I was also surprised that Mitch and I came across a Bali monument near St James park one of the days we had lunch there.
After climbing the monument, and getting a certificate for it, Hayden and I headed to The Tower of London. I definitely recommend the tower. We spent quite a few hours there since there’s so much to explore with it containing so much history. There was a section about the animals that were once kept there and sadly not really looked after too well. There was also a military section that had a bag there for people to try to lift that weighed a quarter of what the packs actually weigh for those in the army. I can tell you now, they carry a lot!
The next day unfortunately wasn’t as exciting. There are just certain chores that still have to be done as backpackers like the good old laundry. We also all posted stuff home that we won’t be needing for the rest of the trip. Yep, thrilling stuff.
The day after Hayden ran around trying to soak up as much as he could with our stay in London coming to an end. Mitch and I went to The London Dungeon. It was so much fun! The Dungeon is basically a thriller walking tour that is interactive, goes for about two hours and goes through the history of London, such as the fire, and different stories including Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. The tour also ends with a 10 metre drop, set as a hanging.
After being ‘hanged’ Mitch and I had lunch in St James park before heading over to The Clink, an old prison that’s now a museum telling it’s history and showing different torture weapons and acts. We both found it super interesting with facts and stories on the walls along with the torture weapons able to be touched and sat in.
Finally, we spent our last day at Hampton Court Palace. It was massive and unfortunately we ran out of time. What we were able to see though was incredible. The kitchens were huge, the chapel was beautiful, and now has a candle for my great grandparents, the apartments were also beautiful but the gardens were so, so pretty. It’s amazing to imagine that people got to live there.
So as I said, London was good but not for me. My advice for London; get an oyster card, go to Brick Lane and barter for food and spend at least one day relaxing in a park.