Hello! After visiting Royal Holloway University back in June, I decided that I loved being near London and haven’t explored the capital nearly as much as I’d liked to. To be fair, I do live on the other side of the country to London, but now I’m (almost) and adult, it’s much easier for me to travel. So, this summer I’ve been lucky enough to go to London twice – the first time to East London and the second to West London (hope you got that from the title lol).
Some of you may know that in July, London hosted the Parathletics World Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (built for the 2012 Olympics). My family and I love watching sport and as we hadn’t managed to get tickets for the Olympic Park during the 2012 games, we decided to go and watch some Parathletics, and the Olympic Park definitely lived up to it’s hype – the grounds are beautiful and the stadium itself and the atmosphere from the crowd during the Parathletics was magnificent!
As the Olympic Park is located in Stratford,East London, we drove past the East London Docklands – Canary Wharf – and through several areas of East London such as Poplar, Newham and Hackney. Whenever I’ve been to London before we’ve always stated in the centre in the tourist-y areas, so going to East London felt completely different. Although East London is considered to be the more deprived region of London, and many of the streets surrounding the bubble of the Olympic Park were covered in more graffiti than I’ve ever seen before in my life, I loved the feel of the region – it had character and after studying East London in geography, it was so interesting to actually see it first hand.
I really enjoyed the time we spent in East London although we didn’t venture far from the Olympic Park (other than when we were driving there and back). I’d definitely love to go back and explore more of the culture there!
After going to London for the Parathletics, I’d definitely caught the London bug and wanted more than anything to return to the city – I just love how it’s so vastly different in all the boroughs and regions and it’s so full of culture and life. So a few weeks ago me and my sister booked tickets with Megabus to go to London again for the day, but this time West London.
After waking up at 5:30 to get the bus at 6:30 then the Megabus itself at 8:15 (because they Megabus left from Bristol so we had to get to Bristol first) last Wednesday, we spent a lovely day in London exploring Chelsea, Westminster and Kensington. We’d never travelled without our parents before so it was a completely new experience, and it was a bit nervewracking, but I’m so proud of us for managing to navigate our way across West London as we walked from Victoria Coach Station to the Natural History Museum – an area we hadn’t been to for about 10 years.
We did get a little lost on the way there but we eventually arrived outside the stunning museum (I couldn’t get any good photos of the architecture though as there were so many trees in front of it!). There were huge queues for the entrance – and I mean huge I’d never seen so many people queuing for something! But we managed to find the back entrance which had a much shorter queue.
The museum was really interesting! Some bits I remembered from when I went years ago,like the human biology bit, but we went in a really cool exhibit about volcanoes and earthquakes (which kind of made me like geography a bit more) and everything space-y. We went in an earthquake simulator (where I attempted to film it but almost fell over when sorting out the camera because the floor started moving unexpectedly). It was set out like a Japanese supermarket and the lights went out and everything was shaking on the shelves, it was quite scary but having never been in an earthquake I’m not sure how realistic it was.
We also saw the blue whale skeleton which has replaced the diplodocus that had been in the main hall for years previously – it was really cool! We didn’t manage to look round the whole museum because it was HUGE, despite spending hours in there!
After we’d finished looking round, we had about an hour before we needed to head back to the coach station, so as it was sunny and hot we wandered down the road past Imperial College London into Hyde Park. We didn’t venture far into the park but it was so nice to sit in the shade by the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall and relax.
I think my favourite part of the day was walking back to the coach station, as we used Google maps to navigate our way and it took us a different way to we came in the morning. Honestly I felt a bit out of place because we were walking through what felt like a really posh area of London. I mean, there streets were lined with towering white houses with balconies covered with plants and flowers (a.k.a. what I imagine Paris to be like).
Also there were hotels with posh cars outside and chauffeurs. Not to mention we walked past Harrod’s which LOOKS LIKE AN ACTUAL PALACE (we had to look it up on Google maps because we couldn’t work out why there would be a palace in the middle of the highsteeet and then ofund out it was Harrod’s). All the shops were really posh too – I loved this Harvey Nichols window display with suticases with wings.
I was sad to leave the city behind at the end of the day but I was shattered after getting up so early and spend 8 hours in total traveling. However I was so impressed with the Megabus coach service,considering it’s so cheap! We also stopped off at Heathrow airport to pick people up on the way back and as I’d never been before I was overwhelmed by how huge it was! I was glad to get home at last and go to sleep but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in West London,which was so different in comparison to East London, but I enjoyed and loved both visits to the city just the same!
Have you been to London recently? Where’s your favourite place to go?