Being a Tourist in London

April 2010 - London, United Kingdom

When I was still living in Dubai, I got assigned to do a 2 week training in our Bristol Office. I was travelling by myself so I had two weekends to explore. The first weekend I went on a day trip to Bath and on the next weekend I went to London.

Good thing I have a childhood friend who was living in London for quite a long time so I've had some company and he was able to show me around.

I took a train from Bristol Temple Meads on a Friday afternoon and headed to London.

Train to London

Touristy Things to See in London

London is indeed filled with so much things to see and quite overwhelming especially for first timers like me. I think I was more excited to be in this city rather than seeing what it actually is. I didn't plan anything at all for this short weekend trip. I've had such a limited time and so I let my friend sort it out for me.

1. The Buckingham Palace

I believe everyone who would travel to London would not miss to visit the Royal Palace. I was lucky enough that on the day my friend took me here, The Ceremony of the Changing of the Palace Guards was taking place. 

The British Royal Guard

A huge crowd gathers around the Buckingham Palace waiting for the parade to start.

2. The Victoria Memorial 

Just across the palace is a monument dedicated to Queen Victoria. Londoners sometimes refer to it as the "Wedding Cake" monument because of its tiered shape.

There are a lot of statues surrounding the memorial. I didn't realise each and every one of them symbolises something until I did this blog and done some research. 

One of the Bronze Group Statues representing 'Progress' where a young Greek athlete is holding a torch.

The Naval and Military Power statue surrounding the Memorial.

The Art and Science Group Statue on the other side of the Memorial

Other sea creatures such as mermaids, mermen can be seen on the outside surface of the enclosing wall.

3. St. James Park

Perhaps one of my favourite parks of all time, this Royal Park is just a short walking distance from the Palace.

It was such a beautiful day to stroll around this park. I have been told I was lucky that the sun was finally out on that day.

4. The Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament

Since I only had a limited time, I decided to skip the tour to go inside these iconic places.

The Big Ben

Houses of Parliament

Western Facade of Westminster Abbey

5. The London Eye

I chose to get in this massive ferris wheel to have a good bird's eye view of the city. The view from the top was absolutely gorgeous. Since this is a popular attraction, the queue was very long and you would have to wait patiently for your turn as the wheel turns really slow you wouldn't actually feel it moving.

The passenger capsule is actually huge there is enough room for at least 25 people people to fit in and move around. This is quite similar to the Singapore Flyer.

One of the tallest observation wheels in the world, the London Eye gives you a great view of the city from above.

View of the River Thames from above

6. Tower of London and the Tower Bridge

One of UNESCO's World Heritage site, this is a very informative site to learn about London's rich history.  

There were a lot of towers inside, some of it were under construction when we got there. And inside every tower are museums. Some have separate entrance fees.

At some point, you can also catch a few short plays being performed by the local actors dressed in Medieval costumes on the fields.

Just right outside of the Tower is the Tower Bridge. I actually thought this was the popular London Bridge.

Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge all lit up at night

On a separate trip, I actually did go to London Bridge. It was really nothing special after all. 

7. King's Cross Station (For Harry Potter Fanatics)

When I met my friend at King's Cross Station, he was insisting to take a photo of me on one of the train tracks. I was confused why it was such an attraction when it only looks like an ordinary train station. Then he explained to me that it was the actual train station used in the Harry Potter Movies. I had to laugh and apologise that I have never seen any of the Harry Potter movies!

King's Cross Station

8. London Theatres

London offers some of the world's best theatre, from world-famous musicals to West End shows and cutting edge plays. On my another trip to London, I was able to watch Oliver! It was such a memorable experience that actually got me into watching musical plays.

9. London Icons

Some more things that makes me think of London.

The Red Telephone Box

The Underground

The London Red Bus

This was my short touristy trip to London. Literally felt like a tourist going around. Two days was quite not enough but I'm glad I have seen these famous landmarks this beautiful city is well renowned for.