England: London, Part 2

Part 1 here.

I wasn’t long in London before I realised there is a hell of a lot to do and see in this city, and it’s one of those places where you could spend a month trekking around and still have stuff left to see. I planned my days geographically, as the place is so big to be running from one end of town to the other.

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Covent Garden, which is where I bought the pie from, always has loads of buskers and street performers around the square. This guy bounced around on one foot while he juggled machetes. Respect.

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Fortunately a number of the attractions, or landmarks, are quite close to each other. You can see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Churchill War Rooms, 10 Downing street all within a couple of hours as they’re near each other.

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Below is the entrance to 10 Downing street. I wasn’t able to take a casual stroll inside.

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Just take the tube to Westminster station and you pop out right in the middle of one of the biggest tourist locations in Europe.

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You can see the London eye from here, too. I didn’t ride on it as it was 35 pounds or something. I actually left a few things from my visit this time as I’ll be going back to London in a couple of months for a few days.

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Every time I rode the tube I imagined that I was playing a real life game of Monopoly.

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This is King’s Cross station. It was of special interest to me, a Harry Potter fan since childhood, as this is where Platform 9 3/4 is located. Above is the actual shooting location between platforms 4 and 5, and below is a spot they’ve set up for tourists to get photos (I’ll try get one next time as the line was too big both times I walked past to sway my patience).

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There’s also a Harry Potter shop there. I only spend 60 pounds…

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St Pancras station. This is where I arrived from The Netherlands. It’s right next to King’s Cross, and is a pretty impressive building; it definitely rivals some of the train stations I saw in Moscow. This is where J K Rowling got her inspiration for the station written about in the books.

I went one day to visit Abbey Road, the famous crossing where the cover for the Beatles album of the same was shot.

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Not a perfect shot, but the best I got. Taking a shot in the day time is a bit of a challenge, as the crossing is obviously still functioning as an actual crossing and you have to combat drivers who get SUPER pissed off when you stand in the middle of the road, as well as not having 10 other people trying to do the same thing, or having cars around you everywhere. This was taken by someone who was there for the same reason, and I got talking to her and her friends.

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Turns out they were from Germany and visiting London on a busking trip. I hung out with them for the afternoon, drank some pints and watched them do their thing in the middle of Camden high street which was rad.

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My friends and I caught up with a bunch of other Kiwis and went and watched the All Blacks smash the Wallabies. Good times.

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Now, this one has been on my list for some time. Since I read about this on a coffee blog, I’ve always wanted to drink a coffee in an old English street toilet.

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These guys have converted the loo into a cafe which provides a somewhat unique setting, and they serve good coffee to boot. It’s not far from Oxford street.

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A photogenic London street, but also the film location for 12 Grimmauld Place 😉

For a good walking day trip, I took the tube into town and then walked towards Millennium bridge, over the other side then down the South Bank towards the Tower Bridge.

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Shot from Millennium bridge across the water. That triangular building is the Shard, and reminds me of a certain hotel in North Korea…

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South Bank is home to a number of buskers and markets and has quite a sweet vibe to it. Busking is so popular and such a part of the culture that they organise special spots and rules on the South Bank.

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Above is the shooting location for The Leaky Cauldron in the later Harry Potter films, but is also in the centre of the Borough Markets, not far from the south bank waterfront and a good place to get some lunch.

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The bridge was another one of those spots I’ve seen loads of in films etc and had always wanted to see in person.

The day after my trip to the South Bank, I flew to go and see a friend I met in Vietnam at his home town in Ireland. I’ve still got a few things to do in London, including:

  • Tour Warner Studios (all booked out the whole time I was there as it was school holidays)
  • See a Premier League football match
  • See the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

So the plan is to be back in October. I liked London, I’m not sure if I could live there but there’s a reason why it’s one of the most visited cities in the world. ‘Till next time!

– Damo

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