A few weeks ago after a 28 hour flight, I finally touched down in the UK and was greeted with a beautifully sunny day with crisp Autumn air (hooray!)… my boyfriend handed me an oyster card and a tube map and I was ready to go exploring!
I think I have walked the equivalent of Sydney to Forster in my first couple of weeks in London and I’ve got all the photos to prove it! I thought I would do a little show and tell of what I’ve been up to, however I’ve had to split my camera roll in two or else you’d be here all day – Part 1 will be London attractions and Part 2 will be the foodie extravaganza!
So here is London – The Attractions Edition…
Charles Petillon “Heartbeat” Installation
To prevent myself from falling asleep by lunchtime on my first day, I headed out to visit the Heartbeat balloon installation in the infamous Covent Garden. The huge white balloons were tightly strung together and pulsated in the breeze just light a heartbeat. In addition to the abundance of balloons, there were also an abundance of Shaun the Sheep standing guard of the installation!
Tate Britain is a must see for any architecture buffs – the geometry of the rotunda roof, the intricate curved tiling and the spiral stairwell are quite amazing! The art is also obviously beautiful too!
London Eye & Big Ben
After I explored the Tate Modern I kept walking along the Southbank and ran into the London Eye with Big Ben poking out in the background. I sat down in the Jubilee Gardens with an ice-cream and took advantage of the amazing sunshine and stunning London view!
Rugby World Cup
I was lucky enough to get to London in time for the Rugby World Cup and went along to the Australia Vs Uruguay game – the atmosphere was fantastic and at one stage I was surrounded by Aussies which made me feel like I was right at home! (I think we’ve already scared off the people at our local pub with our ‘Aussie rugby enthusiasm’!).
I hit Oxford Street to visit the shops and cringed at the terrible exchange rate (which clearly wasn’t bad enough to prevent me from taking bags of clothes and shoes home!). I also walked past Liberty’s and got an obligatory photo at the flower stand and also got lost in the Selfridges homewares department which is full of Scandinavian homewares (danger zone!).
Cycling in Hyde Park
If you are in London, you have to hire a Boris bike and go for a ride as you’ll see so much more than if you’re on the Underground tube. The Boris bikes (named after the Mayor of London) can be picked up and dropped off all around London but if you don’t want to brave the roads then you can do a relaxing loop around Hyde Park or Regent Park.
Columbia Flower Markets
The Columbia Flower Markets are open on Sunday and so we thought we would go for a stroll. Unfortunately I think we got there a little late because the market was so jam packed full of people that my boyfriend aborted mission about three steps into the market and go searching for a coffee instead. However that didn’t stop me from getting sucked up into the crowd in search of some peonies. I emerged with two huge bunches which I picked up for £10 which I thought was a steal!
Whilst not exactly London, I also took a quick trip to Brighton for the day with one of my friends (whilst it is 85km away, it only takes 50 minutes to get there from London!). Brighton is exactly as I imagined – candy coloured beach huts, the Brighton Pier and windows full of chocolate sculptures at Choccywocky-Doo-Dah. We set up a picnic blanket on the ‘beach’ but the pebbly back massage didn’t feel that relaxing – I think the deck chairs are a much better option!
So that’s my first couple of weeks of London attractions in a nutshell – I’ve always been to London to see friends so it’s being nice playing tourist and really exploring this city! Pop back in a few days to see all the delicious food that I’ve been munching on (and the reason why I now understand the term ‘Heathrow Injection’).