It’s been a month since I came home from London but I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it actually happened… and that I managed to go on that trip all by myself! I love travelling solo but I don’t get a lot of opportunities to do it since I always travel with my family. Don’t get me wrong, travelling with other people is also nice, but sometimes I just want to explore a place at my own pace. And isn’t it nice when you’re able to chill at a park or read through all the museum exhibit’s descriptions without someone else bugging you to be quick about it?

Anyway, like my previous London trip, my itinerary was also largely unplanned because the whole vacation was planned around the Westlife concert. All I knew was that I wanted to visit new attractions, the ones that I didn’t get to see last year. I was supposed to just visit free attractions for this trip to save money, but the 10-day London Pass went on sale during the Easter holidays so I bought one and just chose the attractions I was going to visit based on the London Pass list XD

You can skip to specific parts of the post using the following links:

Day 1: Arrival

I arrived at Heathrow at 7 AM but got to my friend’s house at 10 AM. I didn’t have difficulty adjusting to the crazy timezone jump, thank goodness, so I just dropped off my stuff at the house, got changed, and went to my sister’s dorm to meet her for lunch.

I swear, I think I only ate the whole day. My sister and I stayed at this restaurant for nearly 2 hours and we just chatted all throughout. I don’t even remember the other stuff I did, or where I went after lunch. All I know is that I found myself in Camden later in the day, and had dinner at this Middle Eastern restaurant. Overall, I think Camden is a really fun and lively neighborhood. There’s lots of people no matter where you look and there’s so much going on, but it’s not overwhelming. I love it.

By the way, I’m not sure if it’s just Western culture, but I’ve encountered lots of chatty people during this trip (mostly males) who just approached me and talked to me out of nowhere. Lol it’s not that I don’t want to make friends, it’s just that this behavior of randomly talking to strangers is very… un-Asian, so I’m super cautious of my surroundings by default. I don’t really talk much about myself or give out my number to people I just met.

Thoughts?

Day 2: Tower Bridge and Greenwich

Now that I was rested, it was time to start seeing more of what London has to offer.

I started my day with the Thames River Cruise just so I could see the city from a different perspective. I got off at the Tower Millennium Pier to see the Tower Bridge up close.

I’ve only ever seen the Tower Bridge from afar, from the Tower of London. I didn’t know that tourists could go inside and learn more about the bridge. Oh, and I certainly didn’t expect to see THIS glass walkway!

I think I spent a long time just trying to get a good shot of me on this walkway!

I re-joined the River Cruise a few hours later and got off at Greenwich to see the Royal Observatory.

Can I just say, I LOVE Greenwich so much! It has a laid-back vibe and has lots of green spaces; it’s definitely my kind of neighborhood!

One of my favorite photos and moments of the trip! I very rarely get to hang out in places with lots of trees and grass 😍

Day 3: Mudchute, Greenwich, and Westlife!

I went to Mudchute Park & Farm in the morning to see some farm animals. But more than that, I heard that Mudchute Park & Farm houses some guinea pigs, and I wanted to see them and hear their little wheeks. I still miss my guinea pigs so much even though it’s been a while since they passed, so I really wanted to relive the experience of holding and feeding them. Unfortunately, the pet area was closed off for the day and the animals were being kept elsewhere, so I wasn’t able to see them. But it’s alright, at least I got to see and take pictures of the other animals!

My favorite out of all the animals I saw that day. He(?) was super nice and even let me pet him ❀️

I left Mudchute after a couple of hours to have lunch and I still had lots of time to spare after that, so I went back to Greenwich to see the Royal Maritime Museum.

All the exhibits were so interesting, but it’s a shame that I didn’t have enough time to read through every description. I left after a few hours and went to The O2… and this is what greeted me at the station!

This is one of the cutest Westlife tributes ever ❀️

I love that the concert stadium was packed! It was so energizing to see so many fellow fans in one venue singing along to our favorite band’s tunes! Oh, and for this concert I was seated very high up and far away from the stage because the tickets were so hard to come by and I couldn’t afford VIP seats. I don’t normally pick seats like these and I don’t derive much enjoyment from being seated so far, but for the first time I didn’t really mind. The only thing that was on my mind at that time was seeing Westlife, and experiencing that magical night with them. And that was enough.

I looove the production design for this concert! Look at those colors!
It was an amazing experience seeing them perform like this again. I’ve waited 8 years for this to happen!

After the concert, the station was pretty crowded so we had to wait quite a while to be able to get in. I think I got home at around 12 AM 😱 Kind of reminds me of Manila!

Day 4: Little Venice, Camden Town, Soccer Aid

All the singing, dancing, and screaming I did during the previous night’s concert wore me out, so I decided to start late for this day.

I started my day with a boat tour from Little Venice to Camden. It was a chilly day but I loved it. A sunny day would have been ideal, but something about the clouds and the light rain that day gave the place a calm and relaxing feel.

The boat tour ended at Camden Lock, which ended up being one of my favorite places during this trip. As I’ve mentioned before, I found the Camden area lively and fun, but this place was extra vibrant. I spent quite a while just looking around and sampling all the food that I could. It was such a lovely place.

While I was in the area, I also paid the Jewish Museum and the London Zoo a visit. No photos as usual, because I was too busy reading through everything XD

Later in the day, I rushed home to catch Soccer Aid on TV because Nicky Byrne, my favorite Westlife member, was playing as goalkeeper for the World XI team and I wanted to watch him play. Now, I’m not the biggest football fan (the Philippines is more of a basketball nation) and I’m not that familiar with the game’s rules and technicalities, but it was actually fun to watch and easy to follow ☺️

I’m glad I made time to watch it because they won… and Nicky did a great job 😍

Day 5: The touristy places

Now that the Westlife stuff were done, I had more time to visit the touristy places that I wasn’t able to see the last time I was in London!

I started my day by going to Westminster Abbey. I knew that it’s one of the most famous London attractions, but I seriously didn’t expect the long queue that greeted me at the entrance. Goodness.

Photography was prohibited inside the Abbey, so this is the only picture I have of Westminster Abbey XD

I thought it would get better in my next destination, Churchill War Rooms, but nope. I still queued for a loooong time (I think an hour?) just to be able to get in. But it was worth it! I learned so much about WW2 on this side of the world.

A peek into one of the underground rooms.
It’s so fascinating how people back then could fit in these small spaces! But I guess you learn to adapt to whatever’s given to you when you’re in the middle of a war!
The Map Room has got to be the most interesting – and action-packed – room in this underground facility. Tracking enemy movements must be a stressful but exciting job!

After visiting Churchill War Rooms, I headed to St. Paul’s Cathedral later in the day. Good thing I managed to get in shortly before the end of their admission time, but that meant I didn’t get to see much πŸ˜” I’ll probably come back next time so I can have a better look at the portions I breezed through!

Ah, I can just imagine being in the choir and singing in such a beautiful cathedral. What a dream.

It was still too early to go home after I finished looking around though, so I decided to go to The Shard to see a nice city view. I was supposed to do this on another day, but at that moment I figured that I should take advantage of the good weather while it lasted since London weather is so unpredictable!

Now THIS is a great view! I thank the weather for being super cooperative!
There’s the Tower Bridge!
It’s so hard to take photos of yourself when travelling solo. Luckily, I encountered nice people who were more than willing to help me take a nice shot!

Day 6 and 7: More museums and meeting Chynna

For the next two days, all I did was go to museums, specifically museums that I’ve always wanted to visit.

I’ve actually gone to The British Museum before, but I only stayed there for a couple of hours since we were always rushing to meet my sister and help her with stuff. But now that she’s settled and attending classes, I had the whole day to myself.

But even though I had so much time to explore, I still wasn’t able to see everything. I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take to see it all. The whole place was huge! I think I spent half of my whole visit just roaming around the Greek exhibit rooms!

The next day, I went to the London Transport Museum. This has got to be one of my favorite museums because I’m highly interested in transportation and how it shapes an urban space. I loved seeing the evolution of the public transport system in the city, complete with exhibits of old vehicles! I wish we could have something like this in Metro Manila.

The word “bus” came from the word “omnibus” (Latin word for “for all”). This is one of the earliest buses used in the city.
Can you imagine riding a horse-drawn bus? We’ve come a long way since then!

One of the old London Underground carriages.
The posters they display in the stations can also say a lot about a city’s history and culture because they don’t just contain information and announcements, but also significant historical events. During WW1 and WW2, posters were even used to encourage men to enlist.

I still had lots of time on my hands before my dinner with Chynna so I decided to pay a visit to the Imperial War Museum while waiting. While I was there, I wished I had gone earlier because it was so engrossed in all the exhibits. There was so much detail that you can spend hours in there and not notice anything else. For instance, I read through THE WHOLE WW1 EXHIBIT… and ended up not having enough time to explore the other parts!

This is what you’ll see when you enter the Imperial War Museum. So cool!

I went to our meetup place after a few hours and FINALLY met Chynna in person! When I first saw her, I felt like I was meeting an old friend, not meeting someone for the first time. I felt a connection right away, and it helped that she knew so much about Filipino pop culture! XD At some points in our conversations, I actually felt like she knew more than I did!

Oh, and we had so much fun that we forgot to take a photo together at the restaurant. LOL! We only remembered when we were about to part ways… and even looked for a nice, neutral-colored selfie background while we were at it! XD

Now I can’t wait to see Chynna again!

Day 8: Kew and Baker Street

For this day, I left early to go toΒ Kew Gardens. I haven’t gone to a botanical garden in years, and the weather was amazing so I figured it would be the best time to go.

But… it wasn’t. You see, it started getting cloudy and even drizzled in the middle of the day, so it kind of ruined the mood. Then, before I knew it, it was warm again. Thank goodness for greenhouses – the temperature was pretty much stable inside those things! πŸ˜‚

The Palm House from the outside.
The Temperate House, my favorite place in the whole Kew Gardens area!
I thought that Kew Gardens merely showcased plants from all over the world, but it turns out that they’re also doing conservation work! That’s definitely amazing!

I think I stayed there for quite some time, I don’t really recall. All I know is that I took my sweet time taking in the sights and admiring nature. *sigh* Why can’t we have nice things back home?

I was supposed to go straight home after leaving Kew Gardens, but my boyfriend asked for some Beatles souvenirs (he’s a huge fan of the band)… and I knew just where to get them.

My accommodation was actually near Baker Street, where the London Beatles Store was. But even though I lived nearby, I never really bothered to explore the area. I know, I know. I feel bad now. Anyway, while I was in the area, I also dropped by the Royal Academy of Music Museum to check out some old musical instruments that my brother would be CRAZY about, and also to get some music books ❀️

My brother plays the violin, so he was so amazed when he saw this workshop full of old violins!

Day 9: West End surprise and a picnic

I planned to wake up early and spend the whole day buying souvenirs and packing, but I realized that didn’t have much to pack so I was done with everything before lunch. I didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the day so I booked a Harry Potter tour later that afternoon.

I was a bit out of sorts that time though, so I arrived late at the meetup point at Leicester Square… and missed the tour. The sun was still high up and it was too early to go home, so my sister said that if I wanted, we could have a picnic at St. James’s Park instead. While I was walking to the park, I heard a familiar song in the distance. I followed the sound and found that I walked straight into Trafalgar Square, where actors were rehearsing for West End Live!Β I love musical theatre and I’ve only ever seen videos of West End Live performances, so it was surreal for me to actually witness actors performing my favorite show tunes right in front of me!

I swear I got teary-eyed when they rehearsed One Day More. It will always be my favorite Les Miserables song!
Defying Gravity is a good song, but the best song (and moment) of Wicked for me will always be For Good.
I wasn’t able to catch The Waitress during its Manila run, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the West End cast perform some of the songs from the show. I already love the songs I heard, and now I’m hoping for another season in Manila!

My sister arrived at St. James’s Park after a few hours and we had a nice little picnic. We rarely hung out by ourselves when we were younger because we were always fighting πŸ˜‚ We still get on each other’s nerves occasionally, but things have gotten better as we grew older πŸ˜…

We actually didn’t notice the time because we were having lots of fun just exchanging stories – and because the sky was still so bright at 8:30 PM! πŸ˜… But, well, it was a nice ending to my stay in London. I never thought picnics could be this enjoyable!

I wish that my brother could come with me the next time I visit my sister; now that I think of it, the three of us have never hung out together without our parents!


Well, that wraps up my London trip! It still feels surreal that I was able to do all of this in such a short time. It felt so good writing this entry and reliving my adventures, but at the same time, it’s making me miss the UK even more!

12 thoughts on “London 2019!

  1. Brandy says:

    I’m so jealous. London has always been on my bucket list and I’ll get over there one of these days. Looks like an awesome trip. I was never a big fan of Westlife, shockingly, but I did like most of the other boy bands in my teen years.

    1. Claudine says:

      Ahh I do hope you get to visit London soon! It’s such a beautiful and exciting city. Definitely one of my favorite cities ❀️

  2. Chynna says:

    I am so happy that you love Camden. It is one of my favourite areas in London! RE: Chatty people – tbh, Londoners aren’t usually chatty people but when it comes to guys and pretty girls. That’s a whole different story. And dayum girl, you fine πŸ˜‰ I haaaaate guys approaching me at the bus stop and asking for my number. I get so uncomfortable but I don’t feel safe enough to say no, so I give a fake number and hope that they don’t call it right then and there LOL.

    Haha, I did the same touristy stuff you did when Tara came to visit! We also had the London Pass. 😝 Also, wow – that London Routemaster bus certainly brought back a ton of memories! I remember being able to still catch the bus even if it has left the bus stop because the back end is open. Can’t do that anymore, lol. Also, our weather here is so up and down. I can’t take it sometimes, haha.

    I am so glad you had so much fun in my hometown πŸ˜› I can’t wait to see you again, girl!

    1. Claudine says:

      HAHA OMG, so that happened to you too?! Isn’t it so weird? Good thing I don’t have a UK number or WhatsApp or Facebook or anything, so I didn’t feel the need to give any sensitive info away!

      It was so fascinating to know that the old buses had open rear platforms! I felt like it would be dangerous to have that, but apparently people loved that… er, “feature” XD

      I’ll see you again, for sure! ❀️

  3. Michelle says:

    OMG, London would be such a dream destination to visit! ^^ God, you did a lot too!

    1. Claudine says:

      It’s a great place, I’m sure you would enjoy it too πŸ˜‰

  4. Mai says:

    It looks like you had an amazing time in London and each day was packed with so many activities! The only time I went to London was back in 2012 and I think I’m overdue for another visit!

    Mai
    ✰ maidoesthings.com

    1. Claudine says:

      It really was an amazing trip! I hope you get to visit London again soon 😊

  5. Sakura says:

    Wow the luthier workshop looks interesting. I play the violin too and love to see the luthier workshop in real life.

    Congrats on your solo trip. It certainly looks fun and I’m glad that you enjoyed it!

    1. Claudine says:

      Oh my, I thought of you too when I saw this workshop! I didn’t know how to distinguish between different types of violins, but I found it fascinating regardless 😊

  6. Kenny says:

    It sounds like you had a great time in London. πŸ™‚

    And, yes, it is very un-Asian to talk to someone for no reason. Whenever I see two strangers talk, I’m like “That’s weird,” and at the same time I wish I could do it. It’s easier with like cashiers and stuff, not so much some random girl eating potato salad next to you. :p

    1. Claudine says:

      Haha this is so true! I don’t ever talk to strangers randomly too. I guess I really just take the concept of personal space by heart!

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