Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chilling in London, UK

So, let us continue my short trip stories. This time, we're heading to London, UK!

We spent 5 days in London. It was really nice since the weather was really hot and sunny! A real summer treat. The weather certainly made it easy to get around.


Anyway, we arrived at St. Pancras International Station around 9 PM. We exited, head to the underground, subway, tube (whatever you want to call it). Bought our Oyster Cards, and made way to Castle and Elephant station where our hostel is situated. It's such pity that London doesn't have any daily passes. They do have Travel Cards but the price is expensive since it includes museums and places of attractions if I'm not mistaken. Oyster card is really like Touch n Go cards in Malaysia. You have to top it up every time the balance runs out. But I only knew when we got to Manchester from our friend that the if you use the Oyster card more than 6 times in one day, after the 6th time it's FREE. Me and my brother were wondering why our balance didn't get deducted after a while. We still had £3 in our Oyster Card!

Le me at St. Pancras International Station

Once we arrived at Elephant and Castle, we had to walk along New Kent Rd. for about 10 minutes before we reached the hostel. We stayed at Hostel Rest Up London. It's a completely new hostel. Some things were still under renovations. Our rooms were at the top most! Keep in mind, the hostel has no lift! So we had to carry our bags up to our room. It was exhausting! I had a flashback of Lisbon in mind.. The room was okay, small and very basic, but comfortable. Wish they provide a table though.

We just spent the night resting, since we were just too exhausted.


We didn't wake up too early. Since we had 5 days in London, I didn't want to rush anything. I just want to enjoy the time. Plus my feet and ankle aches.

By the time we step out from the hostel, it was already afternoon. We missed the 11 AM Free Tour, AND we're definitely missing the 1 PM tour as well.

So I just shuffled the itinerary. We went to Kensington Garden first instead. We boarded the underground and got down at Queensway station. We walk through the park, checking out the lake full of swans, geese and ducks and the Kensington Palace.

Swans, geese and ducks all around us!

 Kensington Palace

Pictures and notes were hanged on the gate in memory of the late Princess Diana

Then we walked along Kensington Road to check out Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial. Next on the itinerary is I want to check out Harrod's. So we walked towards Brompton Road where Harrod's is situated. I must say, I was very intimidated when I entered the store. Everything was so luxurious and of course expensive. There was no sale while we were there. It was such a pity. I had a chance to use the toilet though. The toilet was very exclusive and they even had free perfumes!! Nice~

 Royal Albert Hall

Albert Memorial

Special parking space? 


After wandering around Harrod's, we made our way to Hard Rock Cafe. We were tired of walking, so we rented the Barclay's public bicycles! They charge you £1 for rental, then it's free for 30 minutes. Just scan in your credit/debit card and you bicycle is ready to use! Our Maybank Debit Card was in good use! You can ask people around how to rent a bicycle. It pretty easy actually, but you can't really understand the instructions if no one is there to help you out. Luckily for us, the Olympic volunteers were around to help us rent the bikes. So we took the bike from Hyde Park Corner, rode if for about 20 minutes and find the bike's parking nearby Hard Rock Cafe. There's a map on the machine showing where's the bikes' parking are located. You have to park them before 30 minutes or they'll charge you another £1. I can't really explain in details here. Just try and google them if you want to find out more about it! ;)

Riding the bicycle! 

Royal Air force memorial at Green Park (it's opposite the Hard Rock Cafe)

Hard Rock Cafe, London

So then, we took photos in front of HRC and bought some souvenirs.

Later we took the bike again, and thought of parking it outside Green Park station, but the parking was full, so we rode again until we found another parking with space at somewhere between Dover and Strattford Street if I'm not mistaken. Almost hit a car too because we were rushing! =S But we reached before 30 minutes. Phew~!

Then we decided to walk to Piccadilly Circus station. We stopped by for lunch at one Japanese Restaurant. They weren't that good though. When we reached Piccadilly Circus, it was not in the plan at all that we might bumped into Ripley's Believe It or Not! I didn't know it was here but since we were already here, and Ripley's Believe It or Not is in the itinerary, might as well just go in.. So we explored through Ripley's and by the time we got out, it was already dark.

Entrance to Ripley's Believe it or Not! 

M&M's World!

Then we walked to M&M's world, just browsing through and window shopped. Didn't buy anything though. After taking pictures at M&M's world, we decided to head back to the hostel. We stopped by a halal vendor nearby Elephant & Castle and bought burgers for dinner.

That's our first day in London. Another adventure awaits tomorrow.


Today we woke up late again, but I make sure we step out just in time for the Sandeman's Free Tour. When we arrived at Hyde Park Corner, the tour hasn't started. Thank God! They were still waiting for people. After about 15 minutes, the start the tour. Our tour guide was Sonya. She was really cool and funny! We didn't walk around the whole London. Mostly just within the Westminster City, but it was really fun! I think it's the best Free Tour I have ever been to!

Waiting for the tour to start

At Green Park on the way to Buckingham Palace. In memory of the countries that helped Britain during World War II. 

 Buckingham Palace

 The famous British guards! 

Trafalgar Square

 Another picture with the guards!

 The women of World War II

Westminster Abbey

With Sonya!

After the Free Tour, we followed Sonya to a pub and had Fish&Chips for lunch. We didn't order any alcohol and got looks from the bartender. Hee, sorry mate. We don't drink. I just gave a huge smile and ordered Coke. ;P During lunch, Bro decided he wanted to join the Grim Reaper tour, also hosted by Sandeman. So we bought tickets, I still have my ISIC, so I got £2 discount. I didn't know Bro still have his student card, if not, he could've gotten £2 discount as well. I didn't thought he'd still have it after graduated 2 years. Didn't even thought of asking.

After lunch, we made our way back to the Westminster Abbey. Took more photos of the gorgeous building, another with St. Stephen's Tower (a.k.a Big Ben Tower) and along Westminster bridge with The London Eye at the background. By that that it was almost 5 PM, so we decided to make our way to Tower Hill station since the Grim Reaper tour will start at 6PM.

Spot the Jalur Gemilang! at Parliament Square

 Apple-plum in London!

 The Parliament

The London Eye

We arrived at Tower Hill station and saw a lot of people gathering around the Sun Dial, right outside the station. And we saw the Sandeman's tourguides as well. By 6:15 PM, the tour started, and we were brought through the dark times of London. I especially loved the stories about Jack the Ripper, and following through the streets where he committed the murders, were very interesting indeed!

History of London around the Sun Dial

Please don't mistake them as the London bridge. 

St. Catherine's Dock

London's Alleyway. Where Jack the Ripper used to commit his crimes. Erk. =S

Cool street name...

The tour ended about 9 PM, so me and Bro made our way back to the hostel. We didn't ate dinner this night because the fish and chips kept us full the whole day!


We're going to Madame Tussaud's wax museum today!

Once we were ready and out, we stopped by Tesco beside Elephant and Castle underground station and bought breakfast. Then we took the underground to Baker Street Station.

 Recognize that?


We searched for a park nearby, and had our breakfast there. Almost like a picnic. It was a Sunday, a sunny Sunday in fact! So there were a lot of families in the park, plus a lot of activities were going on.

Anyway, before heading to Madame Tussaud's after breakfast, we passed by Sherlock Holmes Museum and decided to stop and check the place out. It was really cool! I think we paid £6 each for the tickets.

 In front of Sherlock Holmes Museum

Inside the Museum

Sherlock Holmes Statue outside the Baker Street Underground Station

Then we made our way to Madame Tussaud's. There were too many people!! But it's a Sunday, so figured. The ticket price was madness! I didn't expect it to be THAT expensive, but everyone visited Madame Tussaud in London, so I want to know what's the commotion too! Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy my time at Madame Tussaud, but I felt the money could have gone to visit the Buckingham Palace. Don't really know which one would be more interesting though. I would've regretted not visiting Madame Tussaud too I think.

Celebrities section. Me hugging Zac Efron! =P 

 With the Royal Family

The Superheroes section. HELP!

Anywayyyy... After Madame Tussaud, Bro wanted to check out Arsenal Emirates Stadium. So we took the underground to Arsenal Station.

Arsenal Emirates Stadium

It's really funny where the stadium is located. It's like in a housing area. I mean, can you imagine your house just the opposite of a football stadium?! People who have houses there must feel really lucky! Or lousy, seeing the place will be jammed pack and noisy during football season.

After taking pictures and enjoying the view of the stadium, we went back to Piccadilly Circus station to buy some souvenirs. After shopping, we walked along Reagent Street to find the Malaysia Flag! Didn't do any shopping along Reagent Street though, because all the shops are closed. :'(

 Picadilly Circus 

Jalur Gemilang at Reagent Street!

Then it was getting too cold, so we decided to head back to the hostel.


Today's our last day in London! How time flies by!

We woke up early today, checked out, kept our bags in the store room, and made our way to the Natural History Museum.

In front of the Natural History Museum

We arrived at the Museum around noon. The entrance fee is FREE by the way! Most museums in London are free!

We spent about 3-4 hours there. We didn't get to explore the whole Museum though and we didn't check out the temporary exhibition about "animals: inside out" which costs £9. Bro had a great time! Because most of the things in there are geological stuffs. He said if there was something like this while he was studying, it would've made geology course much more interesting!

 Bro examining the rock

I thought this part of the museum was really cool! We get to go through the Earth's core!


Earth Lab

Me amazed at the stones!


I had a great time too, though my favourite is the "Diamonds are forever" section. Bro on the other hand was really enjoying his time there, he lingers around at EVERY SINGLE THING for so long, explaining to me about EVERYTHING!!

Bro wanted to check out Chelsea Stadium. So we went to check that out.

Chelsea Stadium!

Then, I wanted to spend more time at the Tower Bridge, since the day that we went there we were following the tour, and I felt like the pictures weren't enough. So we took the underground towards Tower Bridge. Spent some time taking picture and enjoying the view of the river.

 On Tower Bridge

 Me and bro with Tower Hill Prison at the background

Got down at London Bridge underground station just to take picture with the sign. =P

by 6 PM, we head back to our hostel to collect our luggage. Stopping by a halal restaurant for some burgers before heading to King's Cross Station. We got down at King's Cross Station to search for Platform 9¾. It's on the wall the moment you got out onto the station, just before you scan your tickets to board on the train. Just spin around, YOU CAN'T MISS IT!

So after taking some pictures at Platform 9¾, we made our way to Euston Station because our train takes off from Euston to Picadilly, Manchester. Eustion Station is right next to King's Cross. We arrived early, because we thought that searching for Platform 9¾ would take some time.

We spent about 1 hour at Euston, before boarding our train to Manchester at 10 PM.

Euston Train Station

That's our days spent in London. We hope to be able to visit London again. Maybe during Saddam's graduation. InsyaAllah. ;)

Goodbye London, till we meet again! Last stop, MANCHESTER!!!


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

We'll never forget Princess Diana.

What a great visit you had and a magnificent set of photos! You saw all the sights in London.

Anna Mohamed Amin said...

Princess Diana will always be in our hearts. :)

YUP! If there was time, I thought of visiting the British Museum too! My bf said he likes it better than Natural History Museum. Maybe next time. ;)

Sha Wbunny said...

" i envyy ya " (say this in british accents)

my time it was super cold & i didnt get to see everything. what a lucky girl Anna.

we should plan the trip to US soon :D

Anna Mohamed Amin said...

@Sha oh definitely!! Bila la nak dapat pergi NYC ni! We should ask Za too!! ^____________^