I touched down at Gatwick Airport in the early morning and my first thought was, “OMG I AM IN THE LAND OF SPICE GIRLS!” Embarrassing truth: The day I found out Geri Halliwell was leaving the most iconic pop group of the 90’s was the first time I experienced heartbreak. 💔 Just picture an 8 year old Jessica singing Viva Forever while crying on her bedroom floor clutching onto all five of the Spice Girl dolls.
Anyway, back to my trip to London (lol).
After a 6 hour flight from Toronto I checked into The Royal National Hotel, a HUGE hostel near Russell Square Station. I was a little nervous to stay at the hostel since I had no idea who my roommates would be and had to share a room with them, whether I liked it or not. In my two nights I got to know two wonderful ladies. One who was embarking on a European adventure (like myself!) and one who just finished. Sharing a room with a stranger isn’t as awkward as you may think, perhaps I lucked out on having two amazing roomies but I loved getting to know both of them even if it was for a short period of time.
Kristina (a fellow Canadian!) was my roommate on the first night in London. Her and I took the tube to Hyde Park for their Christmas market and oh my god, THE MARKET WAS MASSIVE! The entire area was filled with shopping, rides, mulled wine, and live music. We discovered a Carousel Bar where we spent most of our time that evening.
The best part of Europe during the holiday season? CHRISTMAS LIGHTS GALORE! The below photo is only a fraction of lights that were displayed throughout the city (this one was located in Hyde Park). Oxford Street was also a favourite of mine when it came to Christmas lights, it was like walking through a mesmerizing dream.
The next day I woke up and made a B-line toward Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross. I’ve seen many people on Instagram take pictures of the famous wall to Hogwarts so obviously, I had to get one for myself.
“Just do a little bit of a run if you’re nervous.”
After getting back from Hogwarts, I went straight to Buckingham Palace. It’s as grand and beautiful in person as it is on postcards. Can I please casually stroll into each of the 775 rooms? Do you think there’s a bowling alley in there somewhere? Or a McDonalds? Probably.
Around lunch time I got myself some fish & chips (with all the sauces) and sat outside on a park bench facing the London Eye, the world’s largest observation wheel. Not a bad spot to relax, nibble on some food, and do some people watching.
After lunch I crossed a bridge to make my way to Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster. I won’t go into detail on how lost I got getting there, more times than I would like to admit. I was trying to make my way from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben but ended up on the complete opposite side of the city. To make it easy for yourself just hop on the subway and go to Westminster Station.
BTW the tube cars in London are tiny, like one person standing room type of small. The stations also have a ton of stairs to walk in and out of the tube so wear comfortable shoes when exploring the city and travel during off-peak hours, the fare is cheaper and you actually have room to breathe.
Want to see my London trip come to life? Watch my vlog below!