Things to See When Visiting London, Part II


View from South Bank

Part II has taken me a bit longer than planned. It seems January isn’t really inspiring me to leave the house or encourage guests much!

1. Starting off at Trafalgar Square, you can head into St. Martin in the Fields, where you can do brass rubbings in the crypt.

2. Next up, it’s England, so you have to have tea. While many of the hotels serve high tea, it’s very pricey, so if you’re willing to embrace something a bit less formal while still sconetacular, here are a few suggestions for a casual tea:

Treats in the Window at Bea's

Tea isn’t just about tea. It’s also about scones, clotted cream, jam, and if you’re a tea overachiever, it may mean finger sandwiches and pastries too. Tea overachievement should be reserved for when you don’t have dinner plans.

Liberty

3. Liberty of London: Founded in 1975, this very traditional, yet trendy department store is housed in a Tudor building constructed from timber which had previously constructed two ships, the HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan. (Needless to say, I was surprised to learn this from a sales associate last time I was there!). Liberty is filled with tiny rooms of beautiful things, and it has a mighty haberdashery section, which may be why I consider it a place I would have liked very much to take my grandmaman, but at the same time, it would please my trendiest friend.

4. Ride a London Bus – First seats, Upper deck:  One really can’t come to London without riding a double decker bus. Even if you don’t want to listen to the Smiths the whole time, it’s the most cost efficient way to see London at £2.20 cash or around a pound on your Oyster Card. If sightseeing is your goal, try to board where the route starts, as this will make snagging one of the front seats on the upper desk much easier.

View of Oxford Circus from the 55 bus

My vote for choicest routes and the sights you’ll see:

1. The number 11: picks up behind Liverpool Street Station:

  • Bank of England
  • St. Pauls
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Big Ben
  • Parliament
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Victoria Station Area
  • King’s Road, Chelsea

Alternatively, you can take the 9 or the 15, both of which have “heritage routes” on which the old Routemaster buses run. The heritage routes are abbreviated routes, focused in central London

2. The 15 starts at Tower Hill, next to the Tower of London:

  • St. Pauls
  • Trafalgar Square

3. The 9 goes from High Street Kensington to Trafalgar Square:

  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Harrods: The food hall is dreamy, and the customer service throughout is fantastic.
  • Hyde Park
  • Green Park
  • Picadilly, and Picadilly Circus
  • Trafalgar Square

5. A walk around Hyde Park’s Serpentine:

The Serpentine in Summer

My love of walking around the token, big grassy space in a city may be due to living in major cities for the last 16 years, but I really do enjoy it.

If it’s Christmas time, the Hyde Park Christmas Fair runs through the month of December, and is worth a visit as well. This picture was taken in the summer which is probably the best time to go, weatherwise. There’s a nice little cafe at the eastern end where you can sit outside and have a drink, or there are plenty of folding lawn chairs for rent all around the lake.

*Special thanks to my friend Elisabeth, during whose recent visit a number of these pictures were taken.

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