Our last destination in Great Britain was London. I knew before we even arrived in Great Britain, that 4.5 days wasn't quite enough to visit London properly, but we made our best of it and did a reasonable job, considering: we probably did in 4.5 days what other people do in 6 or 7 :)
Day 1 (half day)
We started early in York with a direct train to London:
Haha, no offence, but English trains are so far from matching Japanese trains
After arriving in London we dropped our luggage and went directly to Westminster Abbey. Very nice Abbey, but not only quite expensive to get in, and then to thank you for the good money you just spent, no pictures allowed inside (they used to be allowed apparently). Needless to say that, that didn't stop me, especially with the hefty entrance fee:
case in point...
We then headed to the parliament for self guided tour:
Next was the Churchill war rooms, a complex of underground rooms where most of the british high command, including Churchill, were bunkered during the war. Outside of the war, they had lots of information on Churchill's life:
Next, still, we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design. We saw half of it during a 4H visit during its extended hours (18:00 to 22:00).
It was a really interesting visit, despite half the museum being closed, which meant I had to go back a few days later. But wait, the day was not over yet, it was just about time for me to head over to the ministry of sound to go see andrew rayel who happened to be playing that night.
After not quite enough sleep, I got up and headed over to the British Museum, another awesome museum that kept me busy from open to close (10:00 to 17:30).
After the british museum, I went to check out Tate Modern. Honestly, except for the views from the top of the building, it was a bit of a waste:
Given the Tate Modern wasn't that good, I had just enough time to go to the theatre district and go catch a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I had mixed feelings about it. It was interesting in some ways, but boring and too long in others:
Jennifer spent the day with her friend Anna who came from nearby, given that they hadn't seen one another and she had already been to the british museum anyway.
theatre seats were also most small and uncomfortable
We started from our hotel and took a quick bus ride to the Sherlock Holmes museum. Honestly, we went because it was in the list of recommended things, but it was a waste for us since we haven't read the books:
people send him letters from around the world
Next door, beatles store:
We then walked to the free Wallace Collection, a very nice building with a great collection:
After a good tour of the Wallace Collection, we headed to London War Museum, which took much longer than I had planned, it's quite out of the way, but worth it for sure.
Once done, we headed back to the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. Barely had over an hour for both, but turned out to be just enough for me :)
Once we got kicked out at 18:00, we had just enough time to walk to Rodizio to get BBQ meats served at our table, and walk to our theatre for our evening show. That show was the play that goes wrong, a nice idea, but the theatre staff was a bunch of dicks and totally ruined our experience before we even got in, by trying to steal all the food we had in our backpacks, claiming we could not carry it in, or check the bags in, we just had to throw it out (which is actually not written anywhere in their terms and conditions):
The next morning, went to St Paul's Cathedral, because it opens early (08:30) while everyone else seems lazy in England/London and opens at 10:00 (a bit earlier if you're lucky). Very nice cathedral, interesting crypt with famous people burried there, and a cool climb to the top. For some reason another place that thought it would make sense to disallow pictures, sigh...
Next, we walked to the Tower of London, which thankfully was not too busy on a monday (some other days have stupid lines to get in). Interesting castle to visit, many displays:
got to see the other crown jewels
multiple tours and performances
they had beafeaters giving tours of the monument
Great views of the London Bridge from there:
the tower of london had a few pet ravens
Next, we went to the monument of the great london fire, lots of steps, but nice views from the top:
The museum of london was not far nearby, so we went there:
My plan was next to go to the British Library, which had extended opening hours on mondays, but just to screw with us, that did not include the famous room with all the manuscripts that we specifically went there to see. In other words, we went there for absolutely nothing, grr...
That evening, we then had a dinner at Google, and I got to see one of my schoolmates and friends
I started early by going to Tate Britain. It was all right, but nothing beyond that. Maybe worth 1H for me:
More things to see that day (on separate pages):
Next, I went back to the V&Albert Museum, where I had a lot left to see
the London Science Museum, which ended up taking a lot longer than I thought it would
The included the plane section of the museum
The science museum actually took the rest of my day, and I never made it to the nearby natural science museum, which had a stupid 1H+ line outside every time I looked at it. I guess it'll be for another time (and my understanding is that it take a full day to visit anyway). I just had enough time to meet Jennifer at the theatre where we went to see Matilda, a nice musical:
Since I have a fair amount of city view shots from bridges and higher buildings, I thought I'd put them all together, here:
City Views from bridges:
From higher up:
Day 6, trip home
Our last day was just a trip to the airport, and enjoy the indeed worth to visit Virgin Lounge, which had food, cocktails and smoothies to order of course, but also a hairdresser, pool table, terrace with view, and more. The lounge was much better than the plane, which while not uncomfortable, was dated:
light snack to order during the flight :)