For my first post, I decided to share with you my latest travel experience. Last week I had a one week school break and travelled with my parents and sister to London, England. I was born there and have been to the city a couple of times. However, no matter how many times I visit London, there is always something new to discover. Living in Antwerp, Belgium, the easiest and quickest way to get there is by train. Firstly, we drive for 45 minutes to the Gare du midi, in Brussels. From there, we embark on a 2 hours journey on the Eurostar. Their trains are clean, comfortable and very convenient, leaving passengers on London St Pancras International; strategically at the heart of London.
Without exiting the train station, you can access the King’s Cross metro station. This is part of the city’s fascinating, tourist friendly, underground network. Tourists can get to any neighbourhood of London by metro. If you are travelling for only a few days, in my case only four, Kings Cross can be a perfect location for your stay. You do not have to take any public transport, since a range of hotels are located within a short walking distance. Surrounding St Pancras International there are three renovated Premier Inns as well as the more sophisticated St Pancras Renaissance and St Pancras Pullman.
Whenever I travel to Great Britain’s lively capital, my first must go to place is Piccadilly Circus. Personally, I am fond of urban getaways. I adore the wide possibilities of culture, entertainment and gastronomy they offer. While climbing up the stairs of Piccadilly’s underground station, any tourist can sense London’s exciting and uplifting atmosphere; even on a typical rainy day. Apart from the Big Ben and London eye, another image I strongly attribute to London is Piccadilly Circus’ electrical advertisements.Unfortunately, for the first time since the Second World War, the luminous billboards have been switched off . If you were planning to have the shimmering lights as a selfie background, I suggest you wait until autumn. By then, the six panels will have been changed into a single large panel. We are all crossing our fingers, and hoping that after these reparations our photos will look even more impressive!
Talking about impressive, one of my recommendations would definitely be the Aladdin show at West End. From the ones I have previously watched, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wicked, Aladdin is the most entertaining. Its vibrating colours, humour, and special effects create a unique experience. I would say that it is an ideal musical comedy for children, teenagers, and adults. My father, who amongst the four of us enjoys these shows the least, was genuinely impressed. When Aladdin and Jasmin flew on their magic carpet, singing “A whole new world”, everyone around me was moved. Truly breathtaking!
Although I did not visit The Tower of London this time, it is one of my favourite attractions. History interests me very much, and I learn a lot by visiting the scenarios of the past. Built under the commands of William The Conquerer, Duke of Normandy in Northern France, the tower takes us back to France’s invasion in 1066. During a tour throughout the many rooms and observatories, visitors get to see how monarchs such as Henry III and Edward I used to live. While this is a worthwhile activity, I must say that it is not the most appropriate for families with babies, elderly, or anyone with difficulties of locomotion. Throughout my visit I had to climb many narrow and steep stairs; meaning that parts of the facility can be of hard access.
If you are travelling with children, and are looking for an activity more appealing to them, you will want to pass by the M&Ms world. This is a four story store, at Leicester Square, selling the M&Ms brand in a range of different formats. The kids will be amazed by the colourful walls of chocolate, themed pyjamas, pencils, mugs and teddy bears. This is a perfect stop next to Piccadilly Circus. If you are lucky, you may even witness the set up for one of Hollywood movies’ premiere. Last week, when I was there, the red carpet for the new movie “Kung: Skull Island” was being prepared. The ODEON theatre, where the premiere took place, is very close to the store.
When my family travels to London, there are a few different restaurants that we always go. This time, we went to two of them. On the first day, the four of us ate lunch at a Persian restaurant. It’s called Alounak and is located near the Bayswater underground station. My parents were recommended this restaurant when they used to live in London, back in the year 2000. The quality, taste and authenticity never changes. My favourite is definitely their homemade flatbread. I could go there only for this starter. The warm bread goes perfectly with their delicious hummus. I strongly recommend! If you are thinking of trying out, keep in mind that the restaurant does not sell alcoholic beverages. However, they do welcome you to take your own. There is a liquor store a few meters before the restaurant, where my dad always buys a small wine bottle. The second restaurant we always go is called Patty & Bun. This is actually a burger house. Although they opened in 9 different locations, the one we always eat at is at James St, Marylebone; nearby the department store Selfridges & Co. I’m sure that after hours of shopping you’ll be looking forward to an appetizing burger with fries.
Hope you have enjoyed my first post! I will keep you updated with more tips and suggestions from my favourite destinations.
See you soon and bon voyage,