May some of you know that I have been to London last summer! (I feel very sorry for not blogging about it yet) This city has been on my travel-list for such a long time and I finally managed to visit the capital city of the United Kingdom. (Ok, I had flight transfers via London, but the airport doesn’t count （－_－）). Two friends joined me and I was so super-duper excited!!! I knew that London is one of the most famous destination for shopping, however this wasn’t actually the reason why I wanted to go to London. I am a big fan of Harry Potter and somehow I have found out that there is a Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, which provides an amazing opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter movies. I swore myself that I won’t go home until I visited the WB Studio!! My dream came true by the way v(￣∇￣)!
So we flew with EasyJet (a low cost carrier) from Basel to London Gatwick. The flight from Switzerland took us around 2 hours (the time difference is 1h). The first night we slept at the airport (Hampton by Hilton Hotel) cause we arrived quite late in Gatwick. The following days we stayed at the London Full House, the hotel was very comfortable and centrally located.
If you are in London, I recommend you to buy a Visitor Oyster Card, which can be used to pay for all public transport in London. The train/underground system is quite similar to Japan. (Buy ticket, put ticket in the ticket gate, keep it until the final destination). If you have a Visitor Oyster Card it will work like a Japanese prepaid IC card (check out section “Transport” on my blog post here). It is so much easier to get around London. You can buy the card at a ticket counter or machine. You’ll need to pay £5 deposit (which will be refunded in full when you give the card back).
We stayed 4 nights in London and had (more or less) a full programme. First of all, we started with sightseeing. I asked my classmate Shimmin (from GenkiJACS Fukuoka) some weeks before my arrival, if he would like to join us on our city tour. He even took a day off and took the long way to get to London to meet me. (Thank you again Shimmin, I was really happy to see you after one year!). We met at the London Bridge and started to walk around London. Spontaneously. We saw the famous Tower Bridge, had lunch at a pub, said hello to Big Ben and the London Eye, enjoyed the performances of many street artists, ate cotton candy ^^, discovered many unexpected alleys as well as hidden courtyards and had a delicious dinner at the chicken restaurant Nando’s. I didn’t expect that it would be so easy to get around London by foot – it’s the best way to get to know the city.
Sightseeing – check.
The next activity of our programme was the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, where we had a interesting behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films. You will get more information soon, so I won’t talk in detail about it yet :D. The tour started in the afternoon so we quickly went to have a look at the famous upmarket department store Harrods (just for fun). We also had time to check out the M&M’s store and the Japan Centre. We had a short picnic at the Green Park before our Harry Potter tour started.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour – check.
On our last full day I kept the day free for my friends. After the visit to the WB Studio I was absolutely satisfied so I let them decide what to do on that day. We ended up hanging out in the Regent’s Park. You could see squirrels everywhere. It is a really nice place to relax and we all enjoyed some peaceful hours after all the busy days.
On the next day it was already time to go home. I had a wonderful stay in London and it now became one of my favourite travel destination. I even went there for a second time in the same year *lol*. My winter trip to London – a ladies only shopping trip. To be continued…. :)