London, my very first stop on my 10 week adventure. Landing a little before 6am I knew that day 1 was going to be intense. Check-in to the hotel wasn’t until 2pm, it was my first time being alone in a foreign country and all I kept thinking was - “Lady, there’s no time to be tired, you’ve got things to do! Find a coffee shop, drown yourself in caffeine and lets get this show on the road!” and that’s exactly what I did.
I was absolutely buzzing and so excited that I’d arrived safely and thanks to Google maps I was able to navigate my way around the city without any issues whatsoever.
I chose to stay at the Royal National Hotel because it was reasonably priced, in a central location to all the major sites and easily accessible by train. Unable to check-in until later in the afternoon I stored my bags at the hotel and headed straight to Russell Square Train station to purchase a 1 day travel card which worked out to be something like $25 AUD.
The first stop on my list of places to see was The Tower of London but before I did this I found an awesome little cafe called “All Bar One” which was not too far from the Tower and where I enjoyed what was to be my very first meal in London - the Eggs Benedict were absolutely delish!.
For Tower Of London i’d pre-purchased the tickets through Trip Advisor so I was able to bypass all the lines - this worked a treat because by 10am the line just to gain access, was ridiculously long and had I not done that, I would have wasted at least an hour just trying to purchase a ticket.
I did a full tour of the castle and was given a very detailed history lesson. Being my very first visit to a UNSECO world heritage site I was extremely keen to learn as much as possibly could throughout my tour, the main facts being, it was originally built as a royal palace and defence system, there’s at least 6 ravens kept at the tower at all times for superstitious reasons and the if you’ve ever seen the film “Legend” with my beloved Tom Hardy, who plays the suave, charming and volatile Kray twins, I learnt that they were the very last people to be imprisoned there.
After finishing my morning at the Tower, I decided to make my way over to St Paul’s Cathedral for a lunch in the park but not before passing by the Tower and London Bridges.
By this point in the day I was starting to get a little bit tired but nevertheless, I powered through and finished my afternoon watching array of different street performers whilst listening to a man playing the bagpipes out the front of Westminster Abbey.
Whilst I enjoyed this little bit of downtime the jet-lag kicked in and I needed to rest. I caught the train back to Russell Square, (the second time I used my travel pass in the day) and slowly by surely strolled through the gardens making my way back to the hotel and was sleep by 7pm - It was a massive, massive day!
For day 2 I booked a day excursion through a company called Evan Evans Tours that was set to take me to Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge. I found this was a very easy way to see as much as I possibly could in a short period of time.
Finding the bus depot was super easy, it’s was clearly labelled so really, you couldn’t miss it.
On the particular day I did the tour, Windsor Castle was closed (Thanks Donald Trump) so instead we were taken to Hampton Court Palace where I learnt some pretty interesting facts about Henry the 8th and admired some incredibly old artwork and infrastructure.
Next stop was my second UNESCO site in two days! Stonehenge.
I was really looking forward to seeing site as there are so many questions that still to this day haven’t been answered! What I found particularly interesting with this was the connection with Pagans.
In ancient Pagan traditions, the winter solstice was a time to honor the cycles of life and death and celebrate the sun’s rebirth as the days would slowly begin to lengthen in the months leading into spring.
Many people who practice paganism and earth-centered spiritual traditions find this holiday particularly special at Stonehenge.
Apart from its architectural significance, Stonehenge holds a place of sacred importance to many. Much of its history is still shrouded in mystery, though one thing that’s sure is that it was built upon a landscape that had long been used for religious purposes. The stones that make up the massive circle are thought to have been collected from distant places, some as far as 150 miles away, and brought to this particular location. They were then erected using sophisticated, interlocking joints ― but how exactly the builders accomplished this, to this day, no one knows.
In other words, on the two annual solstices ― summer and winter ― the sun respectively rises and sets in perfect alignment with the site’s massive stones.
Finishing up at Stonehenge, we had one final stop before making our way back to London - Beautiful Bath. Before leaving, a friend of mine has made a point in telling me time and time again that if I didn’t go to Bath i’d really be selling myself short as this little town has a whole lot of heart.
I had to see the Roman Baths and my third UNESCO site. I had done some brief reading on this before I went but I had no idea how far back in history this place went and what some of the beliefs were.
The very first shrine at the site of the hot springs was built by Celts and was dedicated to the goddess Sulis. In 836 BC the spring was discovered by the British king Bladud who built the first Moorish baths. Early in the 18th century word spread that the ‘waters' had cured Bladud and his herd of pigs of leprosy through wallowing in the warm mud.
People moved from all over the country just so they could be ‘healed’ by the magic water - some people drinking up to 30 litres a day so of course, so the least I could do while I was there was have a cup.
After what was an extremely big information filled day, I decided to finish it off by having a Cider at a place called “The Huntsman”, had a bit of a yarn with the locals and before I knew it, it was time to make my way back to the bus and head back to London, where I soon would order room service and be in bed asleep by 9pm.
My third and final day I decided to keep things very low key. After two very jam packed days and almost 26,000 steps later, I was exhausted but went for an amazing dinner with a friend of mine at “The Folly”.
I was absolutely taken aback when I saw this place! It was extremely trendy with perfectly mismatched furniture and fabrics. They had a very large range of epic cocktails and not to mention the place was filled with indoor trees and brightly coloured flowers - It was very Instagrammable. The service was quick and the food was reasonably priced and absolutely delicious.
So my friends, this is what I did with my three days staying in London.