My first visit to the British capital was on 23rd June 1989 during my time in Hastings. I went up by train for the day (cheap day return ticket for £10.20). I saw the Changing
of the Guard at Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham
Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus,
Fleet Street, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Monument, Tower Bridge and I
visited the Tower of London. And on 3rd July Michael and Rosemary took
me to Wimbledon and we did a boat tour on the Themse in London, starting
from Westminster Pier. On 27th July we went to Earls Court to attend the
Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard
St. Paul's Cathedral
Tower of London
Thames River Cruise
|In 1991/92 I spent 5
months at Reading University. Reading is very close to London and I took
the opportunity to visit the city on several day trips. I visited Petticoat Lane Market,
the City of London, Smithfield Market,
Holborn, Bloomsbury, Portobello Road Market, Chelsea, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge,
Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, etc. I always travelled by train and usually on a Cheap Day Return
ticket. I also had a
student travel card which gave me an additional discount.
On 16th November I went to London
folks from the aikido club. We had the opportunity to stay at a flat in Barbican which
belonged to one girl's dad. We visited the Natural History Museum and went
out for dinner in China Town.
On Saturday, 15th February, the Reading University Aikido
made their second inofficial trip to London.
Once again we stayed at Ruth's
father's flat at the Barbican. The One Day Travelcard bought us a train ticket to
London including local transport. We went to Oxford Street on the Saturday
and Madame Tussaud's (£5.95) on the
My time in Reading came to an
end. I travelled round the UK for a bit and in London I met my penpal Andrea
from Switzerland who was working there as an au-pair. On Wednesday, 8th April, we
did some sightseeing and queued up for tickets for "The Phantom of the
Opera" in the afternoon. But when it was our turn there were just two
very expensive ticket left, so we didn't buy them. We went to the cinema
in Leicester Square instead. I took a train to Hastings in the evening.
|On Saturday 11th April I went
to London again on a day trip to visit my Reading pal Sisi from Israel
and to get another chance to see the 3 p.m. matinee show of "The Phantom
of the Opera" (£15.50) at Her Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket. This time
I got lucky. I have always loved the music, but the entire show (the
costumes, the stage setup, the magic) was fantastic. It took
approximately three hours to queue in front of the theatre for
last-minute tickets. Before the show began I walked around Trafalgar
Square, China Town and Piccadilly Circus.
I was back in Reading in June. On Sunday the 14th I visited Kew Gardens,
located between Richmond and Kew in the suburbs of south-west London, with two
of my Reading friends.
In November 1992 I went back to Reading once again. On
Saturday, 31st October, at 10:10 a.m. I took a Lufthansa flight to LHR.
We got some great views of the city of London during the approach for
landing. I spent some days with Michael and Rosemary in Hastings. On
Wednesday morning I took a train back to London where I saw the Houses
of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and
Piccadilly before I continued to Reading in the afternoon.
At Easter in April 1998 I went to Hastings with my parents and
Volker and as Michael is an MP now we went to London on a day trip
so he could show us the House
of Commons and the House of Lords. The six of us went on the train with a One
Day Travelcard for £15.90. As Volker hadn't been to London before we
also went to see Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge as well as Covent Garden and
At the Tower of London
Horse Guard, Whitehall
Almost 10 years had passed until our next visit and this
was the first time I stayed in London for several days.
From Thursday, 2nd August, till Monday, 6th August,
2007, Volker and I travelled to London again. Since Michael and Rosemary
have a flat in a very central location they’ve been offering for a
long time that we could stay there. Finally we took the opportunity and
arranged for a long weekend. We still had some British Airways miles to
use up but we still ended up paying 85 Euros tax per ticket. After
getting a good view of the city of London in our approach of Heathrow
airport we landed around 11 a.m. and took the tube to Elephant & Castle
which took about an hour. We met Michael and Rosemary at their flat and
walked to the Anchor pub at the south bank where we had a late lunch
together. Then they returned to Hastings. It was really good to see them
again. Volker and I walked across the
Millennium footbridge to the City of London, up to St. Paul’s and back
via Tower Bridge. It was pretty cloudy that afternoon.
The next morning the sun was shining and we were in for a
hot and sunny weekend. We walked to the Houses of Parliament, then
watched the Changing of the Horse Guards. Walked up to Buckingham
Palace, then back to Trafalgar Square. In the afternoon we took a boat
trip on the Thames to Greenwich where we visited the Royal Observatory.
This is the place of the Prime Meridian of the World (0° longitude) and
Greenwich Mean Time. Normally it’s also the home of the Cutty Sark, the
last remaining tea clipper. Unfortunately it was under renovation. We
went to Garfunkel’s at Leicester Square for dinner.
On Saturday we took the tube to Hampstead and walked
around Hampstead Heath. After a walk in Regent’s Park we joined a London
Walks tour in Little Venice which lasted about 2 hours and was fun. Then
we walked back to Regent’s Park along Regent's Canal. We went to a pub
near our flat at Elephant & Castle for dinner.
On Sunday we went to Covent Garden and Fleet Street, via
St. Paul’s back to south bank. Then we took the tube to Notting Hill. We
preferred to avoid the crowds on Portobello Road for the antiques market
every Saturday. Some shops and stalls were still open. We found the
bookshop from the film with Julia Roberts (13-15 Blenheim Crescent) and the door to Hugh Grant’s
flat (280 Westbourne Park Road) which features in the film (photos). Then we walked in Hyde Park which was
crowded with people sunbathing. We returned to the flat early to take a
shower before we headed out to Wimbledon on the tube which took about an
hour. At 7 p.m. we were expected for dinner by a colleague of mine and
her husband. We met personally for the first time but it was very nice.
Monday morning was a bit cloudy, but it cleared up soon.
We took a bus to Westminster, had a look at Westminster Abbey, then we
went up the clock tower of Westminster Cathedral for a view of London
from above. We walked back via Buckingham Palace, just in time for the
Horse Guards to arrive for another Changing of the Guards at Horse
Guards Parade. It was really good to watch. Afterwards we took the bus
back to Elephant & Castle, finished to pack and left for Heathrow for
our flight at 4:45 p.m.
London Ceremonies and Traditions
Changing of the Guard:
Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, Westminster,
daily Monday to Saturday at 11.00am and 10.00am on Sundays, The Queen’s Life
Guard alternates with The Blues and Royals except for one month in August when
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery takes over. Arrive early, the activity
itself starts at 10.45am.
Buckingham Palace, The Queen's Guard,
accompanied by a band, is scheduled to change at 11:30 hours (not in wet
weather), dates alternate each month. Arrive early as it gets crowded.
St James's Palace, The Mall, part of the Old
Guard marches from St James Palace, Whitehall, to Buckingham Palace at 11.15am
and returns at 12.05pm (same dates as guard change at Buckingham Palace)
London from above:
London by boat:
London on foot:
Some tips on saving money:
Oyster card and spend less than the
price of a day ticket.
Entry to some museums is free, others cost a
lot, save money with a London Pass
if you want to visit many costly attractions.
tickets for half price at Leicester Square ticket booth (tkts).
are expensive but pub food is also great, or try
London Attractions for free:
London City Guides: