London : The First Day

London - Heathrow Airport

9th July 2011. Written by Xin Li.
London, United Kingdom.
I have never planned for a trip to Europe until my 4th year in university. However, the opportunity to travel to the continent I heard and read so much about came unexpectedly from my family.


London - Heathrow Airport

The Heathrow Airport is one huge airport. Russell Peters wasn’t exaggerating when he claimed “Indians like to work at the airport”. From the connecting gates to the immigration counter, there were many Indians working as airport staff or immigration officers.


London - Heathrow Airport

The immigration procedure took quite a while, the officer would ask for your itinerary and stuff and there was a long queue that ended at the gates.


London - Heathrow Airport

Making our way to the city itself would have been a breeze if not for the upgrading works being carried out at the Piccadily Tube Line.


London - First Great Western

We had to take the Heathrow Connect, a pricier option (but cheaper than the Heathrow Express : 16.50 GBP to London Paddingon, one-way) to Hayes and Harlington (4.90 GBP, one way) where we board a First Great Western train to London Paddington Station (2.70 GBP after 0930 HRS).


London - First Great Western

Using the Oyster Card entitles you to substantial discounts on the transportation fares (e.g. Paddington to Russell Square: 4 GBP (Cash), 1.90 GBP (Oyster).


London - First Great Western

However it is not applicable for the portion between Hayes and Harlington Station and Heathrow Airport on the Heathrow Connect. The Oyster Card cannot be used on the Heathrow Express at all.

London - Paddington Station

From London Paddington Station, the Tube System easily connects you to various parts of London. Use the Oyster Card for discounted fares.


London - Paddington Station


After visiting the British Museum, we took a walk around London.

London - Museum Street


There are numerous theatres around London, the posters for musicals easily outnumber the posters for movies.

London - Coliseum Theatre


For the archi-farty, there are plenty of buildings to look at. SoHo offers some really colourful contemporary pieces to explore and the road towards Trafalgar Square was lined with row houses as well as churches and other buildings built out of masonry materials, something you don’t get to see much in Singapore.

London - SoHo


London - SoHo


With the mild weather, we could easily walk to Trafalgar Square without any issues.

London - Leicester Square


You see the Edith Cavell Memorial as you near the Trafalgar Square. Its located next to St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Edith Cavell is a nurse who helped saved some 200 Allied soldiers from German occupied Belgium during WWI. Unfortunately, the selfless figure was discovered helping the Allied soldiers and executed by fire squad.

London -  Edith Cavell Memorial


London - Trafalgar Square


The month of July is a peak season for travelling in Europe as it was summer. The Trafalgar Square was flooded with people.

London - Trafalgar Square


The fountains were so huge that the winds causes water from the fountain to rain upon on people seated near the fountains and water droplets were scattered around the radius of the fountain.

London - Trafalgar Square


To seek refuge from the crowd, we headed to the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, a beautiful church with a unique glass window at the rear. The frame of the window forms an image of the cross.

London - St.Martin-in-the-Fields


London - St.Martin-in-the-Fields


Within this church, one might just get the chance to watch the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields rehearsing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or other classical pieces.

London - St.Martin-in-the-Fields


If you are in for some affordable snack near Trafalgar Square, drop by Pret-a-Manger for their sandwiches or packed meals.

London - Pret a Manger




London - Houses of Parliament from Trafalgar Square


From the Trafalgar Square, one can easily see the clocktower that we all know as the “Big Ben” in the horizon. Walking down Whitehall will lead you to the Clocktower and brings you pass some memorials, statues and monumental structures.

London - Whitehall


As you walk towards the Thames from Whitehall, you will spot another iconic landmark of London (that Singapore tried to mimic), the London Eye.

London - London Eye


The riverside walkway with pathways shaded by trees is a nice place to have a leisurely stroll as you watch ships and ferries making their way down the River Thames.

London - Covent Garden


From the riverside, we turned north again towards our hostel. Midway, we arrived at the famed Covent Garden Market.

London - Covent Garden


As a popular tourist site, expect a huge crowd at the Covent Garden during the peak season.

London - Covent Garden Paella


And this ends our first day of sightseeing around Central London as we headed back to the hostel.

London


2 comments:

  1. how nice! looking forward to the rest of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks! the buildings in London is quite nice, a good mix of modern and the old. I love their parks, the lawn looked so comfortable.

    ReplyDelete

 

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