Recently, guest blogger Stephanie North from Forfar made her first ever visit to London! As an employee of TUI Travel, Stephanie was offered the chance to visit London, see a theatre show and attend one of the most popular attractions, kindly writing us a review of her trip on her return. Here’s what she made of the capital city including some helpful pointers for if you’re intending to visit any time soon…
Wow, wow, wow! I’d never been to London before and it was amazing! I really loved every moment and can’t wait to go back again!
WHICH HOTEL DID YOU STAY IN?
We stayed in the Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire right on Oxford Street. It’s really lovely and in an amazing location for exploring London. The rooms are a good size with really comfy beds, although I was so tired both nights I would have probably slept on a bench. The room had all you would expect from a really good 4* in a capital city, including tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer, safe and even magazines and complimentary water (nice touches). The best part of the hotel stay though was breakfast – it was amazing! Two types of bacon (crispy or non-crispy), smoked salmon, croissants, pastries, fruit, and even pancakes. It was so worth getting out of bed for, and there was so much there was no need for lunch!
WHICH SHOW DID YOU GO AND SEE?
We saw The Lion King. Now this is my favourite Disney film of all time so believe me when I say expectations were high, and I can say it truly did not disappoint in the slightest. The smile I had on my face the whole way through comes back as soon as I think of it! The costumes and the music and the animals (yes you do have to remind yourself the giraffes are really just costumes) coming through the aisles, the whole production was simply amazing. I can totally see how this show has been going for so long. Even my Mum, who I took with me even though she isn’t a big fan of musicals, loved it. I can’t think of anyone this show wouldn’t be perfect for, and if you love the Disney film or have never seen it the story is just great and the songs and costumes are out of this world. You have to see this!
HARRODS BUS TOUR AND CHAMPAGNE TEA
Honestly, I did this tour because it was included in my trip – I thought it would be good but not something I would ever consider paying for as £49pp seemed a bit over the top. However, I have completely changed my mind as the tour was great. We got to see all the things you go to London to see – The London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, Nelsons Column, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s, the list goes on and on and on. But what I didn’t expect was all the other little bits of info you got along the way and the extra things like the pub Sherlock Holmes and Watson were supposedly in when meeting Lord Baskerville, or the monument in honour of the Great Fire of London. We were also taken to see the best of the Christmas lights as well which was a nice seasonal touch. The guide really made the tour – really fun and charming as well as full of knowledge, and the vintage bus really makes the tour complete. Tea in Harrods was delicious as expected. This tour is great and now I’ve been on it I’d definitely pay for it! £49 now doesn’t seem so stiff for a great afternoon as well as tea in a London landmark itself like Harrods.
RAIL TRAVEL & OYSTER CARD
The Oyster Card was great. So easy to use and I loved the tube. Going down I was slightly apprehensive as I live in the country, but the experience has totally changed my mind. I thought it would be dirty and cramped no, it was light, clean, tidy and efficient and really easy to navigate. Loved the tube and will be insisting to all that an Oyster card is not an option but a necessity from now on.
Whilst down in London we popped into the V&A Museum as well as the British Museum. It is great to visit such fabulous exhibitions, especially considering they are free, and Oxford Street is something else! I could spend a fortune and many hours there very happily.
The best thing about my trip? Definitely the Lion King, I will remember that forever. But also the trip itself was such an eye opener to what we have here right in our country. I’ve always been a “ you’ve got to get on a plane for it to be a proper holiday” sort of a person, but not anymore – “London Baby” all the way!