You may remember a while back we launched our very first (and very exciting) SuperBreak Travel Writer Competition! We asked you lovely lot to put your writing skills to the test and tell us all about your favourite short break experiences for a chance to win The Ultimate SuperBreak to London!
We were amazed at the response we had from you all, and even more amazed at the fantastic entries we received! With the help of our Judge Blogger Laura the Explorer, we whittled all the entries down to our final winner – the wonderful Natasha.
Her witty and insightful article about her alternative seaside theatre break to Eastbourne and Brighton really stood out in the pile, and we’re now proud to call her SuperBreak’s Travel Writer Winner 2014!
As I live in London I should probably not have been as excited as I was to be given this trip around the capital… but I guess it’s true that when you live here, you don’t really appreciate what’s all around you.
I deliberated on who to bring with me and decided that the only fair way would be to split it. I invited my Mum on the first half and my boyfriend on the second half and it was perfect.
My Mum hopped on the train from Stoke-on-Trent and arrived into Euston fizzing with excitement. I loved being able to share the city with my Mum – when I left home to move here, she was understandably a little wary, but I think I’ve managed to win her over now! Our first stop was The View From The Shard. I’ve never been to The Shard, it’s something I never really fancied doing – I was so, so wrong.
A bow-tied doorman led us up the stairs to the incredible entrance hall. After getting our photo taken (and my Mum having to explain why she was carrying two litres of vodka as we went through the scanners – it was a birthday present – I’m not sure they believed her entirely), we stepped into the head-spinningly fast lift. As we walked out onto the terrace at The View From The Shard, London has never looked more beautiful. We could see for miles despite the weather being slightly less than perfect. The man singing the Eastenders theme tune as we watched the Thames meander through the city only added to the very Cockney vibes.
We then headed to the hotel. I’ve been on many nights out in St James, but I’d never stopped to realize what a beautiful area of London it is. An oasis from the craziness of Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, the surroundings of bespoke tailors and hundred-year-old niche stores was the perfect setting. Nestled next to Fortnum and Mason is the Cavendish Hotel, a beautiful, elegant home-from-home that somehow manages to keep the calm of the neighbouring streets whilst feeling very much central to the action.
Our room was on the top floor and had incredible vistas of the city. We unpacked and headed to Fortnum and Mason for a quick afternoon tea (delicious!) before walking north to visit London’s Madame Tussauds. I hadn’t been to Madame Tussauds since I was little and my Mum had never been, so we were like little girls on Christmas Day! We skipped the queue and headed straight in, where we were greeted by Ryan Gosling. Almost. The first room is full of Hollywood starlets so of course, Mum and I beelined for Leonardo, Brad and Ryan… although I had a near miss taking Tom Cruise’s head off with my elbow. It was quite something. Then I had to queue for a picture with One Direction because how often are you sat on a bench with Zayn Malik? We had an absolutely hilarious time, we decided that our favourite was Barack Obama.
After zipping back to the hotel, it was time for us to get our gladrags on and head to the theatre. I’ve wanted to see Jersey Boys in the West End for years but never got round to it, but being a secret Frankie Valli superfan, I was beyond excited. We had great seats and the show was absolutely, hilariously wonderful. We giggled, we cried a little and we definitely sang along (probably out of tune). After it finished, we weren’t ready for the night to end so I finally got to show my mum the side of London I usually see – I took her to the Arts Club in Mayfair and we danced all night until her shoes couldn’t take it any more. A quick tuk-tuk home and day one of our London experience was done.
After my mum hopped back on the train to London, I had a few hours to myself in The Cavendish Hotel – so what’s a girl to do but get some beauty treatments?! After lazing on the bed and soaking up the incredible view, my boyfriend arrived to go for a wine tasting experience at Vinopolis. We’re complete wine novices (despite his protests to the contrary – Tom, you are not French. I am sorry about that.), so it was great to learn more about the history of it and why it’s worth spending a few extra pounds on a bottle.
It was then time for the piece de resistance of the trip – the London Showboat and Dinner Cruise! I was so excited about this, I try to deny it but I am a fan of all things touristy so after a glorious walk through Green Park and over to the Houses of Parliament, we stepped down to the Thames promenade and boarded the cruise. It was exactly what I expected – slightly camp, full of excitable tourists and soundtracked by showtunes. I was in my element! After a welcome glass of champagne, we decided to show off our wine knowledge and order a fancy bottle of red (which it turned out, was on SuperBreak, so thanks!). The food was delicious, the entertainment was straight out of a Mediterranean cruise and we had the most magical time on the roof sailing down the Thames in the moonlight.
All in all, everyone had the loveliest weekend and I am so glad that we got the chance to experience London how it should be experienced. Thanks SuperBreak!
What do you make of Natasha’s adventures in the capital? Have you visited any of the London attractions she went to? Let us know using the comments box below.