For our first excursion out of Ireland we decided to go to London because how can you live in Ireland for five months and not go to London?
You would think that traveling to London would be easy from Ireland considering England and Ireland are so close, but that is not exactly the case. Travel started on Thursday afternoon with a bus ride to the Shannon Airport. It then took a plane, a bus, a short walk and a taxi to get us to our hostel. We then went straight to bed as it was 2 am and we were exhausted.
We woke up the next morning in time to eat breakfast, check out of our hostel and make our way to our next hostel (travel tip: don’t wait too long to book your hostel if you’re cheap like me because you will end up having to move hostels to get the best deals). After arriving at our next hostel, we stored our stuff and hit the city!
We decided to do a free walking tour as we felt it would be the best way to see the city. We arrived and met our tour guide, YY, a small man originally from Australia with an enormous amount of energy and insight into London.
We followed YY to all of the must see sights in London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. It was amazing to walk around and see all the monuments I had seen in movies and T.V. in real life. I almost felt like I was in a movie myself!
We were surrounded by so much history and places I had always dreamed of seeing. I remembered watching Will and Kate’s wedding on T.V. and there I was standing in front of the very place they said I do.
Because we were already being as touristy as possible, we went the full nine yards and took pictures in the phone booth and stood in awe in front of Buckingham Palace.
Once the tour ended, we went to a restaurant where we got some food. There was still a whole other side to London left to see so we decided to go on a second walking tour of Old London. This one unfortunately was not free. While I really enjoyed the tour, at this point I was pretty tired. We saw some beautiful buildings and had a mocha so thick it was basically drinking chocolate so at least that got my energy up a little.
We were able to “touch history” on this tour in the form of damage on buildings from bombs during World War II. It was interesting to see the physical evidence of something I have learned so much about in school. We also got to see more historic landmarks such as the Tower Bridge, although we didn’t go on it (it’s definitely on my list for the next time I go).
After the walking tour we had just enough time to go back to our hostel, change and head to our pub crawl. Pub crawls are a great way to see the night life of a city and I would highly recommend it! We met some cool people and got to dance the night away!
The next day we got a little later of a start and headed toward Buckingham Palace where the changing of the guards was going to happen. Our tour guide, YY, had recommended actually going to St. James Palace for this as he said if you try to get too close to the gates of Buckingham Palace, you will most likely not see anything at all. On our way to St. James Palace, we met some very nice people (we actually met so many nice people along the way without whom we would have never navigated London) who told us we should check out the Horse Guards Parade. We went there first and saw guards on horses make their way to Buckingham palace.
We then made our way to St. James Palace and Buckingham Palace where the main event was happening. The changing of the guards is such a longstanding tradition in England and it was cool to witness something that had been happening for so long.
After this, we made our way to the Camden Market which came recommended to us by several people. On our way we had a slight mishap where Margaret and Jayna wound up getting separated from Liz and I on the tube. If this happens to you, my advice is to stay where you are if you are not the one on the train and let the others come back to you. Unfortunately, we did not do this and we didn’t reconnect with them until we ran into them as we walked around the market.
The market was awesome and a great way to see a different side of London, I only wish I had more money to spend on the amazing food and fun souvenirs!
After the market we went back to our hostel and napped before finally dragging ourselves out of bed to get some dinner. Our hostel was basically half hostel, half bar and when we got downstairs, the place was packed. After going to get some dinner, we came back and danced a little before heading to bed for our early morning flight.
We had a jam packed but fun two days and i can’t wait for our next adventure!
Here’s the video of our London adventure: