London! The city you have to see. The London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and more! That is exactly what I thought when I saw a bus trip to London at the website VakantieVeilingen, which is a Dutch auctioning site. Fortunately my friend also wanted to join me and we decided to go together. It took a while before I finally ‘won’ the auction, but it was worth it. Normally the trip costs 52.50 per person. Now I got it for 71 euros (including administration costs) for 2 people. The bus trip included a short city tour and also the ferry from France to england and back.We were allowed to choose where we wanted to leave from. We chose Breda, because it is the last pick-up point before the bus goes to London. Some of the fellow passengers had already boarded in South Limburg and were already in the bus for 3 hours when they arrived in Breda. After a 5 hour drive we arrived in Calais where we left for Dover at 5:45 am. After an hour and a half we arrived in Dover It was amazing to see the white cliffs for the first time. Of course we had to set the clock back 1 hour. Around half past 9 (UK time) we finally arrived in the city center. The driver gave instructions for the way back and after a short tour of all the sights we were dropped off along the Thames within walking distance of the Big Ben. The purpose of this blog post is: You have 1 day in London. What should I see for sure? And is it doable? Yes it is!
The London Eye
Perhaps the most famous London icon of the 21st century. The Millennium Wheel of The London Eye as it is now known. The wheel was built in 1999 for the new millennium and opened on New Year’s Eve 1999. At that time it was the largest Ferris wheel in the world (135 meters), but since then other giant wires have already surpassed him. A lap in the wheel lasts 30 minutes as it rotates only 0.26 m per second. Not very fast, but you have a nice view over the city center and the river Thames. There are several entrance tickets available. Ordering online is cheaper on the spot. On the spot you have to buy a ticket in the building opposite the wheel, then you stand for a long time in the row, so keep that in mind. Opening hours: 10:00 – 21:00. The cheapest ticket costs around 21 pounds (36 euros). For more information: check out londoneye.com
The Thames is a wide and long river that flows right through the center of London. At the beginning of the day we were dropped along the Embankment opposite the London Eye.
The boulevard along the Thames is green and clean and it is very nice to take a quiet walk here. During the walk you will see enough old buildings, people and boats passing by. You can also take one of the bridges and cross over to the London Eye where street artists show their skills. There is also plenty of opportunity to sit on the boulevard.
Big Ben, Westminster Palace & Abbey
The famous Westminster Palace with adjacent the Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben tower are the most famous buildings in London. The Westminster Abbey is a cathedral in Gothic style and traditionally coronations and funerals of the royal British family. When you walk south along the Thames you automatically walk on THE showpiece of Westminster Palace; Big Ben. Big Ben owes its name to the largest clock in the tower. Contrary to what many people think, the tower is actually called ‘Elizabeth Tower’, the name it received in 2012 on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th government jubilee. I was amazed at how beautiful the tower is in real life. It is much larger than it looks and has a kind of golden shine through the sun. Westminster Abbey is next to Westminster Palace. A visit to this church costs 18 pounds (23 euros). You can not take pictures nor film unfortunately.
Buckingham Palace is one of the biggest attractions of London; rightly so! The residence of Queen Elizabeth is a beautiful grand palace bordering the beautiful St. James and Green Park. A flag flies on the middle pavilion of the palace. When the royal standard is hoisted, the Queen is at home, if not, the Union Jack. Unfortunately she was not at home. Next to the palace is the gallery of the Queen with a shop where you can buy souvenirs. Unfortunately these are on the expensive side, like almost everything in London. Every day, in the summer, every day in the winter, the changing of the guard is watched by thousands of people at 11.30 am. It is quite a happening where the streets are closed and the traffic is called to a halt. The new guards leave marching from the barracks around the corner to Buckingham Palace. Make sure you are on time, because logically it is incredibly busy.
This large department store, which is probably the most famous one in the world, is where the rich and famous show themselves daily. It is a short walk from the center of London (20 minutes), but it is worth it. Make sure that you are somewhat neat when you enter this department store. If not, you can still be refused at the door. Arriving at the building there are many Porsches, Ferrari and other luxury cars waiting for their owners after a shopping spree. This gigantic department store has several floors and departments and the interior is astoundingly beautiful. There is even a whole floor dedicated to toys, where I could even entertain myself. Special and not to be missed is the ‘Diana Memorial’ on the ground floor at the Egyptian escalator. Made for Diana and her friend Dodi by his father after the tragic accident of both.
Tower Bridge & Tower of London
The Tower Bridge owes its name to the nearby Tower of London, which is actually a fortress from the 11th century. Over the centuries it has had many functions, including: palace, state prison, fort and museum.
The Tower of London is a special sight in London and can therefore be visited. What can you see here?
– The crown jewels worn by ‘The Queen’ are shown here.
– The White Tower, tower in the heart of the Tower of London, one of the most historically important towers in the United Kingdom, you can also get a tour through this tower.
– The ravens; Seven ravens have their stay in the Tower of London next to the Wakefield tower. Legend has it that when the ravens leave the Tower the kingdom and the tower will fall. During your visit, you may see them fly by.
– Exhibition of torture tools.
These are a few examples of what you can see and experience in the Tower of London, there are also several guide tours available during your visit. Entrance costs 22 pounds (28 euros).
The nearby Tower Bridge was only completed in 1894 and has an exhibition that can be visited for 9 pounds (11 euros) per person. Both buildings have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988.
After a busy and exhausting day in London, I can honestly say that the city surprised me in a very possitive way! It is a nice, beautiful and atmospheric city that radiates openness. In the center you can find a large number of great parks where you can relax. We had beautiful warm and sunny weather and all the sights, apart from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, were within walking distance of each other. All in all everything is reasonably easy to do in 1 day.
Around half past nine London time we were expected back at the bus and started the long journey back home. Around half past 6 Dutch time we were back in Breda.
The journey was very long and tiring, but he was definitely worth it!