Time has flown by so quickly since I landed here in London, with only almost a week left until I say goodbye to this beautiful city. London has not been short of eye-catching tourist attractions, and with so many places I tried to visit in the three months I had yet, I still feel like I should’ve seen more places. However, during my time in London, there were spots I visited multiple times, some because they gave me a sense of comfort when I felt overwhelmed and some because they had good shopping options. It’s my second to last week here in London, and it only seems right that I visit all these places one last time before I bid adieu.
I am not the biggest fan of shopping, but you will definitely go home with hands full of shopping bags once you’re on Oxford Street. Oxford St. is one of the busiest places in London, perhaps why it always felt like I was at home (in Mumbai). Whether it is for last-minute shopping or taking a stroll along the adjoining infamous Bond St, Oxford St is a place you want to visit repeatedly, especially before leaving London. Near Oxford St, I would also recommend walking a bit further to Chinatown and enjoying authentic Chinese food at one of the many restaurants. Don’t forget to take back some delicacies from the Chinatown Bakery or sip on some delicious boba. If you happen to be a Harry Potter fan, lucky for you, you can also take a quick trip to the Warner Bros. Studio London – Making of the Harry Potter that happens to be located right next to Chinatown. A short walk from Chinatown, you can see the Piccadilly Circus – a mini version of Times Square.
Portobello Road Market
Whether it is for vintage street shopping, cheap London souvenirs to take home, or a fan of the movie Notting Hill, you have to visit Portobello Road Market. Home to the famous blue door you can see in the film Notting Hill, Portobello Market is full of pop up shops and a street dedicated entirely to street food. Interesting fact, Portobello Road Market is one of London’s oldest markets, dating back to the 19th century. Walking through the streets, you will spot some picturesque streets with colourful houses to take some Instagram worthy clicks. Portobello Road Market is definitely one of the must-see and must-visit more than once spots in London.
London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace
These iconic attractions have to be on your must-visit list. Big Ben is finally showing more of itself after years of reconstruction, and most of its scaffolding has been done away with. Even if you don’t want to pay to go to the Eye, it is worth visiting the location in the evening to see one of the most prominent Ferris wheels in the world light up and come to life. Buckingham Palace’s changing of the guards ceremony is definitely worth the visit. The schedule for the ceremony is on their website so make sure you know what days it is going to be taking place. However, it can get crowded, so you want to reach before time and wait near the palace gates to witness this royal tradition.
St Katherine’s Docks, Thames River, and Tower Bridge
For someone who passes these attractions every single day on the way to college, I am definitely going to miss seeing these gorgeous sites – The Thames River reflecting the sunlight, the Tower Bridge lighting up in the evenings and seeing some of the most attractive boats and yachts I’ve seen on SKD. Spending time by the water and listening to the water hit the rocks has always given me comfort, and I will indeed spend some time in one of the many cafes on SKD and enjoy the beautiful views of the River Thames and the Tower Bridge.
If you have some time to spare and appreciate history, visiting some of the most iconic museums in London might be worth spending hours on. The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square have been my favourites. The list of museums in London does not end, and there are so many museums you can choose from based on what you like and what you want to see. There are also many seasonal exhibits at the museums often, which might be worth looking out for. Moreover, museum gift shops, albeit sometimes overpriced, have perfect gifts to take back home.
Liverpool Street, Spitalfields, and Brick Lane
If you are a student coming to London with Northeastern, you will be residing at Chapter Spitalfields. One of the things I loved about this accommodation is its proximity to Liverpool Street – filled with fast-food chains and cheap bars to get food from, Spitalfields – a high-end market, and Brick Lane – street food pop-ups and the home to the most iconic bakeries. You will never have to worry about getting takeout food or dining at a fine-dine around Chapter. One of my favourite places around Chapter was the bubble tea place – Jen Tea – at less than a minute’s walk. Other favourite places of mine near Chapter that I would definitely recommend trying included Dilchad (for authentic Indian food that is not too heavy on the pocket), Out of the Office (cocktail bar with amazing happy hour offers located inside of Dilchad), Wasabi (for quick takeouts on the days you feel lazy), The Naan Guys in Spitalfields Market (for delicious wraps), The Brick Lane Foodhall (only open on Saturdays and Sundays and has dishes from all around the world – Mexican to Chinese), The iconic Beigel Bake (24-hour bakery serving Jewish style filled bagels and other pastries), and finally Pret A Manger (a chain I relied on for my daily coffee).
Yes, the Prime Meridian. To reach Greenwich, one usually takes the DLR, which is a ‘slow-motion roller coaster’ as rightly said by someone once. Although I was reluctant to pay to see the line that divides the earth’s east and west, it was worth it. I had bought tickets that included entry to the Royal Observatory and the famous cargo ship – Cutty Sark. More than the Royal Observatory, I enjoyed going abroad to Cutty Sark, although it no longer is functional and is just open for visitors to see.
While I have loved every place I’ve been to in London, it is impossible to write them all down. So, the list above captures some of the places I’ve truly enjoyed in London, although I would recommend visiting so many more sites. Every time I stepped onto the underground and went somewhere, it was a new experience etched in my memory forever (or until the next time I visit London). London is truly a vibrant city that you should not be afraid to step out in and discover to the fullest.