Welcome back to my Abroad Blog! One of the other amazing cities that I visited during my Oxford Study Abroad Program last summer, was London! Besides the traditional black taxis, London is such a modern city! I love how I was embarrassed when I posted my Oxford blog because it was so late, yet here I am writing about going to London exactly a year later....
Anyways! While I was studying abroad in Oxford, our professors took us on two weekend excursions in London. We had the option to stay the weekend with friends or return back to Oxford the same day. The bus ride from Oxford to London is 2.5 hours, so it is quite long in my opinion!
The first Friday we went to London, the main focus of our excursion was touring the Tower of London. We had some free time before our tour, and ate lunch in the Westminister area. This area of London is super trendy and I highly recommend you check it out! We ate some yummy pizza at Franco Manca and donuts at Crosstown Doughnuts. Buzzfeed actually rated Crosstown one of the best dessert places in London!
After our lovely lunch and dessert, we headed towards the Tower of London to begin our group tour. I definitely think this was my favorite activity in London because I learned so much about British history, especially the history of the royal family. Although I can't remember her name, our tour guide was tremendous, and I'm glad we had her instead of navigating the Tower by ourselves. The surrounding area is also very cool because it is right by the water, the Tower Bridge, and the upcoming, extremely modern downtown area of London. At the Tower, we also had the opportunity to see all of the Crown Jewels! We weren't allowed to take pictures or videos inside, but you can see the picture of the building in the pictures below (second). They were absolutely stunning and obviously one of my foavorite parts of the tour!
Unfortunately some of us didn't plan on staying the night in London this first weekend, so we headed back to Oxford that night. Our first weekend "excursion" in London was absolutely amazing and we were looking forward to the next weekend when we went back and decided to stay one night.
One thing to keep in mind when planning a trip to London, or the UK in general, is that it is EXTREMELY expensive. There were seven of us that were planning on staying the night in London for our second weekend, so we found an Airbnb called "Japindo" lol...which was the name of the restaurant that our Airbnb room was connected to. Our Airbnb was located in the Bermondsey area and had 3 triple bunk beds which was definitely interesting...Also keep in mind that this was my first time staying at an Airbnb! Please reference the pictures below:
All week I was deciding if I wanted the bottom, middle, or top bunk (I ended up going with the bottom). Besides our cozy Airbnb, we had some incredible plans for our two days in London. On Friday, our professors took us on a tour of Westminister Abbey which was absolutely beautiful! It was incredible to see the place where the royals get crowned, married, and buried alongside many other famous celebrities.
After our tour, we were free for the weekend! As you might know, Big Ben and Parliament are right by Westminister Abbey, so we decided to go check them out and of course take lots of pictures! Sadly, Big Ben was under construction so there was a lot of scaffolding around it. :(
After seeing Big Ben, most of the group headed over to Peggy Porschen Cakes , while my friend Brynn and I left to take a dance class at Studio 68. At the time I hadn't danced in a year or so and boy was it a workout... It was great to appreciate different styles of dance in another country though! If any of you are dancers and visit London I recommend you go to this studio! After dance, we met up with the rest of the group at Japindo and decided to get dinner at an Indian restaurant by the river. It was so good and the views were amazing!
The next day, we all split up and a couple of us decided to go see Buckingham Palace, the British Library, and the National Gallery. Of course the Buckingham Palace was a MUST SEE for me, but honestly it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. The British Library and the National Gallery were cool museums that my friend suggested we see. At the National Gallery, we saw some famous paintings including, Vincent van Gogh's 'Sunflowers.' At the British Library, we quickly saw famous music transcripts in the music archive room.
After enjoying our last day in London, we grabbed a quick bite at Shake Shack (my fave) and headed back to Oxford!
OVERALL EXPERIENCE RATING:
Thanks for reading along! I hope I'll be back in London for a longer amount of time in the future!
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