London as we all know is the capital of the United Kingdom, one of the largest and most visited countries in Europe. Its architecture is superb and surely looks like it came out of a storybook. Although the weather is usually cloudy, this city makes you feel all fuzzy and tinkling inside! There are so many options to entertain yourself, from restaurants of all types of cuisine and beautiful coffee shops, to incredible musicals and plays at the West End. From hundreds of museums, to mesmerizing gardens. And of course let’s not forget, hundred of shops and high end boutiques! You can find almost anything here! I personally think that it’s heaven on earth!! During winter time the cold in London is mild. So with a coat or a light duffle jacket you’re absolutely fine! Even during summer is a bit chill and moist so always hold on to an umbrella! :)
When I travel back to London, I like to stay in a hotel. I just love to be room serviced! For eight years now I’ve been staying at the Royal horseguards hotel in Westminster. It is a five-star hotel which feels like my second home. The rooms are really nice and the view of Thames River is amazing. But this time I wanted a change. So I’ve decided to stay at another hotel. I’ve wanted to have the same view, so after a short research I’ve discovered the Marriott County Hall hotel. It’s just behind London Eye, located at the old Westminster County Hall. The hotel was beautiful, it’s entrance, the newly remodeled rooms and especially the view from the rooms was to die for! But unfortunately the service was not as expected for a five-star hotel. From the front desk, the concierge, to the room service, everything was insufficient. But the in room dining was excellent and the rooms were super clean. The restaurant on the ground floor also has fantastic food and superb views of Thames River. I highly recommend it for lunch!
Just half a mile from the hotel (10 min walk) is the Horse Guards historic building in the City of Westminster, where you can go and see the mounted troopers of the Household Cavalry guarding the entrance. You can take beautiful pictures next to the horses (like I need) just be careful, cause there is s a sign that says that they bite! At the back of the building there is a huge wall completely covered with greenery, that look like ivy leaves . This is an amazing spot for taking pictures, especially at midday the light is beautiful.
A few minutes walk from the Royal Horseguards, still in Westminster city, is Buckingham Palace. It is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of UK Queen Elisabeth II, as we all know. The palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning. The most beautiful thing you can attend there, besides the inside of the palace of course which is beautiful, is Changing the Guard, also known as Guard Mounting, which takes place outside the palace from 10:45am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am. The Buckingham Palace old guard forms up in the palace’s forecourt from 10.30am and is joined by the St. James Palace old guard at around 10.45am. The new guard then arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard in a formal ceremony accompanied by music. The guard that looks after Buckingham Palace is called the Queen’s Guard and is made up of soldiers on active duty from the Household Division’s Foot Guards. The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. This looks so regal and beautiful! You have to watch this, but please make sure it is on, because on days when large events are held in the city center this ceremony doesn’t happen.
Now let’s get to the best part of London for me, the West End. It is the main theater district in London. Along side NYC Broadway, is home to some of the biggest and well known theater productions in the world. I’m a huge musicals lover, so I have seen a variety of productions. The ones I’ve enjoyed enormously and have seen more than once, are the classics like, Phantom of the opera, Mamma Mia, Lion King, Alladin, Les Miserables, Chicago, but also productions like Kinky Boots (great one), School of Rock (the children actors were fantastic), Thriller (favorite vocals!) I have also seen the Woman in black, a 2 man play, and Dr. Faustus with Kit Harrington (about 2 years ago) which was the best performance I’ve ever seen in my life! If you haven’t already seen one, you should definitely do, at least once in your life! Trust me. ;)
My journey takes me next to the Shoreditch district. Although I’ve studied interior design in London some years ago, I’ve never been there until now. Unlike central London, Shoreditch is full of colors. It’s the very best place for visual inspiration. It’s full of vibrant graffiti and huge breathtaking murals. At the Shoreditch triangle and Redchurch street, you can see the most beautiful of them. I love that you can see artists right in front of you, doing their work while music plays in the background from their iPods and old radios and personally that it’s super cool! I highly recommend to visit this place if you are into art.
A beautiful area to visit is also the Hill Garden and Pergola, a Georgian arbour and terrace in the Hill Garden with expansive views across Hampstead Heath. Hampstead Pergola is undeniably one of London’s hidden treasures. It is essentially a raised walkway, overgrown with vines and exotic flowers, and is set amidst some wonderfully dramatic gardens. It is distinctive, moody and eerie. The sense of faded grandeur is everywhere, and even with the recent restorations it hasn’t lost this unique character. You can definitely relax, have a cup of English tea or take a long stroll and take breathtaking photographs there.