out + about: england

Monday, August 8, 2016

things we did / recommendations / yay!! / pictures 

we did so much. like, for REALZ. SO MUCH. so this is just going to be a quick run-down of everything. 

westminster abbey
it was tall. grand. but taking a tour was expensive, and since we'd already seen so many chapels and churches, my family decided to opt out of it. instead, we just took pictures with it on the outside and toured the church next to it (for free).

st. james park
this was really pretty. because there's no drought there like there is in california, it was really green and just plain old beautiful. after buckingham palace, we dropped by pret-a-manger (which is this sandwich, salad, and soup shop that's really good), grabbed some food, and headed over to st. james' park to have a makeshift picnic. plus, there are ice cream stands scattered throughout...like who wouldn't want to go there?????

covent garden
not an actual garden, apparently. but the shops and stands were super cute, and it's where i got my harry potter deathly hallows sweatshirt (!!!). plus, free samples are always nice!

the river thames
kinda gray and kinda lonely, but taking a boat ride on it is cool if you wanna get a view of both sides of London. plus, the bridges spanning across it are varied and different (like, millennium bridge vs tower bridge...look it up). 

british museum
we only went for a couple of hours, but it was free, so it was kind of crowded and not overly interesting. but my mom + i did enjoy looking at the art collection they had, and we got to see the actual, real-live ROSETTA STONE (still freaking out about that because the Rosetta Stone, man), which was stellar. 

yes, that's THE rosetta stone. i know, i'm freaking out too. i'm also secretly wondering if that's actually the real rosetta stone or if the museum is just trying to pull a fast one on us???

the london eye
super touristy but worth a shot. i actually really enjoyed it, and we got some really great pictures. the line's long but it wasn't a two hour wait, which was nice.

the tower of london
meh. i liked the history and stuff--and they have those redcoat guards with the tall fuzzy black hats--but the tour wasn't great (like, eighty people trying to listen to one guy talk) and the jewels were just...jewels. i wonder if they're actually the crown jewels or just replicas. you never know.

really nice and green. if you like tennis, it's worth taking a tour; if you don't like tennis, it might be a little boring, but there's a lot of tradition + history that goes into wimbledon, and the museum was interesting.

buckingham palace
my favorite part was watching the guards do their march. other than that, there's just a bunch of overeager tourists at the gates, trying to take cute pictures but probably failing because what pictures look cute with black bars in the background? (none, because it looks like you're in jail or something)

really touristy. weren't able to get up close. it was cool to go there just for the sake of going to stonehenge, but it's not a repeat visit.

definitely a repeat visit. not as modern-looking as london, and we only had an hour there, which kind of stunk. but there were street performers and lots of food vendors and i even went into the library for fifteen minutes (you know me...lol). we ate at the mcdonalds there. mcdonalds is so much better in europe than in the U.S.

shakespeare's birthplace!! we got to see the house he was born in, and the town itself was really cute--quaint, with lots of brick and a countryside-looking feel. i'd love to go back again and explore everything. 

don't eat asian food if you go to london. seriously. we went to both a korean restaurant (outside of chinatown) and a chinese restaurant (inside chinatown), and both were pretty bad. the chinese restaurant also had terrible customer service, which is pretty typical of chinese restaurants, but it was especially bad there. if you do end up going to chinatown, though, BRING CASH--most of the restaurants only accept cash, which definitely limited our restaurant choices.

actually, i hated the chinese restaurant experience so much that i went into the restroom and wrote a two-star yelp review of it. 

don't go to chinatown.

old spitalfields market
one of my favorite parts of the trip, if not THE best part of it. it's just a market tucked away down an alley in a corner, but there's food and things to buy (bought a silver pocket-watch sort of thing) and it doesn't seem super touristy (i heard more british accents there than in any other place we went). it was just super cool to feel like i was part of the culture. + the food was so good. i love food. food is fantastic.

the globe theater
we went and saw "the taming of the shrew," which was reaaaaallllllyyyyy good. it was awesome to get a feel for what it might have been like in shakespeare's time, and since the theater itself was small, it felt more interpersonal. really good play. 10/10 recommend.

-london, or at least the parts we visited, was pretty modern-looking and not really beautiful. other parts of england were--the countryside, in my opinion, topped Czech countryside, and that's saying a lot, because Czech countryside is beautiful--and the london sidestreets were, but there was just a lot of concrete, and i wasn't super impressed.

-when i go back (because YOU KNOW i'm going to go back to england), i'd like to visit bath and stratford a little more in-depth, and also visit Yorkshire, where The Secret Garden took place. 

-less cigarette smoke than prague, but still a good amount

-really gloomy most of the time

-FISH AND CHIPS IS TO DIIIEEEEEEEE for. they deep-fried the fish (without any salt), and it came out hot and fresh and beautiful. also, they give you way too many chips.

-convenience store cheese is SO. GOOD. the cheese definitely made my week. GO GET CHEESE. 

actual thoughts while in london

-woooooo fooooooood



part two is coming whenever i manage to wrangle out some technical issues. until then, enjoy!!

hope you enjoyed this out + about series! 
have fun + keep exploring,


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