February the 9th to the 14th, my fiancee and I took a little trip to London to see the sights, have a romantic get away, and stalk a few locations from BBC Sherlock (although the hunting for locations from Sherlock was mostly for my benefit, being a huge geek when it comes to whatever TV show has taken my fancy at the time 🙂 )
Our first day was spent travelling mostly, walking with our suitcases to the train station in the rain, and waiting at the platform discussing work and why we were glad to get away for a week. We both have a love-hate relationship with our workplace that tends to yo-yo back and forth. Nowadays when I think of work, I think of family really, because that’s how it seems sometimes. I don’t think I’ve ever worked somewhere where I get on with the people I work with so well (management mostly excluded from that sentiment!)
Whilst standing at the train track, I thought I would get a picture, I have a thing about trains and train tracks, so much so that when I was at university I took many pictures of the different trains during my daily commute. Our train eventually arrived, and we began our journey.
The ride itself was pretty uneventful, we played a little ticket to ride, which seemed appropriate because we we’re on a train. I lost miserably, with 95 points to Jay’s 194, and spent the rest of the journey daydreaming and staring out the window, as I tend to do on most long journeys. I think this drives Jay a little nuts, as he’s not very good at not having much to do, you should see him on a coach journey, he gets quite frustrated!
Once we arrived in London, we bought our oyster cards and embarked on the journey to our hotel via the tube. London underground is one of the most interesting systems I have ever travelled on, however you would not have caught me saying that the first time we travelled on it in 2012! I don’t think I’ve ever been so worried, the whole train rattled, the lights went out, it was dark, and the whole network was *underground* under god knows how much cement and city which in my mind could cave in at any moment!
This time, I was ready for it, and it was a a lot less of a big deal. The tube journey was uneventful, and we arrived in Lancaster Gate station where we disembarked for our hotel. By the end of the trip I was growing quite fond of the tube and it’s quirks.
I didn’t get any pictures of the hotel room (mainly because it was just not that interesting!) so below is a link to where we stayed.
The accommodation was very cheap and included breakfast, so I ate a lot of croissants that week as I have a weakness for them! The staff were very friendly on the whole and helpful (although one of the kitchen staff seemed a bit moody!) The room was clean and basic, bed, safe, bathroom with a working shower (a novelty because ours at home had packed up!) and a kettle and tea making facilities (even a mini fridge to our delight), which is all you need really!
If I were a hotel critic, I could go into the fact that the hotel needed refurbishment, the traffic noise from outside was noisy due to a weird gap in our window where a bit of plastic had slipped out, the window itself banged in the wind unless we jammed toilet paper behind it, and the bathroom sink was a bit leaky. However, I’m not a picky person when it comes to hotels, so long as its clean and warm, I’m happy. At less than £50 a night in London, booked via Expedia, with breakfast included, and so near to a tube station, really I couldn’t complain. Give me free croissants and I’m happy.
Nothing could be as bad as the easy hotel we stayed in the last time we were in London anyway. That place was noisy, had no windows, and you could barely swing a cat in the small room!
After we’d dumped our stuff in the room, and Jay had gotten into a fight with the safe: which ended with us calling reception because it wouldn’t stop beeping and getting someone to show us how to use it properly, we took a little tube journey to Oxford Circus. We wandered from there to Piccadilly Circus, taking in the sights which included a visit to Hamley’s toy store (just for fun!) taking in the awesome Lego Movie characters in the windows, and a pretty building which looked very historical and interesting. To me anyway:
Sometimes I don’t think that Jay is amused with my random interest in random buildings and stuff, but I take pictures of anything that takes my fancy at the time. I’m amused with the black taxi cab that ended up in this photo, very Sherlock XD.
We did end up in that awesome area of London where the big advertising billboard is (used in the opening credits of BBC’s Sherlock) however my pictures of that at night time are so much more impressive than the one I took on the first day, so those will be posted later.
For the first night, we wandered off in the area around our hotel, led by my amazing sense of direction to the nearest Bella Italia. I would not recommend that particular branch, the service was slow, our food took an hour to arrive, and Jay’s burger was very poorly cooked. My carbonara was awesome though, but we declined to leave a tip as the service was terrible – I’m also of the opinion that in the UK, staff are paid a minimum wage as it is, so tipping seems totally unnecessary. In the UK I only bother if the staff member is particularly friendly and helpful to the point that I feel they deserve a tip. In America, during our visit to Last Vegas, it was a totally different culture – the staff really need those tips to make a decent wage. The staff in America’s restaurants were all so much more friendly and welcoming than they are in the UK anyway, so it makes it easy to like them and give them a little extra.
We took the tube back after that, because I had memorised the map for the way to the restaurant, but not the way back -_-”
More to come of our trip later, including the London eye, Parliament Square, the Tower of London and my Sherlock location pictures 😀