Monday, October 5, 2015

10 London "Must-do's" from the Study Abroad Student

School is in full swing, and although I have great classes, I can't help thinking back to my last semester in Europe. Right now I am dreaming of London. I was able to live in London for a month, and let me just tell ya, not one minute was wasted. After boring my family to death about how wonderful it is, I decided to make a list of things I would take them to see and do if we ever went on a family vacation to London (we can all wish, right?).  So here is my list of activities you must do while you are in London:

1. Portobello Road
I LOVE Portobello Road (cue in Bedknobs and Broomsticks music). Visit on a Friday or Saturday afternoon and you will see the shops in full swing.  I bought most of my London souvenirs from here (including bags, rings, shirts, and a teapot.  I'm still not sure how I got all of that back hah!). Every stand is something new and amazing to gawk at, so give yourself plenty of time.  Portobello Road is the first place I would run to off the plane, just trust me, it's amazing. I pretty much bawled the whole way back to our flat the last time we visited.

2. Head to the Theater
Sadly, in my entire month of living in London, I only went to one play, WICKED.  It was so so good.  I highly recommend going to at least one play while you are in London. We were lucky and bought cheap seats and were able to move up because there were a lot of extra seats in the theater, so if the play looks like it will be a empty, keep that in mind.

3. The Fish and Chips Experience
Yummmmmm. This picture is making me so hungry.  To be honest, I love the food in England.  Everyone thinks it is so boring, but I really liked it a lot, especially the fish and chips.  You have not been to England if you do not have fish and chips at least once.  Many of the places to get fish and chips will be pretty expensive, we went to a pub on Portobello Road and had a good sized meal for £8, and it was worth it.  Try to find fish and chips for around £7 or £8 (this way it is worth the money, but not too over priced).

4. Abbey Road
"Here comes the sun, do doo do doo." Okay, okay, yes it is just a road.  But Abbey Road is so fun to visit and take a picture just like the Beatles. This is probably on the bottom of my to do list, but it sure makes for a good picture!
Also, remember that this road is still used, so don't get hit by a car hah.

5. Tea
Pull out your party dresses and huge hats girls, cause it's tea time.  Don't miss out on a lovely experience of sipping tea and eating biscuits with clotted cream.  Just like the fish and chips, it is difficult to balance money and experience here.  We went to Tea and Tattle, a cute little bookshop and tea room. My friend, Becca and I shared a Traditional Tea - two teas, two sandwiches, two scones, & two cakes for £29.50, which was the perfect amount of food, and at a good price.  Be sure to do your research and find somewhere that has good reviews and that is in your price range.  Also, another quick tip from Gretta here, don't forget to go to the bathroom before you leave, hah I literally almost peed my pants on the Tube (bad bladder + lots of liquid = a close one).

6. "The Walk"
Everyone who goes to London must take "the walk".  Start by strolling through Hyde Park, visit Buckingham Palace, then walk through the streets of London until you run into Westminster Abbey and see the famous Big Ben clock.  Finish by walking out on the bridge that crosses the Thames River. There is a tube stop close by to get you back to your room.

7. Thames River Cruise
I love river cruises.  I did one in London and one in Paris. They were so relaxing after a full day of walking, and I ended up learning a lot from the guides. We grabbed some hot chocolate from a Starbucks nearby and hopped onto one of these boats.  It was fun to see the city at a different point of view.  

8. The London Eye
Just like the river cruise, the London Eye sure gives you a different perspective.  This Ferris wheel-like ride is one of the highest view points in London.  On a clear day, you can see 25 miles from the top of the London Eye.  This ride will take about 30 minutes total.  I was skeptical to spend money on the London Eye, but it gave me a very good layout of the city in my mind, so try and go on this at the beginning of your visit to London so that you can get your bearings to navigate around this amazing city.

9. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a little bit out of the way (about an hour train ride from London), so I wouldn't recommend visiting if you have limited days in the city.  Kew Gardens is an amazing place to visit, consisting of 300 acres of exotic gardens. I truly enjoyed strolling around the gardens and greenhouses, it was nothing like I had ever seen before.  Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

10. Hyde Park
Oh Hyde Park, how I miss you.  I was in Hyde Park almost every day of my trip to London.  There is something amazing about that place.  I ran or biked in Hyde Park all the time (I highly recommend renting a bike, sooooo much fun).  Hyde Park is very safe, and I was grateful I could have alone time in such a beautiful place.  Hyde Park is my favorite place in London.  I will personally hunt you down if you do not go to Hyde Park when you visit London. You get the point? Okay good. Go to Hyde Park.

London is such an amazing city!  Don't miss out on these 10 life changing experiences on your visit. And if you are going to London soon, I am extremely jealous.  Be sure to eat some fish and chips and stroll around Hyde Park for me.


  1. Awww, I miss London, used to live there as a kid. Crossed that abbey road crossing literally every day. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Hahah, you should write out the story of that tube trip after the tea shop. Sounds funny. What happened?

    1. Thank you! I miss it so much too! And that's about it with the tea story haha! I barely made it back to our flat, it was a close one lol. But it was worth it!
      Thanks for the comment!

    2. Haha could your friends or strangers on the tube tell you were having a struggle?

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