I’ve been very quiet over social media for the past few days and that’s because I went on a little weekend away with my boyfriend, Jesse. Last year we went to London to watch Les Misérables and do some sight-seeing – we loved it so much that we decided to do the same thing again this year! So I thought I’d share with you all what we got up to during our time there. Let’s jump straight to it.
We booked coaches to get to and from London as the trains were all cancelled over the weekend due to some works going on. We got up nice and early on Friday morning to give ourselves time to grab a McDonald’s breakfast and then made our way to the coach station. We ended up being really early for our coach because I get super paranoid about being late to things so I give myself way too much time. This gave me the perfect excuse to get coffee so I tried the cold brew vanilla sweet cream from Starbucks – I’ve now fallen in love with this and want it everyday. Is anyone else a massive iced coffee fan?
Our coach left at midday and it was supposed to take around 3 hours but when we got into the centre of London, the traffic was at a complete standstill. The coach driver ended up letting us all get off rather than have to wait in it which was so nice as we probably would have been stuck there for another hour otherwise. The weather was gorgeous and we were pretty close to Hyde Park so we decided to take a walk around there. We walked all the way over to the Italian Water Gardens that Prince Albert gifted to Queen Victoria – this looked so stunning especially in the sunshine and would make a really nice place to just chill out with a book or something.
After our walk we found the nearest tube station and made our way over to our hotel to check in. We stayed in a Travelodge on City Road which is the same hotel we stayed in last year – the price is pretty affordable and the location isn’t too far out from everywhere we needed to get to. The tube makes it so easy to get around, we just used Google Maps to find the nearest tube stations and then used an app called ‘Tube Map’ to find out which tubes we needed to catch from there to get to wherever we wanted to go. On our way to the hotel we popped into a Sainsburys to grab some late lunch to eat in our room. We decided to have a chilled night in the hotel on the Friday as we knew the following night would be a lot busier.
Feeling refreshed after a quiet night in, we got up early again on Saturday morning and got ready for the day. We didn’t have an exact plan as far as daytime went but we knew that we wanted to head towards Oxford Street. We had to change tubes at Kings Cross Station on the way there so I decided that I wanted to have a look around to see if there was anything Harry Potter related as they famously catch the Hogwarts Express from this station in the films. We discovered that although you can’t get to the actual platform without a train ticket, there’s a Harry Potter shop just before the barriers and a trolley ‘going into’ the wall that you can take photos with. The queue was really long to have a photo with the trolley so I gave this a miss but we did wander around the shop. I could have spent thousands in there, there were so many amazing things but I had to restrain myself. I bought a Hufflepuff keyring as a little souvenir and Jesse bought a Hufflepuff bookmark for his sister. If you’re a Potter fan, I’d definitely recommend visiting here as there’s so many amazing things!
Then we carried on to Oxford Street; I like to go here anytime I visit London because I just love the Lush store, it’s three floors of glorious smelling products that you can smell from all the way up the street. I got super excited because they still had the Blackberry Bath Bomb in stock, this has unfortunately been discontinued so I was really happy that there were still some left up for grabs. There were also loads of other bath bombs that aren’t stocked at my local Birmingham Lush store so I got to see and smell some really amazing products. The staff are always super lovely in this store too, two members of staff complimented my outfit (a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and a pinafore) which made me so happy as I love it when people take the time to boost your confidence.
Jesse had spotted a music shop last time we were in London and wanted to visit one this time around as he plays the drums. We Googled the closest ones and went exploring around some of the side streets trailing off from Oxford Street. I’d never walked around these roads before and I thought all of the buildings, restaurants, shops and little cafes were so pretty. I’d definitely like to go back here and check out some of these places properly, there’s just so much to see and do in London that I feel like I could spend absolutely ages there to experience everything. We went into a couple of music shops and then decided to head over towards the River Thames as we didn’t have time to see anything over that way when we went sight-seeing last year.
As we were walking towards the Thames, we were thinking about where to go for lunch when we coincidentally came across a food festival. There weren’t any signs up so I couldn’t say which food festival this actually was other than that it was around South Bank. We decided to have a walk around as we’d never been to a food festival before and now I wish I’d gone to one sooner!
We found it so hard to choose which food to eat because everything looked and smelt absolutely amazing. There were loads of different types of burgers, chips, burritos, curries, vegan dishes and drinks stands – we were spoilt for choice! I ended up going for a chicken and chorizo paella which tasted incredible and reminded me of being on holiday in Spain. Jesse chose a pulled beef burger and we shared some chips fried in duck fat. All of this tasted so amazing and we were completely in our element because well, we love food. We also went to a dessert stand where you could choose your own fruit, chocolate and toppings so we got bananas and strawberries coated in milk and white chocolate with marshmallows and ‘bowl of happiness’ on top. This was honestly heavenly and I was absolutely stuffed afterwards, I was just wishing that I had a bigger stomach so that I could try more food from the other stands because there was such a wide choice.
We carried on over to the Thames after we’d eaten so that we could see the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We spent some time taking photos and enjoying the view and then decided to head back to the hotel to chill out for a bit before we went back out for the night (I snuck in a power nap, naturally). The photo of Jesse and I below demonstrates what happens when you try to take selfies when the sun is out in full force.
Our evening plan was to go out for dinner and then watch Les Miserables so we decided to dress a little bit fancier. I decided to wear my new playsuit from Bershka, you can read more about this lovely clothing website in my blog post here. We got dinner at our favourite restaurant called The Diner on Shaftesbury Avenue, we went here last year and the food was absolutely incredible so we just had to go back. We both got a burger called ‘The Diablo’ which is beef, bacon, cheese, pickles and burger sauce. This is honestly the best burger I’ve ever tasted, we got some chilli cheese fries as well which were also amazing. We ended up being in a bit of a rush to make it to the theatre on time so we were worried about not having time to eat but the service was fast and cheerful and everything was perfect. If you’re ever in London I’d definitely recommend The Diner, there’s quite a few dotted around which is really convenient.
After dinner we rushed over to Queens Theatre just in time to queue up to get in (after somehow going down the wrong road and taking an accidental detour). We saw Les Misérables last year and we absolutely loved it so we decided to go again this year as the cast changes regularly so we wanted to see what the newcomers were like. We decided to get merchandise this year and we both bought t-shirts that say ‘24601’ on which is a reference to the show, I can see me living in this t-shirt because it’s definitely safe to say I’m a big Les Mis fan.
In regards to the show itself, both Jesse and I thought the cast we saw last year were absolutely perfect and everyone shone as performers for us. The cast were all still absolutely amazing this year and they work ridiculously hard which definitely shows in their performances. I will say that we did personally prefer last year’s cast but I do think that a big part of this was the excitement of seeing it for the first time. Les Misérables will always be an amazing show for me, it’s always full of talent and the way it looks on stage is just breath-taking. Obviously I couldn’t take photos of the actual show as this is prohibited but something that always gets me excited is seeing the outside of the theatre.
Sunday was home time for us unfortunately but our coach wasn’t until 4pm so we decided to visit the Natural History Museum. Entry is completely free unless you want to pay for any additional exhibits. There’s so much to see and learn that I couldn’t believe you didn’t have to pay to get in; you can learn all about planets, stars, volcanoes, earthquakes, dinosaurs and plenty of other pieces of history. There’s also a massive skeleton of a blue whale which was pretty impressive. One of the facts we learnt that I found pretty cool was that Saturn would float in water because it’s mainly made up of gas and is less dense than water. This is such a great place to visit if you’re looking for something to do and we managed to see everything within a couple of hours so it won’t necessarily take up a whole day if you’re only in London for a short space of time.
We had a couple more hours to kill after the museum and the weather was lovely again so we went and sat in Kensington Gardens until it was time to head to the coach station. Something I really love about London is the massive parks because in summer it’s great for sunbathing and chilling out and in winter everything looks so festive. I really didn’t want to go home, I definitely want to go back again and again.
So that was my weekend in London – what I want to know is if you’ve been to London, what’s your favourite part?