First Day in London

July 31, 2016

Surprise! I am in London, England!

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I travelled all of yesterday to get here! From Atlanta, GA, I flew 7 ½ hours to The London-Heathrow Airport.

 

Since this was the first time I had ever been to the international terminal at the Atlanta airport, I had no idea how busy it was going to be. My dad and I got there at 2:30pm just to be safe for out 5:45pm flight.

 

We checked in our bags at Virgin Atlantic Airlines and was pleasantly surprised at how small the line was. Looking over at Delta’s 200+ person line and relief washed over us.

The security line was also (thankfully) short, and we passed through everything in under 5 minutes.

 

This gave us a lot of time at the terminal. We grabbed an early dinner at Ecco, an American-Italian restaurant that was a bit pricey, but looked the best out of all the options (there were 5 other places in the food court…)

It wasn’t my favourite food, but it defiantly tasted good. Our waitress talked us into eating fried goat cheese balls (yes they are as good as they sound) and we each got steak with a salad.

Luckily, my dad and I had exit row seats (51A and C), which allowed us to have more leg room/space to move around (tall people problems).  There was a small ledge that was by my seat, but it worked out for the best because I got to prop my feet up on it

7 ½ hours later, we taxied our way into the terminal and the seat belt sign turned off and we were allowed to stand.

We got off the plane as quickly as we could, and rushed to immigration/customs. The line was SUPER long! We later learned that there is a rule that says no plane can land before 6:30am. This means that the flood gates open.

After filing through, we grabbed our bags and headed towards the Express Tram to Central London. Kids are free, but adults are £25 for 2 passes.

 

15 minutes later, we arrived at Paddington Station.

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One train ride later, we arrived at St. James Station and walked 500ft to our hotel the Conrad Hilton.

Our view from the hotel:

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The hotel is super nice-there are lemon and strawberry bom-bom candies in glass bowls and fresh lemon infused water. We were able to check in early and stow our bags in our room.

Since we had been up for over 24 hours, we took a nap until 12pm. London on a Sunday isn’t very busy in the morning so we had nothing to worry about.

 

Our first stops were Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Palace of Westminster. These 3 landmarks are really close to each other. I only got to the outsides but hopefully later this week I can go explore inside.

 

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We walked by the Horses Guard Palace and other small streets, but today (of all days) was a special bike race that took up the entire day. This meant that we had to stay on one side of the street or wait in a huge cluster the cross the street.

 

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Our next stop was The National Gallery.

 

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This museum is huge! It has tons of old European paintings. There were tons of portraits and depictions of the Holy Bible. A lot of the paintings were extremely realistic. A lot of similarities I saw were angels, babies, crosses, elaborate dresses, gold, and naked bodies.

 

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My favorite section was Van Gogh (of course…he’s my favorite artist). They only had 5 paintings, but I got to see his famous Sunflower Painting. There were a bunch of people swarming it, so I didn’t get the clearest view I was hoping for, but I enjoyed the swirling colors from afar.

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By 3:30pm, we decided to get a quick lunch/early dinner. Since London has lots of Indian influence (from when India was a British Colony) we knew Indian food was a specialty. One highly rated one was Salt n’ Pepper. We decided to stop in and grab a bite.

The service was slow, but the food was amazing. We orded the chicken wings, two lamb curry dishes, and a side of rice.

The lamb curry was so flavuorful and spicy, it was unlike anything I have had before. I am not too accustomed with Indian food but I loved the heat it brought. Check this place out for a nice stop in!

 

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Next Up: The National Portrait Gallery. This museum had exactly what is sounds like; portraits! They had ones from hundreds of years ago, up until modern day. I enjoyed the contemporary art more, so here are some of my favorite pieces.

 

 

 

We ended our self guided walking tour by going to Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. I really enjoyed the statue out front and the golden encrusted gates. I also got to see the changing of the guards which was neat to watch.

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After a quick and beautiful walk in the park, we ended back at our hotel. Tomorrow I have to get up early for another adventures so I’m hitting the hay early tonight!

 

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What do you think of London? What are your favorite spots? Let me know in the comments!

 

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