I love London! It’s a beautiful city and everyone has a cool accent :). This was my 2nd time being in London, and it was my 3rd stop on my 2014 solo adventure. The first time I went to England/United Kingdom I actually stayed in Leeds, chillin’ with my friend who was studying abroad at Leeds University (which was crazy by the way – the university even had its own dance club). During that 1st trip to London, we only spent about 5 hours there, and all I remember doing was shopping and conquering a 1-mile trek to Chipotle. Here is a photo grid of my first journey in Leeds/London:
A summary of my Leeds trip back in 2012…
This time, my friend Andy graciously let me stay at his place for 3 nights. I actually met Andy when I was traveling in Hong Kong, which goes to show great friendships can blossom while you’re out and about!
What To See in London, England
I took a RyanAir flight from Venice to London for $30.85 and took a transfer bus from Stansted Airport to Victoria Coach Station for $19.93 via National Express.
When I got to Victoria Coach Station I was a bit lost, but luckily I found some Wi-Fi to connect to and contacted my friend Andy. I was so happy to see him!
Let me just say, I was exhausted. I basically stayed up all night the night before, talking to travelers in Venice at the Generator Venice hostel, and I was running on perhaps an hour of sleep. We took the tube (their subway) to Tooting Bec and walked a million miles to my friend’s place. I don’t know how he commutes to work every day – it was cold and tiring walking those steps.
If you want to take the tube as transportation, you should either get a Travelcard or a Visitor Oyster Card. Fortunately, Andy lent me an extra Oyster card that I got to recharge – but click here to see which Tube card option is best for you.
When we got to his place we ate salami and crackers, and smoked salmon and English muffins for lunch. Why are these treats so delicious?! Maybe I’m just strange but I’ve never had these foods paired together. They totally hit the spot.
Salami and Crackers…Yum…
Phantom of the Opera – West End
Before even arriving to London, I had made plans with Andy to watch 2 musicals – Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and The Phantom of The Opera. We bought the tickets for about $40 for Phantom and under $20 for Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. I found this unreal; normally in New York and San Francisco, ticket prices for Phantom of the Opera would be at least $80 and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory would probably be around $50+. I did find these prices online – so if you were to go out and buy them at London’s West End (where the musicals are) you’re probably not going to get this amazing deal.
I believe I purchased my tickets here – grab your London musical tickets there for those slick deals!
We took the tube and went to London’s West End to check out the show.
Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre
I was kind of sleepy because of the all-nighter I pulled, but I was still hooked. The show was truly captivating regardless. I have to say London’s cast was better than the San Francisco musical casts I’ve seen, though they’re both amazing.
Korean Food in London
After watching Phantom of the Opera, Andy and I checked out a Korean restaurant. I got kimchi fried rice and it was delicious, but the meal ended up costing around $30 USD! I think this is pretty much the norm in London. Though it was expensive, I was thoroughly satisfied. I honestly did not explore much of London’s foods as I kept either eating Korean meals or salami and crackers 🙂
Afterwards we worked on some music as he’s a DJ/producer and I’m a singer!
Shake Shack, M&M World, Pool Hall/Arcade
On the 2nd day, we met up with Andy’s friends, Yeji, Margo, and Jaime, and they took me to Shake Shack, M&M World, and this pool hall/arcade. There are actually a bunch of pool hall/arcade places. It’s pretty cool that there’s so much to do in London (unlike where I live).
I was surprised they had a Shake Shack. But the Shake Shack in London was so expensive and delivered such small portions! In USD currency, it was $8 for a burger, $4.25 for a coke, and $4.50 for fries. Therefore, I paid about $17 for a fast food meal?! Pretty crazy. That’s about 3 times an In-N-Out meal from California.
Yeji and I waiting for our food!
Check out these small ass portions
Through my amazing selfies, Yeji was convinced she needed to get a selfie stick.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
After hanging out with Andy’s friends, we took a bus to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. If you like Harry Potter, or actually even if you don’t, you should still check out Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I was straight up in awe. While I was writing this post I decided the Harry Potter Studio Tour deserves its own post…so stay tuned!
For now, here is us having the time of our lives at the Great Hall:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
On the 3rd day out in London, Andy went to work so I got to explore solo. I ate some Korean food (again), and went to a free Science Museum. I was only there for an hour before I left to check out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Andy liked this musical better than the Phantom of the Opera, but if I’m going to be real, it was good but not good enough…It didn’t stick with the original plot lines of the movie, so I was actually a bit disappointed by the changes. 🙁
After the show, we went to a bar, practiced my English slang, and Andy later realized he couldn’t find his wallet. He panicked as we searched around thinking his wallet had gotten stolen, but an hour later Andy realized it was in his pocket -_- haha.
London, England is awesome, but expensive! More expensive than all the other countries I was in during my Europe 2014 trip. But I must say there isn’t a shortage of things to do out there. I got to make some new friends, hang out with Andy, and I was able to pick up on some English slang (maybe I should post about it later). Hope this guide on what to see in London helps, and let us know in the comments what you like to do out in London!