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[ Travel date : November 2023 ]

LONDON !!! Ahhh, the city that's like a magnet for travelers worldwide! It's got this unique blend of old charm and modern buzz that just draws you in. You know, it's like that friend you haven't seen in ages but the moment you meet, it's like no time has passed at all. It's no wonder people from all over the world are head over heels for this place! 


So, there I was, staring at my calendar and thinking, 'Why not spend it in London?' I mean, who wouldn't want to dive headfirst into this fascinating city? Plus, I had a friend there, so it was the perfect excuse for a visit! So I took 15 days off from work, punched in my leave, packed my bags, and off I went. And let me tell you, I must've had some good karma because I snagged those flight tickets at a steal—16,000 Rs. only! I mean, if I could get tickets at that price every time, I'd be hopping on a plane to London every year!

Stepping off the plane, I felt a chilly breeze that made me reach for an extra jacket. As it was almost end of November, the weather was quite cold. Upon reaching to my friend's apartment in Feltham-a small town on London's west side-I found that it was a cozy and peaceful place, with friendly vibes, local shops, and quiet streets.

The Shard, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square
On my very first day in London, I made a dash for the Shard, that pointy skyscraper you can't miss. From up there, it was like I had London at my feet, literally! From 72nd floor of the building, I had a scenic view of all the big shots like London Bridge, the Tower of London, and the grand old Big Ben. Even the River Thames looked like a winding ribbon from way up high! The experience was akin to watching a trailer before diving into the full movie. Trust me, it was so COOL! I almost felt like I could reach out and grab a souvenir postcard of the city. Which I did- I made sure to snag a map of London from the souvenir shop.(it felt like a must-have for my adventures!)

And talk about reaching new heights—going to both the Burj Khalifa and the Shard in the same year was like hitting the skyscraper high! From the soaring majesty of Dubai's tallest tower to the breathtaking views atop London's own architectural marvel, it was a year of literal highs and dizzying sights. Who needs a plane when you can conquer the world one skyscraper at a time. Right?

After taking in the sights from The Shard, I hit up central London for some exploration. My first stop was Trafalgar Square, a super famous spot right by the National Gallery. It's got the famous Nelson's Column, surrounded by majestic lion statues, and often serves as a hub for events and celebrations. After Trafalgar Square, I continued my exploration of central London, hitting up Covent Garden and strolling down Oxford Street. The whole place was decked out with twinkling Christmas lights, and there were massive Christmas trees everywhere you looked.

As I strolled around, I felt the holiday vibes sneaking in on me like a surprise present. People were out and about, shopping, munching on chocolate strawberries, enjoying various street performances and even hitching rides on those funky "pedicabs" with colorful lights and decorations. I figured I needed a little pick-me-up to ward off the chill, so I grabbed a coffee from Pret—a temporary warmth solution that was almost as good as a hug from a friendly snowman!

After all that exploring, the hunger pangs kicked in and I headed to "Dishoom" for dinner —a spot known for its awesome Indian food with a modern twist. The place was buzzing, and the food? Let's just say my taste buds were in for a treat! I had to wait for over 45 minutes in the cold, but ngl, it was worth it! Definitely a must-visit spot, even if you have to brave a bit of a wait.

The London Eye & The Big Ben
 

The next day, I decided to check out the famous London Eye. It is a giant 'merry-go-round' that gives you a bird's-eye view of the city. Visiting here on a Saturday, we found the place jam-packed with people, which kind of took away some of the excitement. But, even with all the chaos, the London Eye was still pretty awesome!


To add a sprinkle of joy to my day, I hopped on the carousel nearby. You know, one of those classic rides with prancing horses and whimsical music? For a moment, I felt like a kid again. London sure knows how to sprinkle some magic into your day!
 

Right in front of the London Eye stands the iconic Big Ben, towering proudly over the city skyline. This majestic clock tower is actually part of the Palace of Westminster, which houses the UK Parliament. When the sun hits the golden-hued exterior of Big Ben just right, it's like the tower comes alive, gleaming and sparkling against the blue sky. It's a sight that never fails to mesmerize, especially on a clear day.
 

And of course, we can't forget about THE CLOCK! The Great Clock of Westminster, housed within Big Ben, is one of the largest and most famous clock faces in the world. With its intricate design and precision timekeeping, the clock has become a symbol of London's rich history and timeless charm.

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After having my lunch, I realized I was really close to the Baker Street. Now, how could I possibly pass the chance to visit THE 221B BAKER STREET—yep, 'Sherlock Holmes' stomping ground. It was like stepping into the series. And guess what? Right there, next to the famous address, was a souvenir shop. Talk about serendipity! I couldn't resist popping in for a peek. Next thing I knew, I was walking out with a hefty £59 bill! It was a splurge, sure, but it made my day—and that's what counts!

P.S. Seeing the adorable little violin miniature on my desk brings me joy every day.

As soon as I stepped out, I stumbled upon a bakery shop called GAIL's. Let me tell you, I absolutely adored their coffee and Croissant. In fact it was so good that whenever I came across this shop - which was almost every other day- I couldn't resist grabbing a cup.

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During my trip, I explored central London almost every day. And every time I went out, I stumbled upon a new street all dressed up for Christmas! Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Carnaby Street were my top picks. They were filled with cool decorations that made me feel like I was in a winter wonderland.

And you know what's the best part? You can hop on any bus and simply cruise through all the streets, taking in the breathtaking sights from the cozy comfort of your seat. It's the perfect way to soak up the festive atmosphere and marvel at the twinkling lights illuminating the city.
 

And if you're a shopping fanatic like me, Oxford Street in London is an absolute paradise! But here's a little heads-up: you better keep a tight grip on your wallet because once you step foot into a shop, there's no telling what you might end up buying on a whim. It's like being caught in a whirlwind of temptation as you wander through the stores. So, consider yourself warned—Oxford Street has a magical way of making your shopping desires come to life, whether you're ready for it or not!

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St. James's Park & the Buckingham Palace

The next day was a delightful adventure exploring St. James's Park and Buckingham Palace. The weather was on my side, with a gentle drizzle adding to the charm of the day. As I strolled through St. James's Park, the air was filled with a misty fog, giving the park a dreamy atmosphere. The ground was carpeted with large autumn leaves, painting a picture-perfect scene.

After exploring St. James's Park, I made my way to The Buckingham Palace. A huge, fancy palace with guards standing watch outside, and flags flying high. It's like the ultimate royal crib, right in the middle of London.