On Saturday we decided to take a day trip to London. We live about a 2 hour drive from the center of London. We can get a train however, last minute train tickets are so expensive, so it works out cheaper for us to drive and pay to park. We don’t use the underground we walk everywhere whenever we go. We find you get to see so much more of the city this way. In the summer the tube is so crowded and hot, so we always avoid it.
We would usually go for a weekend and stay the night in either Kensington or Fitzrovia, as these are great locations. Kensington is only a short walk to Hyde Park, so is great if you want to see the ‘green side’ of London. Whereas, Fitzrovi is only about a 10 minute walk to Oxford street, and a 20 minute walk to Covent Garden, so is a great area for shopping.
I love London, its one of my favourite cities, maybe in another post i’ll do a 2 or 3 days in London blog. Let me know if any of you are interested.
We left the house at 8am, stopped for a coffee along the way so arrived at the car park just after 10am. If anyone is thinking of driving, Monday to Friday you will need to pay a congestion charge, we always go after 6pm, or at a weekend so you don’t have to pay. I always use an NCP car park, you can become a member for free and you get discounted pre-pay rates, depending on where in London you park you will pay different rates, on average its about £30-40 for 24 hours.
We first headed to Oxford street while it was quiet and walked west, heading into John Lewis, H&M, Niketown and ending in Selfridges around midday. I love Selfridges, its such a beautiful building. It reminds me of the department stores in New York, with huge window displays and flags flying all around. I had my usual look at the handbags, I can’t afford, and headed to the jewellery, I can’t afford, and then to the food hall.
The food hall is amazing, I could spend hours looking at all of the different produce from all around the world. We stopped for a quick drink, and then started to make our way towards Chinatown, we walked back along Oxford Street and down Regent street, it was much quieter away from all of the shoppers. This is where all of your more ‘high-end’ shops are.
We decided we were getting a bit hungry, so headed away from the main tourist area to look for a lunch spot. We always avoid any chain restaurants, these are so expensive, and London has such an amazing food scene, you will find much better places just a minutes walk away.
We walked along the street parallel to Piccadilly Circus, and found this tiny Korean BBQ restaurant. I first ate Korean food when I was in New York, and we loved it, so was very excited to try it again.
We walked in and was seated at a table, surrounding us was local Koreans so we knew straight away this was the real deal. We spent about half an hour looking at the menu, as everything sounded so good, They have lots to choose from, they have bbq chicken, beef, pork, lamb, or seafood, noodle dishes and curries.
We eventually settled on chicken marinated with a house spicy sauce, and a beef dish, along with some steamed rice. It was so good, it wasn’t too spicy, so you could taste all of the elements. I couldn’t believe it when we received the bill, it was only £28.50. Which is so cheap for the center of London.
Will full tummies we headed towards Chinatown. The first thing you see is a huge arch welcoming you, I always feel like the vibe changes as soon as you cross under the arch. We headed into a Chinese supermarket, I love looking at all of the different fruits and vegetables outside. Inside they had a huge shelf with hundreds of instant noodle pots, nothing like a pot noodles you can buy in Tesco’s.
They also have a humongous meat and fish counter, it has so many varieties, along with live lobster and eel to choose from. It’s such a great experience, to see how different our Chinese take away is to the real thing.
Last time I went I bought a bamboo steamer for £3, and some dumpling wrappers as Martin is obsessed with dumplings! Chinatown is must do whenever you are in London.
We then walked towards Covent garden and up through Soho, popping into some shops along the way, and picking up some drinks, as it was quite humid.
We got back to the car about 5 or 6ish, and then headed home absolutely exhausted.
It was such a great day trip, there is so much you can do in London that doesn’t have to be expensive.