London calling! – 5 Days in London
This year our colleague Jörg from the sales team took advantage of a long weekend and flew to London. It’s Jörg’s passion to explore foreign cities and London has been on his list for a long time. Always at his side, his beloved Fujifilm X-T2. And of course he also had one of his Oberwerth bags with him. His choice for the city trip: The FREIBURG and our RHEIN camera strap.
We asked Jörg to tell us a little bit about his trip to London, his experiences and what impressed him most. Here are his personal tips for UK’s capital:
Day 1 – Arrival
Cologne, Terminal 2: The plane is on time, the weather is fine – cabin crew, all doors in flight! Almost 2 hours later we gently arrive at Stansted Airport in the north of London. In a typically English manner, we are welcomed polite: “Good evening. Have you had a pleasant flight?”. Admittedly, the connection of Stansted Airport to the city centre is rather developable, but with a little planning in advance, everything works out fine. We chose the “Stansted Express” and reached our destination 50 minutes later: Liverpool Street Station. Finally: Welcome to London!
Since we arrived at our hotel shortly before midnight, we only went around the block for a short walk and familiarized ourselves with the area. Then we went to bed, the next day should be exhausting.
Day 2 – Strolling through London
Our hotel was in Liverpool Street, centrally located in the banking district of London. From here you can explore the city very well on foot in 3-4 hours. So we decided to grab our cameras and stroll through the city.
First stop: Borough Market. Borough Market, located south and parallel to the River Thames, makes your heart, or rather the stomach, beat faster. Already since the 13th century, the market stands for all kinds of culinary delicacies. Today it is popular with tourists and Londoners alike and is definitely worth a visit. Whether street food or delicatessen, whether sweet or savoury, at Borough market every visitor will find something for his taste.
Sated and totally overwhelmed by the countless dishes on Borough Market, we strolled along the River Thames towards Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, Big Ben was some kind of “wrapped”, but we could see a typical spectacle at gates of the palace. As a tourist you might only know it from movies, but the traditional guards are something very special and fascinating in reality. Like unreal they stand at the gates of the palace, combining the historical charm of the monarchy with the modern and fast-moving London of 2018. Another very interesting attraction is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.
Buckingham Palace is located between the three famous parks of London and surrounded by green spaces – whether St. James Park, Green Park or the straggly Hyde Park – here you can get away from the stress of the city and relax for some minutes. Particularly impressive is the accurate planting, as you would expect from an English garden. Through Hyde Park you reach the directly connected Kensington Garden. At the western end of the garden you will see Kensington Palace, which is still partly inhabited by the royal family.
After a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, we headed back to the River Thames and passed London’s most modern landmark – the London Eye. If you have enough time, you can certainly get a great view over the city. But the almost 2 hours waiting time and 35€ entrance fee put us off.
Day 3 – Hop on, hop off wherever you want
Hop on, hop off buses are also highly recommended. These actually exist in all European capitals. They usually run on 2-3 fixed routes through the central city centre. Admittedly, a tour by bus is not exactly cheap, but if you use the principle as a means of transport (hop on, hop off), the ticket pays off. You pass the most important sights and can get out and on the spur of the moment wherever you want. In London, each provider offers 4 different tours. If you choose a provider, you can participate in all tours with one ticket.
Accordingly, one is quickly everywhere at the hot spots of the city. We were lucky to be in London over the weekend, because on Sundays the city offers a unique highlight and a must-see for every tourist. At Speaker’s Corner at the northern exit of Hyde Park everybody is invited to speak out about what’s on ones mind . From denouncing current grievances, to religious messages, to crazy nonsense. Everyone has the right to their opinion, and this is made known to the listening audience at the Speaker’s Corner. Probably unique in the world and immensely fascinating.
Another highlight is the Notting Hill district. The colourful facades and flowery front gardens are beautiful and invite you to stroll around. If you are in the area, you should definitely visit the Portobello Road Market. At the market you will find all kinds of clothes, antiques and food. But the hustle and bustle is more interesting than the goods.
After walking around Notting Hill, we visited Westminster Abbey at the end of the day. The church does not belong to a diocese, but is a separate church of the British royal family. Traditionally, the kings of England are crowned here. If you plan to visit Westminser Abbay, be aware: A waiting time of 2 hours should be planned in any case. But this is worth it! The magnificent church contains the tombs of Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking, among others – a special honour, as normally only noblemen and monarchs are buried in Westminster Abbey.
Day 4 – A day in the name of consumption
Of course, I need to mention something that came way too short so far: London offers plenty of ways to spend your money in shopping! Let’s start on Piccadilly Circus and work our way up: The Piccadilly Circus owes its name to its round design, which is reminiscent of a circus ring. From Piccadilly Circus, streets flow in all directions. The square serves as an absolute hub in London’s West End. In addition to the typical shops and stores that can be found in almost every city centre, there are a few shops that stand out in particular, and which impressed me very much! Therefore I refer here only to my highlights.
Leaving Piccadilly Circus east over Coventry Street you reach China Town after a few meters. In short: Another world one can’t describe but have to experience. The Lego Mega Store and M&Ms World are located directly adjacent to China Town. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, both stores are absolutely impressive. You feel transported back to your childhood and after a short time overwhelmed by the bright colours.
Returning to Piccadilly Circus and taking the western exit to Regent Street, you automatically walk towards an even more impressive shop: Hamleys. Hamleys is the oldest toy store in the world and offers on 6 floors everything that makes children happy – and even some adults. There’s nothing that doesn’t exist. Singing salesmen, play corners, costumes, and and and and… In my opinion, an absolute must for every visit to London and an unforgettable experience.
Day 5 – Back to Germany
After 4 days of sightseeing in London, the way home was on 5th day’s agenda. But not without saying goodbye to England’s most common food. The absolute MUST for every Englang trip, a portion of fish & chips!
To sum it up
London is definitely worth a visit and will certainly not have seen me the last time. The city is so multifaceted that I don’t even have the feeling of having seen everything. The international flair, the many cultures, the traditional royal family and modern architecture – London is a metropolis and offers a feeling that in Germany, if at all, is perhaps best reached through Berlin. If you have ever thought about a visit, I can only say: “What are you waiting for? London is calling!”
Last but not least, I’ll just let some pictures speak! 🙂