The only plan I had for today was to see the Palace of Westminster/Big Ben and then just walk around in the general vicinity and see what came up. I told you, I am not going to go mad trying to cram in a huge list of things to see and do. I never planned to visit London and whatever I see while I’m here is a bonus!
Here’s Kensal Green station, where I waited a few minutes for my train this morning. Those stairs were heavy yesterday with my bags, and there’s another flight after!
Guess where I had to transfer for the Jubilee line?
From the Jubilee line, I got off at Westminster and this was what greeted me when I came out of the station:
I have to say Big Ben is nowhere near as tall as I had expected. In fact, I think Ottawa’s Peace Tower is more impressive. 😀 But wow! Now I knew for sure I was really in London!
First glimpse of the London Eye.
London is super easy to get around in. There are maps and signage galore. I never felt a need to get a paper map, ask for directions, or look up anything on my phone (which I couldn’t do anyway since I didn’t get a SIM card after all).
I was famished by this time so I eagerly looked at restaurant menus trying to find somewhere that would do something I’d actually want to eat for breakfast (ie. savoury and not involving eggs). I came to the pretty Caffe Concerto and was so grateful that I can afford to eat somewhere so pretty and with a menu that appealed to me. I’m being mindful of what I’m spending, but can relax and treat myself within reason. I know I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy London just a year ago. Can you see me in this picture?
I love the combination of teal and orange!
I enjoyed a ham and cheese croissant, perfectly grilled, with a side of mixed spring greens and a ginormous cafe americano that was so good I didn’t need to add milk to it. Note that the bill includes the tax and tip.
I resumed my walk after. Not sure what this is:
Here’s a name I recognise from Mexico! These are bike rentals.
Jubilee foot bridge. The London Eye is on the other side so I decided that with the weather being decent, I would do it then.
Now, that’s a quintessential view of London!
On the other side of the Thames, this made me laugh.
I had a lot of time to think as I queued to buy my ticket for the London Eye. You can combine a ticket for it with a few other attractions and save money. I’m still mad about losing all my pictures from Madame Tussaud’s in Vegas and rather wanted to see the museum here. Both attractions combined were pricy, something like £63! But I could do a combo of those two and another attraction for just £50. The only other thing on the list that interested me was the London Sea Life Aquarium, and it would essentially be free, with my getting a bit of a break for the other two attractions. So that’s what I bought. I “look forward” to seeing what that cost me in CAD!
After purchasing the ticket, I got to see the London Eye 4D video, which was a lot of fun. It goes as far as to sprinkle you with water!
You’d think I then headed for the London Eye and you’d be wrong. I was advised to do the aquarium first since you have to book a time slot for it. I went in (it’s almost right next to the ticket office for the Eye) and there was no queue and was told there weren’t many people inside. Sounded like just the right time to visit!
The aquarium was a lot smaller than I expected and not something I’d recommend paying full price for. I’ve just been to so many really good aquariums that my standards are pretty high. But it was interesting. It’s hard to get good pictures in aquariums (dark and glare-y), so here’s what I could salvage.
Jelly fish are very peculiar…
I liked all the things in this tank, like this skeleton.
I’m a sucker for turtles!
I had fun watching the little guy on the right climb out of the water and then shove everybody out of the way!
There are sewage changes in the works in London. Right now, overflow sewage goes into the Thames.
Later, it will flow into a tunnel under the Thames.
I enjoyed watching the penguins swim.
This was good to know.
This was an interesting effect, where the floor would “crack” under you.
All told, I spent maybe an hour in the aquarium. One thing I liked was how they adjusted the temperature to the room. It was hot and humid in the “tropics” and down right chilly in “Antarctica!
The aquarium is basically dedicated to educating visitors about non-sustainable fishing practices and how to eat fish in a more environmentally friendly way. I’m glad I visited, but, again, it’s not worth the price of admission. Only go if you can get a deal or if you haven’t been to many aquariums before.
When I came out, it was almost noon and I got into the queue to ride the London Eye…