After spending the majority of my summer traveling to Hawaii and Europe, I finally started my full blown adult life in one of the most spectacular cities in the world -- LONDON! This city has always been on the top of my bucket list for years now and I was so excited to get the opportunity to not only visit, but actually live and work here for a short period of time. In late July, I was flown to London to attend a graduate training program for my new job, where I lived in the city center for three short, but amazing weeks. Although I spent the majority of my time working, I was able to carve out a significant amount of free time on the weekends to explore the city for the very first time with a few of my new friends. Compared to other European cities I visited in the past two months, London is probably the most similar to New York City in terms of style, culture and overall energy. There is honestly so much to see in London, and despite having stayed in the city for quite a while, I was not able to visit all that London had to offer, so a return trip is already in the works for the future...
Shout out to all the most amazing people and friends I have met from all around the world. You guys are the main reason why I genuinely fell in love with this city as much as I did and I can't wait to see what the future holds for all of us :)
Below I have shared a few of my favorite memories during my time here and list of the major and must not miss things to do if this is your first time in London!
London Eye: My friends and I were initially conflicted with the decision to go on the Eye since prices are a bit steep (24 pounds). However, we all agreed after that riding the Eye was one of the best decisions we made in London. It takes the ferris wheel approximately 30 minutes to complete a full rotation and the views are simply breathtaking. I recommend going during nightfall, since everything is completely lit up and you are able to pretty much see the entire city. The capsules are a bit crowded, since they try to stuff as many people as possible, so stick to a spot early on (preferably one where you can see Big Ben)!
Big Ben and Waterloo Bridge: Seeing London's most notable landmark in person for the very first time was such an exciting experience. Southbank is definitely my favorite and most frequently visited area since it is home to both Big Ben and the London Eye. Make sure you take a stroll on the Waterloo Bridge....it provides the most impressive views from both sides!
Museums, Museums, Museums:
To be honest, I am not much of a museum lover (sorry mom!), but since London is home to some of the world's best museums, I knew that it would have been a regret if I did not visit at least a couple during my stay. I spent the majority of a Saturday with my boyfriend, bouncing from museum to museum, exhibit to exhibit, and actually enjoyed my time there. The best thing about it was that all of the museums are free, so you do not need to choose between paying an admission ticket or having that mid-day pastry snack (lets face it, food always wins...)
National Portrait Gallery
Imperial War Museum
Harrods: Harrods is simply every shopaholic's dream and worst nightmare all wrapped in one place. It is a massive luxury department store that features every big and couture designer under the sun with some very hefty price tags. Although I did not purchase anything from Harrods, it was so much fun exploring all the floors and mentally making wish lists for everything I saw and loved.
Buckingham Palace: Of course a trip here is incomplete without a visit to Buckingham Palace. My friends and I briefly stopped by the palace after our picnic at Hyde Park, and quickly snapped a few shots before moving on to Harrods. The Victoria Memorial, a fountain, is across the street from Buckingham and offered a great rest stop for us to take a breather and cool down from the heat wave that occurred in London that week.
Walk the City: One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new place is putting on a pair of sneakers, grabbing my camera and walking as far and seeing as much as I possibly can. I definitely got my new found love for traveling on foot through my time spent with Jess in France last month (read about our adventures here) since she would often convince me to skip the public transportation, and instead just to explore on foot. I loved seeing the different architecture that engulfs this city, from the sleek modern buildings of The Shard and The Gherkin, to the more historic buildings that are around every corner. There are free walking tours that are offered by various companies in London which are great for first time visitors who would like to see all the big tourist attractions! These tours do get filled up pretty fast, so make sure you book in advance in order to secure your spot.
And this is the final chapter of my post-grad summer adventures in Europe! Thank you guys so much for reading our posts and supporting our blog since our launch in April. Although our traveling will be slowed down for the next couple of months while we settle in with the start of our corporate careers; we promise that we have some equally exciting and inspiring new content as we head back to our home base...New York City!