Shamelessly stealing the famous naming convention from F.R.I.E.N.D.S., but this is the pilot and finale combined in the same episode. London is definitely one place everyone should not miss. But there is an overwhelming economic factor that comes as part of the parcel when one does decide to visit this bustling city on the banks of River Thames. Fear not, there is so much one could do in London for just as much as £20 or sometimes, just a day travel card.
It must be hard to believe that one could visit London for literally that cheap. Well, before I hit you with all that shock, here is a bit of my first impression of London. Being from a BIG Busy city myself and having lived in a crowded cities only until Dundee happened, (to be honest, even villages in India are much more crowded than Dundee, but such is life), London was a welcome change from Dundee. If cities were food and one were to visit a restaurant, London would be a dish that contains the very essence of everything that describes a capital city. It was crowded, well lit, noisy, polluted and would justify everything with sky rocketing prices, boring holes in your pocket that you would get used to after just 5 hours in the city. But what really surprised me, was the amount of foreigners in the city. Sure, UK is known to be a popular place for foreign workers and students, but this was on another level. The roads, the tubes, the buses, Indians – we were EVERYWHERE. In fact, you could hear Hindi, Punjabi or even Tamil being spoken more than English. One would suggest that it is only Karma for the years of colonization India had to endure. Weirdly enough, it felt like being in Mumbai than London – just fancier locations to visit.
When in London, you visit all the popular locations, depending on where you did your research – tripadvisor, google or family and when you visit the city. But all of them are either expensive or turn out to be quite not what you expected. London has way more to offer than just the 30 minute ride on London Eye or the trip down the Thames Cruise. But then, there are loads you could do for free. Especially if you are a potterhead, there is one place you just would not miss. Let me start with it. The House of MinaLima. Located in the heart of Soho, it is known to be a popular prints shop. So what does that have to do with Harry Potter? One could simply sit at home and order stuff off Amazon. Well, theres the twist. The small 2 story shop is more than just a prints shop – it is a free tour gallery, where they have managed to recreate various famous scenes from the Harry Potter movies and with the recent popularity of the prequel, there is equal importance for it as well.
Completely free to go through this gallery. Probably not on par with the Warner Bros. Studio tour, but definitely a gem to go to if you’re a Potterhead. Its free, its harry potter. What more does one want. Oh.. their prints and other fan merchandise are quality and quite cheap as well. Highly recommended. Here is a link to check them out: http://store.minalima.com/house-of-minalima/ But if you are one of those types who likes to spend some of the shiny metal on Harry Potter, then the tour of muggles walking tour is ideal. For just £14, you could get a complete tour of everything Harry Potter that the city has to offer. Time constraints meant I was not in a position to go for it. But maybe some other day. London is all but a small flight away. For now.
Moving on, one could trott a slight bit down the lane to China Town. London has a very vibrant China Town. The recommended time to visit China Town would be post tea. The place is crowded throughout the day, but what makes the crowd bearable post tea are the abundant street performers at offer. Along with its neighboring quarter – Leicester Square. One of the best performances that I witnessed was by this young gentleman who goes by the name – Morf.
Follow his work on YouTube. His dream is to be one of the best tap guitarists in the world and this video illustrates why he has a strong claim for it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtTEDPg-dfw
China town does have a lot to offer. Great food. Lovely sights. Almost everything is instagram worthy. If not for a corruption due to bad internet, I may still have most of my pictures from the visit, but right now, google seems to be my best friend for it.
Credits – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g186338-d211804-i111001477-Chinatown-London_England.html
This image is probably more reason as to why one should visit China Town post tea time.
Here is another performer who was great at China Town during my last visit – https://goo.gl/photos/GvSweKrDjmtPinPDA
What about Leicester Square you ask?
Well, saving the best part of this post for the last. Leicester square is a paradise for the child in you. The M&M shop, The Lego store and Nickelodeon shop are all literally right next to each other. The child in me and almost everyone is screaming. If not, there is seriously something wrong with you and consult a psychiatrist before things become worse.
The best part of the Lego Store? YOU CAN CREATE YOUR FACE IN LEGO!! THEY HAVE A MACHINE WHICH DOES THAT FOR YOU! OMG WHAT IS BETTER THAN THIS?
All these sights would cover an evening perfectly. You could choose to end the day with a walk across the Westminster Bridge – with a perfect view of the Red London Eye.
There is obviously more to do in London. But its better suited to inform through a different media. Keep an eye on Lightbox Memoirs to see more of London and many more. Until next time. Good Bye, now!