First morning in London, all fresh from a nice long sleep. By the time we got down to breakfast, Bhavik’s & Vikash’s family had already finished breaky. Today’s plan was to get onto to the Hop on Hop off bus and explore the London sights.
Kids were super excited holidaying with their friends, that is always much more fun than simply hanging out with parents .
Around 10am, we left the hotel in our big group of 12! Stepping outside, the cold London weather welcomed us!
Could not complain about our hotel location (Holiday Inn Mayfair), the Hop On Hop Off bus was just around the corner on Piccadilly Rd. All on the bus by 10:30, as this was the start of the bus line, we got very good seats on the top deck. Whilst the view from above was amazing, one negative was the wind chill factor . Still it was all worth it and some nice snaps we got.
First stop was the Trafalgar Square, in 1998, me and Nita were feeding pigeons there, unfortunately the feeding of the birds has been banned , still an amazing square.
Back on the Bus from Trafalgar square, this time around we were not so lucky with seating, upper deck was very full, got seats in the lower area, should not complain as we did have seats.
Next stop was London Tower Bridge. Lots of pics being taken… again!!
However first was a quick fish n chips stopover, it was already 1pm and we all needed some refuelling! When in London you have to try their fish n chips.
Enough viewing of the Tower Bridge from a distance, time to walk it.
Got lucky in viewing the bridge opening whilst we were on it.
Next stop was the Boroughs Market, only a 15 minute walk from the bridge, herding the group along that way.
Arrived at Boroughs market – was this place busy!!! The market had numerous stalls, selling food, drinks, coffees, chocolates, pastries, fruit & veges, meat, bakeries and everything else!
The three families split up to grab lunch, was two busy to get seating for 4 let alone for 12! We opted for Thai, Doc’s family went Gujarati Indian and Vik n family settled for Steak sandwiches. All agreed this was one of best street food we have had in a while. Food was eaten by all whilst standing, kids were sitting on the ground, too tired to stand.
Food in, then some roaming about which led us to try some amazing organic coffee! Next were the lines of dessert to try and buy!! All done, now to walk to the nearest Ferry stop (Bankside) – our Hop on Hop off ticket included a single Ferry journey. Navigation sorted in google maps, next to herd the group in the right direction. Passing some good sights along the way.
Got to the ferry terminal, only to be told, the Hop On Hop Off ferry did not operate from that stop during the Winter/autumn seasons!! No energy to walk to the other station, decided to simply purchase the single ferry for all to Westminster station that operated from this stop. Ferry ride was good, gave a different view of London from the Thames. Getting off at Westminster stop, we had a great view to the London Eye, and Big Ben, unfortunately Big Ben was under maintenance and was covered with Scaffolding, kids were not too happy about that .
Time to jump back on the Hop on Hop off Bus, next stop was Buckingham palace, more touristy pics.
Was close to 5pm when Buckingham Palace was completed, decided to walk around the place, and ended up at the Royal Souvenir store. Got a couple of souvenirs including a Tea Cup fit for my Queen!
It was then a leisurely walk to the Hotel from Piccadilly circus, the evening’s plan was dinner at Dim-T, a dumpling restaurant overlooking the London Tower Bridge. Along the way, we stopped over at a Coffee Shop for afternoon desserts. Whilst the coffees were average, the desserts were great!
Whilst there, a chance to take a selfie with the red Telephone box!
Arriving at the hotel, Doc, myself and Vik went to our nearest underground station – Green Park (opp our Hotel!), to purchase Oyster cards for all, we needed that tonight to travel to Dim-T via the underground subway system.
A travel inspector kindly assisted us in getting the cards sorted, which included Kids cards being issued with a 50% discount – so far we were very impressed with the English hospitality, people were very willing to help.
Back at the Hotel, quick freshen up, and then to herd the group through the underground system. Kids were fascinated by the deep underground stations and the very long escalators! It was also a LOT of walking!!
Arrived at Dim-T without issues, we were all sooo glad to get indoors, outside was COLD!!! Whilst the Dim sums were very nice, mains were average. The best feature of this place were the amazing views to the Tower Bridge.
Post dinner a good opportunity to take some pics against a great backdrop.
Successfully made our way back to the hotel via the Underground, kids settled into bed, now for the adults to go out – apparently Leicester Square was very active at night.
The 6 of us took the underground (tube) again, time now was around 11:30pm. Love the tube system, so efficient to get from place to place, however be prepared to walk!
Getting out into Leicester Square, this place was indeed very busy, lots of cafes, clubs and a LOT of people!!
Bars and Clubs trying to entice people in, we settled on a club and entered, surprise surprise, the first song we hear is a Punjabi mix!!! This place was awesome, stayed around for a couple of drinks and a few more tunes, it was not entirely Punjabi music, that was a one off, but it was great to have the diversity!
Around 12:30, we decided to walk back to the hotel rather than take the tube, it was a 20 minute walk. Along the way, some dessert and a quick stop at Piccadilly circus. All places still very busy!
A great first day, time to get some much needed sleep, tomorrow was off to the Wembley area to see Little India and visit the Wembley stadium.