Duration: A week in June for a study abroad trip
Stayed at: I chose to stay at The London Lodge Hotel in Victorian Kenginston. A great tip for choosing the best place to stay is to make a list of all the places and sights you want to see during your trip. Being able to visualize which location would be the most convenient to stay at is important. I wanted to visit a lot of museums which is why I decided to stay in Kensington. Being walking distance to the Natural History and the Victoria & Albert Museums made my trip a lot more convenient and enjoyable.
The architecture and history behind The London Lodge Hotel added to the great overall experience I had during my stay. Originally built in 1880 as two Victorian residences, The London Lodge takes you back in time as it is filled by elegant decorations and furnishings.
Best Thing I Ate: I ventured out of my typical American Cuisine, which consisted of chicken tenders and burgers, and tried calamari for the first time. In retrospect that was a terrible choice and I crawled back into my shell of fast food. Finally I tried the traditional fish and chips, and it was spectacular.
Best Daytime Activity: My favorite activity was walking through the city and seeing how London is on a day-to-day basis. This included mesmerizing street performers and the Royal Guards. It’s true, they really don’t move! With so many great buildings and views of the river, I found myself enjoying strolling through the streets the most. Letting the streets take you on unplanned adventures is the best way to become one with the city.
Best Night Activity: Taking advantage of the public transportation even at night made London a lot more accessible. Riding the night bus in London was a different kind of experience, compared to riding it during the day. I really enjoyed seeing the difference in the city from during the day to at night.
Trip Highlight: Visiting the Tower of London was is a must-see! Not only is it a great photo opportunity from all angles, it is a nice place to take a walk. There are so many different areas to explore around the bridge itself. The Tower of London museum which is where the royal jewels are located is a great place to spend a good part of your day.
Must-Have: I would not have gotten through London without a map of the tube, because it was absolutely the quickest way to get anywhere. I really enjoyed the ease of being able to get anywhere in the city.
Most Inspiring Part: The most inspiring part was when we visited parliament, because the ginormous building was situated right next to Big Ben, and seeing the inside was spectacular. It was amazing to see where everything in British law occurred.
Favorite Shopping Spot: Covent Garden used to just be a fruit-and-vegetable market but is now a popular shopping and tourist site. As with most sights in London, the architecture of the building itself is amazing. It is a great place to grab a bite to eat, find souvenirs and even take cover from an unexpected rainstorm.
Why Travel Here: What really stood out to me about this trip was being able to see history in person. Walking through buildings and the streets where very important events have occurred because in school in the U.S. we barely discuss British history. Britain has such a rich history and every building has a story of its own. London is absolutely incredible.