I heart London
A 3 night stay in Huttons Hotel, Victoria, London
Date of stay: 12-15th July 2011
I am quite lucky that my birthday is in July so I usually use it as an excuse for a trip away. This year was a special 'last trip before university' treat for my daughter & me so we decided on a girlie holiday to London.
I cant afford fancy West End Boutique hotels but after much internet research I found Huttons Hotel in the Westminster area to be an affordable 3 star hotel in a very good area of London, just near Victoria Station. I would definately stay here again & would recomend it to anybody! (Read my tripadvisor report here.)
This blog is pretty much the diary I kept while we were there, sorry if it waffles on a bit!......
Day One
The train journey from Darlington to Kings Cross London was rather unremarkable. Bland farmland with a scattering of pretty churches here & there. The journey took less than three hours but it was probably two hours too long to be stuck on a strangely freezing cold train!
We got off the train at Kings Cross and went straight to buy our travel cards (as everybody had insisted we should) then took the underground train to Victoria. The Underground itself wasn't nearly as scary as presumed and was pretty similar to the Paris Metro.
First view on leaving Victoria Underground station was the 'Apollo Victoria' theatre advertising 'Wicked'.
A huge and colourful sight making me excitedly realise I was really in London!!
After being adamant that we wouldn't get off the tube & 'look lost'... it was infact exactly what we did do!
Much conferring & consultation of several maps we set off in a general direction, which happened to be correct hurrah!
Our hotel was in a lovely Georgian faced, quite part of Westminster. Absolutely gorgeous and everything I'd hoped for! The room was small but clean & certainly big enough for us two. The bathroom was a literal cupboard but there was a loo & shower in there! Best of all there was a wonderful balcony overlooking the street below, brilliant!!
Our first stop of the day was Westminster. Straight off the tube to find ourselves standing directly under Big Ben!
WOW!!!
The clock face was so ornate with all the patterns & gold inlays and we were lucky enough to hear it chime 4oclock. Brilliant!
The Westminster area is beautiful all the buildings are intricately carved stone affairs. The houses of parliament seemed to stretch on for miles! I got excited to see where the reporters stand to give live News reports & see all the
gazeboes with film crews set up.
I was shocked to see all the tents of the protestors. Protesting about all kinds of things too...I never knew this was
here.
We had a brief visit to Victoria Gardens to admire the Thames & views of the London Eye. Then a quick look at Westminster Abbey before setting off up Whitehall to Downing Street. The gated entrance to Downing Street is guarded by machine gun toting police! Eeek!!!
There were a lot of statues commemorating this&that, mainly wars... On to Horse Guards Parade when we
ogled smartly dressed soldiers & I fell in love with a gorgeous dragon!!!
Then onto Trafalgar Square for a spot of people watching. Loved the 'ship in a bottle', interested by the Olympic 2012 countdown clock & rather enjoyed the artwork made from live plants next to the National Gallery. Tittered at some 'headless' street entertainers & marvelled at the guy playing the 'Flumpet' (flaming trumpet to you).
Back onto the tube to Piccadilly Circus, this is as busy as the saying goes...and also turns out to be Theatre-land! 
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Day Two
A bowl of muesli & a cheese sandwich for breakfast (???! hmmmm) A quick game of 'guess the nationality of the guest' then off to the V&A museum our first port of call for the day.
Inside the museum, I liked the wooden shop front from a 15th century London shop & the spiral staircase from France. I lovedall the dragons and the metalwork section and some of the Asian exhibits were fascinating.
We went on to The Natural History Museum next but were disappointed to find the dinosaur section was closed :(
Never mind we did see a few dino-skeletons & the extinct 'Giant Sloth' was interestingly bizarre!
I really enjoyed the Tokyo Supermarket earthquake experience too!Next stop (and several tube rides later) was Tower Bridge. We arrived just in time to see the bridge rise for a ship to pass through it! We saw the Tower of London just near it on the other side of the river from our vantage point.
We walked right along to London Bridge (it wasn't falling down!) & had a bite to eat before heading to The Globe theatre. We passed 'The Golden Hinde', Sir Francis Drake's sailing ship. How lovely to see such a beautiful
sailing vessel in a city! Sadly it was closed as a school party was on boardnever the less it was a beautiful find! We also saw HMS Belfast...wow how big!?! HUGE!!!
Finally the globe theatre came into view & I have to say, it wasn't really as I expected. It was much bigger & not the shape I'd thought it would be& there was a wall all around it, but hey it’s a great piece of history& I'm glad we saw it.
The Millennium Bridge was just a little bit scary! I walked across it nervous in the fact that the side rails were quite low
and I could easily trip & tall over the edge or a mad man could come along and push me over!! (Much to the ridicule of my daughter!) I bought some warm honey roasted nuts from a vendor on the bridge to help take my mind off the
ordeal!
St. Paul’s cathedral was enormous. The huge white building with its domed roof, instantly recognizable from TV, however from the side & back managed to look totally different!
Back on the epic tube journey to the hotel to rest our weary legs & aching feet before heading out to the pretty pub at
the bottom of 'our' street. St Georges Tavern was a lovely pub. I had an absolutely gorgeous Halloumi salad& vanilla baked cheesecake...yummy!
Another lovely day in London, I just wish the weather was warmer!
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Day Three
 First on the agenda today was a trip to Buckingham Palace. It was much bigger than expected with huge golden gates. The place was a hive of activity, lots of different types of soldiers all in different uniforms with or without horses! It was a lovely sunny day so we got settled on the fountain opposite so we could watch the changing of the guards.
It was quite a long & slow arrangement with lots of trumpet fanfares & even a rendition of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' theme tune! Lots of comings& goings, horses, strange hats (some of which were on the horses!) and bad tempered police women...two hours later it was all over & we headed into St James Park for a picnic lunch. The park was very pretty so we set off along the lakeside & came upon a sign saying not to feed the pelicans... pelicans??!! Sure enough further along we saw two pelicans in the bird feed enclosure!
We wandered along to New Scotland Yard for a quick photo & then over to Westminster Abbey where we sat in the pleasant garden enjoying the sunshine& watching 2 boys practice tight-rope walking.
From here we crossed the Thames & bought our tickets for a 'flight' on the London Eye.
The queue was huge & we had to wait for nearly an hour to get on...But finally we're on & what a view!!! We were so high!! A fantastic view of London :)
Afterwards we ambled along South Bank enjoying the exhibits of the festival we'd wandered into. We saw the E4 purple cow comedy stage, the colorful Beach Huts & enjoyed the displays, each different inside each hut... We came
to a 'little beach' so pulled up a yellow bucket for a well earned rest...more mooching past some modern art installations, brought us to an elaborate roof garden, complete with vegetable patch & scarecrow.
Another great day of London sight-seeing :)                                         
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And Finally
This was our last morning in our country’s capital city & we spent the time doing as all London tourists do eventually, gift shopping! I bought Mr Plough a 'my girlfriend went to London and all she bought me was this lousy T-shirt' shirt and I got myself an 'I heart London' t-shirt, because I really did heart London! I was totally surprised by how much I'd enjoyed this trip away. I'm a country girl at heart & I normally favour the countryside to big cities but London had surprised me in every way.
I had pre-formed ideas of it being a dirty, unfriendly, over crowed monstrosity of skyscraping, modern, bland buildings with muggers&rapists waiting to pounce on every corner, it was nothing like that thank goodness! I found the people we spoke to very friendly, the tube staff were brilliant & patiently showed us how to read the tube maps, there were so many old historic buildingsI didn’t know where to look first & we never got mugged or worse & as two females alone in the big city we felt safe everywhere we went, even at night.
We were taking the coach home just after 12 so had a few hours to fill with gift buying & last minute sightseeing. We left our luggage safely at the coach station & ended up having our final hour in a pretty garden/park on Buckingham Palace Road wondering what on earth the two shell covered 'grotto' type buildings were about...
It was an incredibly LONG bus ride home...we were sat in front of the two most obnoxiously unfunny stand-up
'comedians' I'd ever had the misfortune to meet (well maybe there's been one other far worse but that’s another story)
we got stuck in not one but two traffic jams & ended up being nearly an hour late home.. hey-ho we had a fantastic time in London & I cannot wait to go back again one day soon!
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London on a Budget
A great time can be had in London even if you're on a budget. We mainly spent our time sight-seeing.
The Victoria & Albert museum & The Natural History museum were free entry as are many other museums in London.
It's worth doing a bit of research before you go to find out who charges for what or what link save entry fees there are.
A lot of attractions give discounts for entry of multiple places.
Buy a travel card (as everybody told us!) you'll use the tube more than you think!
And just take the time to actually stop & look at places, take a photo, chill out in one of the many parks & enjoy your visit to this amazing city!

All content& photos copyright ©AngeGraham(the vintage-pirate) and may not be reproduced.
 


10/26/2012 20:09

I regularly hear people tell me the Queen Mary's Rose Gardens in Regent's Park is their favorite spot in London, and who am I to argue? I would also recommend St. James's Park as it offers one of the best views of Buckingham Palace.

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12/16/2012 05:37

Great article, I love london and other cities around the world, especially <a href="http://www.questbg.com/travel/activities/2117-3-night-holidays-burgas.html">3 night holidays</a> keep up the good work.

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11/29/2013 20:48

'I heart London', nice description by Ange Graham. Particularly the given day wise description clearly mention your well experience. Beyond this, also gives the budget hotel information, which is required for the better accommodation. So thanks for sharing these.

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