Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bailey Hales - London, England

My name is Bailey Hales, and I was a study abroad student in the London Eye 6-week English program in London this past summer. Participating in a study abroad was the greatest decision I have ever made and I enjoyed every second of it.

London is a city where you can walk down a block, turn the corner and find yourself in a different place. You may find yourself in the complete hustle and bustle of a work day in a business district close to the Strand, or possibly in a Bangledeshi part of town by Brick Lane, or overwhelmed by tourists from all countries by the Tower of London. The best part about London is that you can find “your” spot of town anywhere.

I can say that I certainly “found” my parts of London, which is why I have decided to post my 10 favorite things to do, see, and experience in London.

10. Nando's.
Go and devour. You haven't experienced Portuguese food (well, unless you have visited Portugal) until you've experienced Nando's. Also, having a pebble-ice craving? Look no further than your local Nando's. Nando’s is also the perfect place to go out with all of your study abroad-mates, their huge tables were often filled by us self proclaimed Londoners.

9. Marylebone (pronounced Marleybone) High Street.

Quiet places in London are few and far between, however if you walk behind the cathedral on the high street, literally seconds from the entrance to the inner circle of Regents Park, you will find a very quaint area of fun shops and places to eat- I never encountered large groups of tourists there, which is nice when you are almost always surrounded by school groups and large groups of tourists in London.

8. Oxford Circus: Favorite- Miss Selfridge/Top Shop Combo Store

Forget the heels or uncomfortable shoes of the like. The only thing you need is a credit card and will-power to shove through the gigantic crowds that take over these stores on nights and weekends. Try going in the morning on a week day, trust me... it will save you a lot of stepped on toes and dirty looks when you snatch the last clearance dress from the hand of a competitor. I am a big shopper, and this is a store exclusive to London. Oxford Circus is a madhouse at all times, but it is an experience to be had regardless of whether you are a shopper or not.

7. Westminster Tube Stop

Simple. Walk out of the exit towards Westminster Abbey and slowly look up. If you haven't had your "London" moment yet, you will after that.

6. Victoria and Albert Museum

If you can only see one museum in London, make it this one (although, you should really go to them all). The best part? The fashion exhibit. They have Princess Diana's white pearl gown and many, many dresses from all designers and all time periods. Interesting and beautiful- also free, free, and free.

5. Millennium Bridge and the Embankment- At Night

Twinkle Lights, Romantic River, Beautiful Bridge.

Epitome of London.

4. St. James Park

A thousand times better than Hyde Park (overcrowded, too huge, and not my favorite part of town). There are tons of benches, lots of trees and grassy areas, and a beautiful lake to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Not to mention many of the famous sights are nearby.  You can walk from St.James Park to #3 in about ten minutes and it is an awesome walk.  

3. Trafalgar Square- At Night

I'm putting a disclaimer on here warning all that this is NOT my favorite part of London during the day. However, follow my directions perfectly and find out what all other tourists are missing out on. Hop on the tube to Charing Cross. Hop out and pass Trafalgar Square, instead walking behind the National Gallery to Leicester Square. Go to the Hagan Daz- get a cone. Take your delicious cone and walk back towards Trafalgar Square. The square should be fairly empty at night giving you great access to the best seats in the house. Sit in the middle of the steps in front of the National Gallery and tilt your head to look just beyond it and see Big Ben stand out in the night sky.

2. Primrose Hill

Take a run inside Regents Park until you reach the Regents Park Zoo entrance (follow the many maps inside the park- getting lost is the best part). Cross the bridges until you cross over into the Primose Hill park. Challenge yourself to run up that hill where the view is your reward. On your run back down, cross through Regents down the center of the park and walk through the Rose Gardens.

1. St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sit in the whispering gallery, walk all the way to the top and just enjoy the amazing view.

Then walk down Fleet Street and stop almost at the bottom for a delicious Chilango's burrito that will cure any Chipotle craving you have. Then walk back up and eat it in the St. Paul's church yard. Or walk a short distance, hop the tube at "Temple" and get off at St. James and eat there :)

St. Paul's is my place. There is nothing like it in the city, at least for me. I love going there to think, sit outside, and just take in the beauty of the city.

1 comment:

  1. bailey hales i love you for writing this. i missed london a lot today, and this made it so much better.