Sunday, 20 February 2011

London Bridge is falling down

Why am I not smiling? Probably because the weather was pissing me off.

Last weekend K and I went to London! I'm signed up to the East Coast train line's e-newsletter and in December got an email telling me that they had some special £8 fares for travel in January and February. So we booked our tickets to go down for Valentine's weekend. We managed to get our accomodation pretty cheaply too with Travelodge, if you book far enough in advance (6 weeks or so) you can get a really good deal. Basically we got travel and accomodation for 3 nights for 2 people for about £200 - pretty good I think!

Our train down was at 8.35am on the Saturday. This wasn't so much of a big deal for me because I'd been getting to work for 8.10am all week, but K hates getting up early if he can possibly avoid it. For some reason the train on a Saturday takes a full hour longer than it does the rest of the week, around 5 and a half hours instead of 4 and a half. This meant we'd be getting in just before 2pm, and given we couldn't check in at the hotel til 3pm this wasn't an issue. But while on the train a number of line faults meant that the train arrived at Kings Cross 50 minutes late. Now, whilst this solved the issue of what do we do for an hour til check in, it did mean we had been on the train for 6 and a half hours - we could have flown to New York in that time! Not fun. Naturally we were feeling a bit sweaty and grim by the time, so the first thing we did at the hotel was shower/change before heading out again.

We took a stroll round Covent Garden (we're tourists, give us a break), Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus etc. Got a Bubble Tea in China Town, which I liked but K said the tapioca pearls tasted like snot :S They didn't, but they are a weird texture. The juice bit's nice though. K really wanted to go to Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum, and luckily I'd researched this in advance and discovered that if you have a train ticket going into London you can print out 2 for 1 vouchers for various London attractions. As Ripley's is open until midnight we went there after a Nando's at about 10pm. With our 2 for 1 voucher we got in for £25 - which is fine for both of us but no way would I have paid that for just one ticket! We would not have gone if we hadn't had the voucher. Ripley's was good fun, full of lots of cool and weird artefacts, but not worth £25 each. We enjoyed it though, and if you can get in cheaper and are stuck for something to do at night it's worth a trip.

On the Sunday I decided we'd go to the Natural History museum and the Cabinet War Rooms. This did not go to plan. The NH museum was hoaching, what with it being a weekend, and the queues were massive so instead we popped next door to the much quieter Science Museum. It was K who had wanted to go to the Science museum but I think I enjoyed it more than he did. Dim Sum was our lunch, in Chinatown of course, and then we headed to Westminster to go to the Cabinet War Rooms. Unfortunately this takes about an hour and a half to go round and shuts at 6, and we didn't get there til 4.30pm. Yes we could have gone then, but K wanted to go into St James Park first and promised we'd go to the War Rooms 'tomorrow' instead. I relented. I spent most of the time in the park in a bad mood due to the awful weather. It was raining and blowing a gale - ideal weather for a walk. My umbrella was being blown in all directions and gradually breaking, and my lovely leopard print coat was getting soaked :( A Caffe Nero next to Trafalgar Square cheered me up. We went back to the hotel, changed and headed out to Leicester Square for food, ending up in TGI Fridays eating steak and drinking Ultimate cocktails.

Monday of course was Valentine's day, but conveniently I had an interview for an internship at 2.30pm - slap bang in the middle of the afternoon. The morning we spent at the Natural History museum (eventually) and then I had to head off for my interview. I was told this would be a 'short chat' but it ended up lasting almost an hour! Which was great in a sense, I think the interview went well, but it did mean that by the time I got back to the hotel and changed we had no time for the War Rooms. Fate was conspiring against me! In the evening we went for food and then met my friend R who lives in London. And proceeded to get really quite drunk. Cider, Jack'n'Cokes, a bottle of Prosecco (it's R's birthday today, it was my treat) and Barcardi Breezers back at the hotel. It was a lot of fun though and I'm really glad that R and K got on.

K was pretty hungover on Tuesday, but I felt not too bad. Our train back was at 6pm so we had most of the day to kill. We FINALLY went to the Cabinet War Rooms! Again I had a 2 for 1 voucher for this, and it was much more reasonably priced at about £15 a ticket. The tour's interesting, but it's an audio guide and sometimes there really isn't enough in a room to sustain your interest for the length of the audio. It's pretty amazing seeing the rooms though, especially when you consider that they practically lived in there due to the constant work load and threat of air raids above. It does last a bit long though, what with the Churchill museum in the middle. I now know more than I ever wanted nor needed to know about Winston Churchill. K wanted to go to the aquarium so we headed over Westminster Bridge to the Southbank. Lunch was Japanese, yum. I also had a voucher for the aquarium, costing about £18 a ticket. It was alright. The fish are pretty and it's really cool seeing rays, sharks, turtles etc. but it's so busy and very annoying when large groups of tourists take up all the space at the viewing windows for a long time and don't move. I don't get why people are so inconsiderate! And the tunnel was really short :S It did have a lot of fish though and I took loads of photos (most of which aren't very good). Got the tube back to Kings Cross and on the train back to Edinburgh!

All in all we had a good weekend. The weather was largely awful and I can't say that any one attraction was necessarily worth its entrance fee, but we had fun. We could have shopped, we could have clubbed, we could have gone to loads of 'cool' places, but to be honest playing the tourist was what I wanted to do. Maybe if I'd been to London more often I'd be more up for doing something different, but I haven't so I'll do what I want.

I realise this is really quite a long post, oops. And now it is very late at night, so I shall bid you all adieu.


Kirsti said...

Sounds like you had a good time!! :)

A couple of weeks ago I booked up for Chris and I to go to London in April when he's got some annual leave, as neither of us is keen to go abroad this year. Except because I am cheap (I just quit my job, and I knew I was going to when I booked the tickets) I booked the megabus!! It was only £12.50 in total for two people return, like £3 each each way, plus it's overnight so I figure we can sleep on the bus, but we'll probably be knackered when we get there haha. Chris is in charge of booking the hotel and I think he's going for something posh to compensate for me being mega stingy on the transport. The main reason I want to go is to go to the theatre, think I'm going to book Blood Brothers as I've never seen it, but Chris has never been to London before so we'll be doing a lot of museums and tourist things too!

Violent Delights said...

Cool! If you'd been going by train you could have got 2 for 1 tickets for Blood Brothers (and Chicago, Grease and We Will Rock You). I don't fancy the bus much but it is so much cheaper than the trains normally, and I suppose overnight's not so bad. Hope you have a good time :)