It had been three whole months since Bradley and I last saw each other, so we kick started the year with an overnight stay in London. We go to London fairly often, but only ever for a couple of hours, and always to visit Camden. I have been asking Brad to take me to London to do the touristy bits for years now and finally it happened!
We stayed at the Park Plaza Riverside, which was actually a really good location near Westminster – the Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye were all on our doorstep. So we could “do” a lot of tourist things without actually doing them. We had saw all of these touristy bits just by walking to find our meal for the night. I was starving after my journey down, so we stopped at the first place we saw. It was an Italian called Colosseo. I wasn’t overly impressed. The bread was hard, the pasta was bland, however, the spinach bowl we got was tasty, and the service was great. Definitely not worth the hefty London price tag though. I’d happily stop for some street food in Camden over a bowl of pasta from there any day. Due to the tube strike and our decision to walk to our hotel, we didn’t fit much else into the night, we just picked up some overpriced dessert from Waitrose to accompany our overpriced dinner and headed back to the hotel.
The following morning we had an early start, and stopped at Caffe Italia in Lambeth. This place was super quirky with art adorning their vibrant green walls and seats that had been DIY’ed with magazine cut outs. The cafe accommodates a huge amount of diets including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. The food was super good and affordable. We both had a panini and a drink each, which came to £12 all together. I would definitely pay this place another visit if I was ever back in the area. This filled up our tums and set us up for the day. And off we headed to the Imperial War Museum.
I’ve wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum since I was about 8 or 9 years old (basically since the first time I watched Bullet in a Bible… yes, I am that much of a lame Green Day fan). Now while I enjoy going to museums, I mostly like going to look at things, and take pictures of things, but I’ve left the museum feeling like I had a truly educational experience. I started studying history for the first time two years ago when I started university, I had no prior knowledge in the field, but I was surprised by how much knowledge the museum actually reinforced – and of course there was loads that I didn’t know. My favourite part was Edmund Clarke’s “War on Terror” exhibition. The photography is astounding, and for me it excellently emphasised life as a controlled person in Britain. I also loved the Sectarian Armour. Despite never having experienced the Troubles, I believe it is something that anyone from Glasgow would be able to empathise with. After all, it only takes an Old Firm match to reinforce any Reformation age rivalries in our city. In total, we must have spent about three hours strolling around the museum, there is lots to see and we definitely left feeling enlightened.
Our next stop of the day was The Hunterian Museum to marvel at some medical oddities. The Hunterian seems to be a hot spot for my black-clad friends, and a place I have saw a thousand Instagram pictures of. So I had to experience it for myself. It is a surgical museum, so it is rammed head to toe with anatomical and pathological specimens. Expect foetal skeletons, deformed skulls, surgical videos, and all sorts of dissected animal species. Obviously, neither Brad or I are medical professionals, so this was very much a walk around and look at things sort of museum for us. I think that if you were interested in learning more about the specimens you would be best to organise a tour as there isn’t much in the way of informational reading around the museum. Nevertheless, it was fascinating just to look at the collection. I loved the small dental section which had some antique medical instruments and models of the mouth and teeth. We only spent around an hour here, before stopping for some food at a Cafe Nero, and then scouting out Lush on Oxford Street (Brad is a secret Lush junkie).
Before we knew it we were headed back to Cambridge, and creating a new list of things to do on our next London visit. We pulled off this trip really cheaply. All we had to pay for was our hotel, food, and travel to and from London. We went everywhere by foot which saved us a good bit of money, and both of the museums we went to were free! We probably could have saved ourselves a little bit more money if we had spent some time looking into food places before we went, but alas, our one splurge was on food that I didn’t particularly enjoy. We’ll know for next time.
Have you ever been to London?
Where are your favourite places?
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