I’m lucky to have found myself in a career that is transferable around the world, allowing myself to develop skills and qualifications in a job that will never become obsolete. That being said, the ultimate career goal for me is to live and work in London. Thus far I am finding it difficult to make that dream a reality but nonetheless I endeavour to make regular trips to satisfy my desires. London is incredible, and anyone who has visited it recently would not disagree. Like Paris and many other European cities it is abundant of history, beauty and people.
As is the case with many places in the world the best (and often busiest) time to visit is in Summer. In the case of London you get the most of your day with the sun setting around 10:30/11pm and rising much more earlier than I do. In general, opening times are no earlier than 10am so bear this in mind if you are an early riser. The lines are as expected, long and time consuming, so pre purchase tickets for non weather related tasks. For example, the London Eye or Shard viewing tower is heavily reliant on good weather. Sunshine and a lack of clouds qualifies for a fantastic view, so unfortunately these tasks need to be assessed on a day-to-day basis. Which ultimately means this may require some wait time, but it is so worth it.
As London has such unpredictable weather I will make weather related posts for this series, starting with sunny weather as this is so few and far between. Please note, that even though there is sunshine in London, do not assume that this means you do not need an umbrella, as anyone who knows London weather will tell you.
Waterloo is the best station for the London Eye and the London Dungeon (which I will discuss in a later post) as it is the closest geographically, however, Westminster allows for you to view not only Westminster Abbey but walk along Westminster Bridge obtaining fantastic views and the picture perfect shot of Big Ben beforehand. Crossing this Bridge in particular is scary on occasions as it is always full of commuters and tourists all trying to get somewhere or take a photo. It can be scary and breathtaking at the same time. Anyone who has spent anytime visiting or living in London will know that more often than not, nobody cares about anyone, so take the time to let the view sink in. I don’t think I need to write a long paragraph about how fantastic the views are on the London Eye. Just do it! You will not regret it. Thousands of people don’t travel to London every year for just any reason, and they sure don’t queue in the line for the Eye for no reason either. You can thank me later.
An equally extraordinary view is the one from the Shard. Law states that all view points in London must have the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in sight, because of this someone at a viewing point in Greenwich must still be able to see the dome. When the Shard was being built, the traditional skyscraper shape would have obstructed this view so the building had to be shaped with a point at the top, making it look like a shard of glass, hence the name. The shard does have a significantly less queuing time and less people to obstruct your view, and it terms of what is seen, it is the same except that the London Eye will be in your sight.
For those travelling with family and seeking an oasis from the city, or those who enjoy the outdoors, Richmond Park is the best place for you. This is the largest of the 8 royal parks in London and offers various activities to do, even the viewing of wild deer. You can hire bikes if you wish to go for a scenic bike ride, also a pen pond for the fishing inclined. There are facilities for golf, horse riding, sporting fields, and so the list goes on. Richmond park is public transport accessible and the website is user friendly, and provided below.
You will find a tube map here: