This trip to London was planned right after I bought tickets to see “No man’s land”. I had to find a friend to go along since I had booked two tickets so I put a vague description on my facebook wall and the first person who reacted to it (and actually had the money to go to the theatre – which was one and the same person) could come along with me.
After the initial plan to go to the theatre, the other things to do started to follow. Since Sanne is also a Harry Potter fan, it wasn’t hard to convince her to go to the Studios. Likewise it wasn’t hard to convince her to go to see Wicked, since last time she was in London she went to a musical too.
I had forgotten that we would be leaving on a public Holiday in Belgium, so about a week before departure, I panicked a little thinking I might not get to Brussels on time to catch my train. But the panic subsided when I saw that I didn’t have tickets for the first train out but the second, which did leave me some breathing room in the morning.
Although I always go by Eurostar to London (this because check-in is closer to departure and I end up in practically the center of London) I always dread the journey. Not because I hate train travel but I hate the travelling part of any holiday. I’m looking forward to a beam-me-up system. Since the terminal has moved in Brussels it’s now a makeshift terminal in expectation of the renovated one.
Arriving in London, it’s just like coming home. Since I’ve been so many times over the years it’s really a habit to walk through St. Pancras station. I had booked the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury since this is in walking distance of the station and I can sleep in their beds (you would be surprised how much the quality of beds can differ).
Once we dropped our suitcases and checked-in to the hotel, we headed over to Holborn station and went shopping. Yes, since I have been there a lot I tend to shop very ordered and don’t mind skipping stores where I don’t have to be. This means I only start at Bond Street Tube station, because there you have easy access to HMV and the Disney Store. After this we did walk a while cause we went to Hamleys. Although I am no longer a kid and don’t have kids of my own I do like to shop in toy stores (Maybe I’m just a kid at heart).
Before going to Hamleys we went for something to eat and as the Pret-a-manger on Carnaby street offered no seating space we went a bit further into Soho to another Pret. I didn’t know they had diversified and had created Veggie Pret. But we were there now and a veggie option it was.
After Hamleys, it was my one go-to spot in London, I went to Waterstones. I love bookstores and the bigger they are the more fun for me cause they offer more books. It takes a while to get through the different floors and I just love that I can sit on their couches in between just to rest while searching. Well, I have to look at my book list (a list I create every time I go on a trip to London to make sure I don’t buy the wrong book in a series).
One more stop before the afternoon is over and that is Fortnum & Mason. This is another of my regular stops since I get my tea there. Since it’s the season I got myself their Christmas tea, it’s seasonal for a reason. After a shot stop for drinking Tea at Fifth View at Waterstones we made our way via Leicester square to Wyndham’s to pick up our theatre tickets for that night.
A tube ride later, we dropped our bought stuff off at the hotel and hopped on the tube again to Covent Garden for food. Our choice of the day was “The Big Easy”, since they serve BBQ all year round. We went for the pulled pork buns with all the trimmings (coleslaw, fries and BBQ sauce) and as extra corn bread.
Now it was time to go to see the play which was the original reason of going to London during this weekend. You can see what I thought about it here,No man’s land! This was the end of our first day and exhausted we returned to our hotel, to set our clocks very early for the next day.
We had to get up very early since we had to catch the tube to Victoria station at 8 o’clock at the latest. We had no real issues finding the tour operator “Golden Tours” but I wasn’t that happy that they started checking us in until the moment we normally had to leave. This meant we arrived slightly tardy at Warner Bros. Studios Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, but also meant that we missed our bus to come back to London. Luckily we were able to catch the next one.
Leaving later than originally planned in Leavesden meant my time calculated for eating was shortened with an hour. Actually this meant not going for tea before dinner. We went for something simple and decided to go to Nando’s . I still think I should have gotten the slightly spicier than I did. This means next time I can go up to Hot instead of Medium Hot.
To finish a magical day at the studios, we went to see a magical Musical : Wicked . This had been on my list for ages now and finally I got to see it.
Last day of this trip, best to take it slowly. Around ten o’clock we made our way to Covent Garden and weirdly the shops were not open yet. I’ve grown so used to shops on Sunday being open at that time that I didn’t even think to look it up this time. Apparently something has changed since May (wait I wasn’t there on a Sunday in May… so since last year).
When at eleven the shops did open we just walked through Covent Garden Market and Jubilee Market. We had to kill time ’till noon when we had our reservation at the Hawksmoor.
I have started “corrupting” my friends when they join me on a Sunday, since I drag them along to the Hawksmoor, just for their Sunday Roast. I love this food tradition and it’s so much red meat!
One last stop before returning to the hotel, pick up our suitcase and go to the station. This stop is geek heaven “Forbidden Planet”. Going downstairs in this show really does me in. I shouldn’t be allowed in the book section of this store cause this is not good for my savings. Once again I bought books and other gadgets and it’s all in the hype that this store is ( plus no other store has these things where I went in those few days).
Going home. Taking a train back. Getting something small to eat at Marks & Spencer and boarding the train. Really nothing exiting about this.
We missed our train home in Brussels so we had to wait an hour for the next one. It seems to be a running theme…. missing transportation.
I had fun, saw a lot of things that were on my list for ages. This only means I can put other things on there now and decide on other trips.