It’s fall break and for the first time this year I am finally going on vacation. That’s right! Apart from a study trip in April, I haven’t done any traveling this year. Mainly because I was busy finished up my thesis I couldn’t go and by the time summer arrived I had made so many nice plans for visiting festivals and meeting up with friends and family that I didn’t have time to go anywhere. Since the past few weeks were quite crappy at work, I decided to treat myself. And with a little help from my parents, my brother and sister-in-law I am currently in the wonderful capital of the UK.
Big Ben w/ Houses of Parliament. Picture taken in June 2009.
I am only here for 4 days. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, my trip is pretty much over, but since I am staying in a hotel that charges 10 pounds per 24 hours for using their WIFI network I decided to have some blogs up beforehand and so my itinerary had to wait. I haven’t been this excited for a trip in a while. Before long it looked like I wouldn’t be going anywhere this year, and so this trip is extra special. It’s my down time before exams and after some very stressful weeks at work. So I intend to enjoy myself to the fullest and I have plenty of plans to make that happen.
This will be my fifth time in 5 years in the city with the red doubledecker buses and Big Ben. I have visited London every year since 2009 and still not done. I will be doing some touristy things, but most are quite off the beaten path and pretty much all are recommendations from friends, colleagues, or follows ups on earlier visits.
I will arrive in London around noon. The plan is to head into town, check into the hotel and go to the Victoria & Albert museum. They have a fashion exhibition year round, but I never saw it as it was closed due to refurbishments when I was there in 2011 and 2012. Across the street from V&A are Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols. I’m not sure yet whether I will visit these department stores as I have been there before and I don’t know whether I’ll have time. It will depend on how much time I spend in the museum.
In the early evening I plan on taking the Harry Potter film location tour with London Walks (walks.com). For 9 pounds a skilled tour guide will take you around London by foot on what I have always experienced to be interesting and entertaining tours. I have been on walking tours with this company twice before and thoroughly enjoyed it. A friend recommended I go on this tour as well.
Lots of walking to be done today! First up, I will spend my morning in Covent Garden. I will be visiting the Royal Opera House for a backstage tour of the building. The Royal Opera House hosts performances by the Royal Opera but also the Royal Ballet. I managed to get a ticket of their newly opened show: Romeo and Juliet for the same day so I think it will be interesting to first see the building up close and then see a show later in the day.
After the backstage tour, I will take the Underground to Camden and find a place to have lunch. At 13.45 PM I will take a tour around the western part of Highgate Cemetery. This Victorian cemetery is known for it’s forlorn and romantic look. And famous people such as Karl Marx and Douglas Adams are buried here. Afterwards I will browse Camden some more and grab some dinner on my way to the theater.
This day will be devoted to shopping. I have made a bit of a wishlist of stores to check and even some specific items to buy. I definitely want to go to Victoria’s Secret, but also visit the Bloch store in Drury Lane to get myself some proper dance gear. Another item I really want are a pair of plain black Dr. Marten’s shoes. Not boots, shoes. I already have tons of shoes, but I am missing a pair of low, sturdy black shoes that could go under dresses and skirts. I love my other pairs of Docs and they’re slightly cheaper in the UK. So if I’m there anyway… You catch my drift. I will most likely hit up Oxford Street and wander off into Carnaby Street, SOHO and Covent Garden on my way as well.
The last day is a fairly short one and I initially had a hard time thinking of what to do. I originally thought of going to another museum, but the weather is supposed to be quite nice and I think it’s such a waste to simply walk around in a museum if the weather’s lovely. So instead I’ve decided to take 2 or 3 dance classes at Pineapple Studios. My dance teacher went there when he last visited London and loved it. I will be taking some walk-in Jazz classes and will keep going for as long as I can. Dance classes don’t start until noon, so if I don’t have the chance to get to Covent Garden the day before I will simply wander around for a bit there.
And then it will be time to go home :-(. I am looking forward to it though. I haven’t seen a ballet performance since I saw Swan Lake with my mom last year so I’m super excited about that. As well as those dance classes. I hope you are enjoying your fall break (if you have one) and enjoy the rest of your day!