Throughout my time in London I have seen a lot of really interesting areas, filled with different cultures, food and sites to explore. In this blog I’m going to outline three very different boroughs that I’ve visited and thoroughly enjoyed.
First Stop Westminster
To say there’s a lot to see in Westminster is an understatement. I have visited this borough multiple times since I’ve arrived, and I still haven’t seen everything. I have seen and visited Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Clink, Abbey Road Studios and The Sky Garden; but I’m still not done exploring! Everything there has more of a royal vibe and as noted contains some of the most interesting historical buildings.
A lot of the places I was only able to look at from the outside, but I do have some highlights that make my favorites a must see. For starters at The Tower of London there’s a lot of interesting facts you can learn about the Royal family’s history and about the exotic animals that were gifted to them from other countries. My favorite story was about the Polar Bear who was gifted from King Haakon of Norway to the Tower of London in 1252, it was said that they allowed the Polar Bear to hunt in the River Thames by being tethered to a rope so he could fish. Additionally, they still have Ravens flying around the Tower grounds and the building offers wonderful views of the Tower Bridge, which I’ve crossed several times, always smelling the tempting caramelized peanuts and almonds being sold by vendors.
Though the Tower costs money, the Sky Garden was free to enter to go up the 35 floors to see the beautiful views of the city, complete with the Shard (the tallest building in Europe), center stage for many of my pictures. When I went with my friends, we opted out of buying food and drinks there because it was quite pricy, but there are a lot of reasonable restaurants all around the borough with meat pies and fish & chips offers everywhere!
Second Stop Soho
Soho has also been on my repeat list, with an artistic/theatrical feeling throughout the borough. The first time I went was for a Beatle’s Tour through CAPA, where they took us to many of the places that are iconic to the Beatles, including the roof top where they performed Let It Be Live, MPL Music Publishing, Trident Studios, favorite pubs of Paul and his wife, and blue plaques marking places where they were along with other artists and other famous influencers in respective fields. The tour finished in Westminster so we could cross Abbey Road and see the studio, but my friends and I ventured back to Soho to get some cheap Chinese food from Wok to Walk where we built our own meals for only 6 pounds!
The second time we went was after we had gone to the Sky Garden in Westminster and we took the tube so we could enjoy some delicious Chinese food in China Town. There were lots of street performers, which you often see around London and even a Pikachu running around. The Chinese food we got was great, with lots of restaurants to choose from. We ended the night with getting Bubblewrap waffle Gelato which was well worth the price! I got strawberry cheesecake Gelato with brownie and Nutella!
Third Stop Canary Wharf
I went to Canary Wharf, which is the second largest financial district in London, twice since I’ve been to London and I plan on hopefully taking my parents there when they visit because of how interestingly American the area is and the weird fact that the borough is actually owned by a Chinese and Canadian business!
My first trip was to see the beautiful Winter Lights that they’ve been holding for the past few years all throughout the borough. My roommate and I went after we attended a Curry night in Brixton with CAPA. The light show started as soon as we got off the tube and went through parks, their sky garden in Crossrail Place and the Canada One tunnel amongst other locations.
The second time I went with my roommate was to analyze the city for our globalization class. We went through their underground mall (3rd biggest in London), saw the views from Crossrail Place, used their impressive tube system, and marveled at the huge glass skyscrapers that surrounded us as we walked through the streets. During our presentation we showed pictures of both US cities and Canary Wharf, and many of our classmates couldn’t tell the difference.