I’m quite attached to the UK and for a long time I have thought about living in London. Even though I was born and raised in Australia, I grew up with a fascination with British pop culture. There were times when I believed I should have been born in England. To give you an idea, my music library is full of British music – pop, rock, a bit of hip-hop, grime, dance and UK garage, the Brit Awards is my favourite awards show, I was devastated when Top of the Pops was axed, Posh & Becks are royalty, I am a mega Harry Potter geek and Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean is comedy gold.
As you can imagine, I was beyond excited to be visiting London again (I was there for the first time in 2008). Thanks to a friend, I conveniently had an Oyster card so when I arrived at Heathrow, I topped up the card, caught the tube to Leicester Square and made my way to my accommodation – SoHostel. You can read my review on SoHostel on TripAdvisor here.
When I walked out of the tube, I couldn’t fully believe I was finally in London. It was a lot busier and bigger than what I remembered. It was 9pm on a Monday and the city was buzzing! Funny story, within an hour of arriving in London, I was making my way to my hostel through Leicester Square with all my luggage when a street performer points at me and yells out “see that lady, that’s what happens when you don’t pay rent” for everyone to hear! I laughed it off because in order to pay rent, you have to live there so I must pass as a local. It was a unique welcome to London.
When I arrive in a new city as a solo traveller, I usually spend the first day wandering around aimlessly to get my bearings, which is what I did in London. I didn’t even have a map but there are maps all over London, it’s impossible to get lost, despite how big the city is. I ended up seeing Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and London Eye in the process, as well as wandered through Waterloo, Elephant and Castle and Borough. That night I met up with a friend in the Shoreditch area, who is originally from Melbourne. London Design Festival happened to be running the week I was there, so I found myself in an architecture firm, at an exhibition called Chance Encounters.
The following night I met up with another friend, an actual Londoner, for dinner. I am going to take this opportunity to recommend this awesomely cool Jamaican restaurant we went to for dinner called The Rum Kitchen in Carnaby.
So what else did I do? London is a massive city; I did not give myself enough time to explore it all. But I tried to fit in as much as I could and honestly still had a fantastic time in the big, eclectic and vibrant city that is London.