Mixed Feelings Regarding Our Visit to London During Our First Trip to Europe

Let us start by saying that we hope to visit London once again in the future as it is a wonderful city with an amazing history. During our first trip to Europe, many years ago now, we spent several days in London before going on to Stratford-upon-Avon and Manchester. We rented a flat on Kings Road and enjoyed getting around and visiting the major sites in London such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge. Although we did have a wonderful time, when we look back on it after many, many trips since that time, we aren’t sure that we made the most of our time in London.

Westminster Abbey
Touring the Tower of London
Tower Bridge

One of the things that was very different about our time in London compared to other places that we have visited is that we took the tube (underground railway) to get from one location to another. It was quick and convenient and who can’t quote what is aired over the intercom as the doors start to close, “mind the gap”. In hindsight, we felt like gophers who popped up from one hole here to see something and then popped up in another hole there to see something. Walking the streets gives you a much better sense of a city than just seeing a small section at a time.

Big Ben at Dusk
Tower of London
Gates at Buckingham Palace

We do have wonderful memories of our time in London. We went to the famous West End to see the play Wicked and the tour of Tower of London was quite fascinating. We also watched the pomp and pageantry of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and had some blue skies overhead as we walked around the Victoria Memorial in the roundabout just across from the palace. Certainly no visit to London would be complete without going to Westminster Abbey with all of the memorials to the historical figures of science, literature, and politics. Seeing the iconic clock tower at the Westminster Palace, commonly referred to as Big Ben is certainly a must as well.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon
The Manor at Warwick Castle
Enjoying a Professional Football Match

After spending a few days in our flat in London, we continued on to historic Stratford-upon-Avon where we had the opportunity to have mulled wine and see the locals celebrate the start of the holiday season as it was late November when we arrived. Being the birthplace of Shakespeare, there is certainly plenty of history and we also enjoyed seeing Warwick Castle nearby town of Warwick. After a couple of nights, we took a train north to the city of Manchester where we would enjoy a murder mystery at a local manor house and then go to watch a football (soccer) game, which was a highlight for us.

Victoria’s Memorial in London
Changing of the Guards
Buckingham Palace

As previously mentioned, we definitely have revisiting London on our list of places to go and will likely go back there in the relatively near future. We were actually fairly fortunate as far as the weather goes with our trip having been in November, but a visit during the summer months would definitely be a plus. Since we are more seasoned travelers now as compared to our original visit, we will likely do it quite differently and we would certainly take more photographs than we did back then.

6 Replies to “Mixed Feelings Regarding Our Visit to London During Our First Trip to Europe”

  • The wonderful thing about revisiting a major city – even after several years – is that you don’t have to ‘do’ the big sights again ! Yes to galleries perhaps but public buildings and churches etc…. they haven’t changed! When we visit London (which we tried to do once per year pre covid) we visit one gallery, one show and then take a free walking tour in an area we’re not familiar with -last one I think was Brixton.
    You’re right re underground. After that walking tour in Brixton, we got a bus back into the city centre….we couldn’t believe the route – it passed so many major buildings and monuments – luckily we were sitting upstairs!

  • London is too big to do in one visit. Take your point about the underground. It’s necessary to get around, but it can be too tempting to use on short journeys you could walk.

  • I think London is actually my all time favourite city…definitely top 3 of ones I have been too so far! I love all the sites and the different neighbourhoods. It was actually my first major city as well and it has a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy returning some time soon!

  • London is definitely somewhere you can’t fully appreciate in only a few days. You really need to walk around and explore different boroughs to make the most of it. I hated it when I first came here – it wasn’t until I came back and spent a month here one summer that I really fell in love. Thirteen years later, I’m still here!

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