On the 29th of June 2017 I left home on my first overseas trip headed for my dream destination of London, England. Arms full of luggage, eyes tired from the early morning wake up. I had my best friend by my side and I could sense that the next 3 weeks were bound to change my life.
Flash forward a few months and I can say my time on Contiki’s ‘European Inspiration’ was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The trip itself was 3 weeks long but this post is dedicated to my time in England – it was short but super sweet.
First Stop: London
I’ve wanted to travel to London since I was about 11 years old so needless to say I did cry when I saw Big Ben out the plane window when we were about to touch down at Heathrow airport. NBD. Seeing the double-decker buses, hearing the English accent everywhere and going inside the classic red telephone box (which STINKS by the way – why does no one tell tourists this?!?) were all insanely cool, pinch me moments. We went into Waitrose first because I had to buy a “Pots&Co Chocolate and Orange Pot” which I’ve been dying to try since seeing it in Zoella’s vlogs. Honestly, it’s the little things that people who live in the UK take for granted HAHA.
We wandered along Regent Street in Soho and legitimately got lost in the biggest H&M we’d ever seen! Then we hit up M&M World which was amazing. As if being in my dream city wasn’t enough, we had lovely sunny weather for the 2 full days we were there and managed to get the last 2 seats together to see Wicked on a Friday night. Wicked was INCREDIBLE – it beat every Aussie theatre production I’d seen. Despite how amazing the show was, I was suffering from some extreme jetlag (we arrived at the airport at 6am and the show finished at around 10.30pm), at one point I was scared I’d fall forward and come tumbling down the aisle which would NOT have been good to say the least.
The next day we went on The Original Tour hop on, hop off double-decker bus tour which was super fun. I could honestly ride on those things all day. The novelty only slightly wore off when I very narrowly escaped being hit in the face by a stray branch. We did get extremely lost on the way to the Thames River (and in every city we visited on our Contiki tour lol) but we reached the boat tour in time with the help of some very friendly guides. One tried to win me over with the offer of great culinary skills and an English citizenship which was extremely tempting but alas, I had a Thames River Cruise to get to.
The only downside occurred when I got swindled by a lady who guilt-tripped me into giving her 5 pounds for “charity”. I really hope it did go to kids in need but am less than convinced. Oh well, I took it as eventual good karma throughout the rest of the trip.
Unfortunately that good karma was no where to be seen when we paid 31 pounds for a Madame Tussaud’s ticket but weren’t able to go… We had a Contiki meeting later that night but the 3 HOUR WAIT TO JUST GET INTO THE EXHIBIT meant that when we rocked up in the arvo, we had to turn around and go back to the hotel after picking our jaws up off the floor. I was particularly devastated because I wanted a photo with Harry Styles. 3 months later and I think it’s safe to say we aren’t getting that refund.
We instead took the Tube to Harrods to see what all the fuss was about. My poor BFF got dragged around all 7 floors as I marveled at what I’d seen on so many vlogs over the years. The fact that everything was extraordinarily over priced kind of soured the experience and I came to realise it’s just a really fancy department store haha. I think visiting in December when all the Christmas displays were out would have been perfect for me, rather than in July.
All in all London was wonderful! So many people had told me it wouldn’t be everything I’d imagined it to be, but I honestly fell in love. Can definitely see myself going back for a longer stay… perhaps a permanent one?! Mum’s not thrilled since it’s like a 23 hour trip to visit me, but she knows that city has a special place in my heart.
Ah London, until we meet again… x