***Or what I’d like to call ‘The rest of Day 1 in London’. Fair warning: This is going to be quite a long photo diary.
Sadly, most of my videos (and even some photos) for London were corrupted so I still don’t know whether I will be making one with the little bit that was left. 🙁 But at least, there are photos from my trusty camera so I can still share with you guys how awesome London was.
I love London.
There, I said it. My dad said he knew I would love it more than Paris and he was right. Expensive, yes, to the point where I can’t imagine living there but I love it still. When I think of London, I think of exuberance. I read somewhere that a man who gets tired of London is tired of life and I can see why. You just won’t run out of things to do! Most museums are free, the parks are just gorgeous, and walking around different neighbourhoods is an adventure in itself.
The British often complain about how gloomy London could be due to the incessant rains throughout the year but I do believe that the city itself has enough light and life in it to make the gloom bearable (even unnoticeable).
So back to the point of this post – London day 1. I already talked about our arrival and our affordable accommodation that had a superb location in another post. I also did a post on the Imperial War Museum which was our first order of business after checking in. So this post will be a mish-mash of everything we went to afterwards.
It’s no secret that we love museums so after the Imperial War Museum, The British Museum was up next on our list. Before going there, however, we had to drop by Trafalgar Square to pick up our pre-ordered London Passes. We will be needing them for the next couple of days. 😉
The British Museum
It is quite sad how I lost much of the footage from The British Museum since I was taking mostly videos. It is, after all, one of my dream museums to visit. A permanent collection of about 8 million works? Why don’t mind if I do.
Out of all the priceless artefacts inside the museum, it is the collection of Egyptian mummies that are the most popular. The museum map (which you can pick up by the door for a small donation), had some information on the number of visitors that come to see them every year – 7 million!
The Grayer-Anderson cat (pictured above) is easily trumped by the cat mummies in the museum. Don’t forget to check them out. Ramesses II’s gigantic bust is also worthy of a stop at the ground floor. He’s near the Rosetta Stone anyways, looming over the area and looking down at the crowds – so Ramesses II, no? 😉
The Rosetta Stone (pictured below) is a must see. This slab of rock helped historians decipher hieroglyphs. What’s written on it? It’s actually as a decree from 196 B.C that written in 3 forms of writing – hieroglyphs, demotic, and in Greek.
Hoa Hakananai is a moai or a statue from Easter Island, picked up by British seafarers in the 1800s. He is a lot smaller compared to the others back in Easter Island as he is only about 8 feet tall while others can reach up to 40.
Will list down some of my other must sees in the British Museum since I don’t have the pictures for them. 🙁
- Parthenon Sculptures
- Mummy of Katebet
- Elgin Marbles
- Impression of Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa
- Oxus Treasure
- Samurai armour (Check this out if you haven’t seen it in Japan or Paris’ Musée de l’Armée yet. Otherwise, just skip)
Don’t forget to check out the merchandise! Museums in London have some of the best souvenirs I have seen in all my years of travelling. You get quality stuff! While they do have the usual, cheesy fridge magnets and keychains, you can also get well-written history books, posters, and even classy home decor.
The British Museum is open daily except December 24-26 and 1 January
Hours are from 10am to 5:30pm
Address: Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG (Nearest Tube Stations: Tottenham Court Road and Holborn)
Admission is free
221B Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes Museum)
After the British Museum, we headed towards Baker Street to check out London’s most famous address (okay, maybe after 10 Downing Street).
Just outside the tube station in Baker Street is a statue of the famous sleuth donated by Abbey National – a bank that found itself owning the famous address when Baker Street was extended in the 1930s.
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Sherlock Homes stories, addresses in Baker Street did not go up to 221 and when it got extended, Abbey National occupied a couple of lots – from 219 to 229. Naturally, they started receiving fan mail for Sherlock Holmes so they had to appoint someone to respond to all of it and called him/her Sherlock Holmes’ secretary. Must’ve been a fun job! Imagine – a fictional boss!
Meanwhile, the Sherlock Holmes Museum which opened in 1990 is actually located further down Baker Street – between 237 and 241. If you read the stories, you will find that it looks a lot like what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described – the 1800s Georgian townhouse, the bricks, and even the doors.
The museum was awarded the street number 221B by the head of Westminster City Council in the 90s. This resulted to a dispute as to who has the right to receive Sherlock mail. In the early 2000s, Abbey National left the address and now all Sherlock mail goes to the museum. However, the Westminster City Council still wants to change their street number to keep the proper sequence. Thus, the dispute continues. Pretty nifty trivia, no?
We didn’t enter the actual museum because of the long line outside and we had a strict schedule that day. We were, however, able to visit the museum shop. Again, museum in merch in London = A+++!
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is open all year round except on Christmas Day
Hours are from 9:30am to 6pm
Address: 221B (or between 237 and 241) Baker Street, London (Nearest Tube Stop: Baker Street)
Admission: GBP15 for adults and GBP10 for teenagers and kids under 16 years old (Not included in the London Pass)
In all my travels, I would often spot a Madame Tussauds – Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Bangkok, etc. – and I never visited one. Ever. Why? Because I think it’s a waste of money. I still stand by that statement. I mean, why would I pay hard earned money just to pose with a wax figure? It’s not even the real Benedict Cumberbatch!
I ate my words for the Madame Tussauds in London because of a little section of theirs called The Star Wars Experience. How predictable of me, right? Although the husband couldn’t believe it at first that I would actually want to go inside Madame Tussauds. But Star Wars is Star Wars and so I swallowed my pride and off we went.
Of course, we had to use up the value of our ticket so we had a little fun with some of the other wax figures on the way to the Star Wars Experience which is the last place you get to see when you go through the whole complex.
Ok, now we move on to a poll. So who killed it with Obama?
Did we have fun? Oh yes, we did! Especially because of the Star Wars Experience! I wouldn’t have gone in without it to begin with but since we were already there, why not enjoy everything?
Would I pay once again to go to a Madame Tussauds? Definitely not. If you’re a Star Wars fan, I would really recommend going even just for Darth Vader though.
Madame Tussauds in London is open daily but it is best to check their website for unforeseen closures due to holidays or renovations.
Their hours usually go from 9:30am to 6pm
Address: Marylebone Road London NW15LR (Nearest Tube Station: Baker Street)
Admission: A standard ticket that will let you take pictures with celebrities and watch the Marvel 4D movie plus go through the Star Wars experience will set you back by GBP23.79. It’s also the cheapest ticket! For their other ticket options and bundles with a couple of London attractions, you can click here.
No, Madame Tussauds is also not included in the London Pass.
With our geeky/nerdy hearts happy, we headed home by taking a double decker bus back to our Hotel. It’s a great way to see more of the city!
We had no more energy to look for restaurants as we were up so early that day and had to travel from Paris to London by train. Exhaustion was an understatement so we had dinner at the Chicken Palace, right in front of our hotel!
It’s a fast food joint so we got cheap, no fuss food with big servings. Look at all those fries! Ooops, I meant chips. The chicken was juicy too. Alvin ordered the same meal and we both agreed on a verdict: not bad for a meal that costs less than GBP4! If you love fried food as much as I do, don’t forget to try them out!
And yes, I should really slow down on the fried food, I know.
There you have it! London Day 1! Will be back later for more London adventures!
*Trip is not sponsored by any country’s tourism department, company, or brand. Although almost all of our expenses were shouldered by my side of the family who want to see me more often. Thanks, fam!????