Our fifth day in London was also sort of a walking around and exploring day. We actually started at the British Museum, which was just gorgeous and so interesting to walk through. The British Museum is the oldest public museum in the world and it did not disappoint.
To me (please remember that I am no architect), it reminds me of an ancient Greek temple and it is beautiful. When you walk in for the first time, you have no idea what’s coming. Holy is the interior stunning. The Great Court the massive center of the museum and has a huge column in the middle that has stairs going up and around either side. The roof has hundreds of glass triangles that allowed natural light in whilst creating a magnificent pattern above.
The most interesting artifacts to me were the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummies. We spent around an hour to an hour-and-a-half here. If you are also interested in Asian, Middle-Eastern, or European artifacts, you might want to plan more time here.
We walked down to Covent Garden and then Leicester Square and Chinatown. There were many Stoke City fans rallying to support the game that night (but Manchester United all the way, if you follow football) so it was probably much more lively than usual. Covent Garden is a luxury shopping and entertainment hub that has a gorgeous two-story shopping “centre” though it’s not really a centre. It is laid out as a rectangle with shops and restaurants lined along the sides. There is also a market next door where you can discover hand-made trinkets and artwork from local vendors.
Leicester Square is the most crowded place in London. It is a huge tourist hotspot with street artists drawing crowds you have to squeeze by to get across. This is a cultural hub filled with entertainment like cinemas and theatres, restaurants, clubs, bars, shopping, casinos and luxury hotels. A lot of people say its a tourist trap but I think there is so much to see here and I love the vibrant vibe I get here.
By the time we left the Leicester Square it we were feeling peckish so we headed to the Soho and Carnaby area to pick up some Bao and visit (for the third time this week) Bread Ahead Bakery.
We headed south down Regent Street and past Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square where the National Gallery is. Of course, like every other place in London, Trafalgar Square was beautiful and there was so much life there. People bustling around taking photos and drinking coffee. Street artists performing their heart out and drawing massive crowds. We ended up sitting in Pret a Manger, one of the largest coffee shop chains in the UK. We sat by the window in the Pret a Manger and enjoyed our view of the Equestrian Statue of Charles I and the Admiralty Arch which is the beginning of the Mall (the famous street that leads to Buckingham Palace)
Just a side note: Let me tell you that all three of the major coffee shop chains in London (Pret a Manger, Costa Coffee, and Caffe Nero) are great. They are far superior in quality than Canadian coffee shop chains. From the decor to the coffee to the food and to the service, everything is top-notch.
After our coffee break, we walked down the Mall to the most famous palace in the world: Buckingham Palace. The view of the palace as you are strolling down the Mall is a sight to behold. The gold angel on top of the statue glimmering in the sunlight as it stands tall and proud in the front and centre with the Buckingham Palace and its gates behind it in all its glory. There isn’t much to do here other than take some pictures and marvel at the grandiosity of the royal administrative house.
Our next stop sadly no longer exists but I think it’s really cool because I am a huge fan of films (especially action ones). Kingsman is a spy film set in London and they use a tailor shop “Kingsmen” to cover for the secret organization. All of the weapons are hidden in the suits or accessories and they actually had a display window for the Kingsmen shop. You couldn’t go in but it was amazing to look and fangirl at.
After a long day, we decided to walk back up Regent Street to see what the heart of London is like after it gets dark. Piccadilly was of course, still flooded with tourists taking the famous electronic adverts and Leicester Square was bustling with people catching West End Shows or out for a pint with their friends. We ended up at Carnaby again (this time for dinner) and I’m so glad that we did. Carnaby had these beautiful lights above their pedestrian walkways and provided excellent lighting for photos. It seemed like no matter what time of day it is or what day of the week, this area will always be crowded and lively.
Carnaby may attract many during the daytime with its shops and services, in the evenings it is all about food, wine, and beer. Having a good time with friends and family. Every single restaurant in this area and in Mayfair is so beautifully decorated and seems like an upscale place. I recommend visiting this area (even come back) to experience and taste some of the food they have to offer.