Monday, 12 December 2016

Three days in...London

oxford street christmas lights

Oxford Street Lights

Despite walking 27 miles, knackering my feet and being subjected to numerous train delays and tube station closures I had a really good time in London when I went at the end of November with my Mum. I had such a nice time that it's actually taken me a while to decide how to word and present this post but ta-da! it's finally here.

So here's how I spent three days in London.

These photos are all off my phone so they aren't stellar quality but tbh, I didn't really feel like getting my camera out every time I saw something pretty!

WHERE DID WE STAY?
We stayed at the Mermaid Suites hotel which is based just off Oxford Street. I couldn't believe just how central it was and Bond Street station was literally a minute away.

LONDON LIT UP FOR CHRISTMAS
I've been to London a few times but never at Christmas so getting to see all the beautiful lights and window displays was something that I really enjoyed. My favourite display was definitely John Lewis' offering - All the woodland creatures (and Buster!) from their Christmas advert playing (or wreaking havoc depending on how you look at it) with some of the items John Lewis have on offer. I'm gutted I didn't take any photos of it but it was just so bloody busy.

WICKED THE MUSICAL
For those of you not in the know, Wicked tells the alternative story of how things went down in teh Wizard of Oz, centering around the friendship of Elphaba the wicked witch of the West and Glinda the good witch. I didn't really know that much about it going in but I was blown away by it - the story, the actors, the sets, the costumes...All of it was just amazing.

We were really lucky to catch Rachel Tucker in the role of Elphaba too - She's the longest running Elphaba, has played the character in both London and New York and was only back for a limited run for the tenth anniversary. Her rendition of Defying gravity sent shivers down my spine and if I go back to London in the future, I will be seeing Wicked again.

I loved that you got to find out how the cowardly lion lost his courage, why the tinman needed a heart and why the scarecrow needed brains - It was so clever!

photo of the Knight bus and I
 
A rare photo of me smiling  (sort of) with the Knight Bus

THE WARNER BROS STUDIO TOUR

I've already been to the Warner Bros Studio Tour before (in 2012 for my 21st birthday) and I decided that I wanted to go back to see Hogwarts in the Snow.

It was good but to be honest I was a little bit disappointed because only the Great Hall and the Hogwarts model were 'decorated' for Christmas. The rest of it was exactly the same as my previous visit.

Aswell as this our allocated time coincided with a school group - a BIG school group of about 100 kids or more. They were polite kids don't get me wrong, but when there's kids coming at you from all angles running around excitedly and trying to shuffle in front of you to take photos, it kind of takes the magic away from it all.

Regardless, it was still nice to see all the props, costumes & sets again and I loved seeing the outfits from 'Fantastic beasts and where to find them'. Ooh and it turns out my Mum's an ace photographer (or her phone is really good) cos I look pretty good in all the photos she took of me.

the Houses of Parliament

I wasn't really sure if I was allowed to take photos in the Houses of Parliament so a lot of them were taken very slyly and have turned out a bit blurred - Oops! I got away with wearing my Vans in the HoP but our black jeans meant we weren't allowed access to some areas.

A PRIVATE TOUR OF THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

My mum is a hairdresser and one of her clients is a Lord, who happened to be in London working at the same time we were there. He very kindly offered to take us for a nosy around the HoP and despite being a bit apprehensive about it, it turned out to be my number one highlight of the trip (and my Mums too I think).

So, the night of we were getting our tour it turned out that the Jubilee line - which would have got us from Oxford St to Westminster in minutes - was cancelled so we decided to walk to Hyde Park Corner and hop on a train from there. We managed to get lost in Hyde Park though and thanks to Winter Wonderland, we couldn't just cut across the park we had to go all the way around. Then once we got to the station, there was even more tube delays - Fab! So, we had to walk to the Houses of Parliament and by the time we got there we were an hour late and I thought my legs were gunna drop off - Such fun!

Despite being super late, our host was lovely and gave us a great tour around the HoP, filling us in on the history of the building, what the queen gets up too when she's there and even letting us into a Lords debate to have a listen. We also got to go into the MP's debate room which is often on the tv and guess what - it is so so small in real life!

We were in there for nearly two hours and it flew by - If you're ever offered the chance to go on a tour of the Houses of Parliament I would definitely recommend that you do so as it was so so interesting.

Being the art/history/architecture nerd that I am, I was totally in my element having a wander round and being told some facts about this building that we all see on the TV so often and I'm so glad that I got to go.

Many thanks to my Mum's client for inviting us for a nosy!

And apart from that we did A LOT of shopping (which is probably why my feet hurt so much). As much as I love London, I love hopping on the train to come back up North. I'm usually so exhaused when I get back that feel like I need another holiday to get over my London break haha!

Are you a fan of London? Or would you rather give it a miss?

platform 9 and 3/4
 
The iconic platform nine and 3/4 sign

platform 9 and 3/4 selfie
 
Yep here's another photo of me, this one's a little cringier though.

houses of parliament
 
The ceiling in the Houses of Parliament. Honestly, one of my favourite things about being in the building was looking up and seeing all the amazing details that had gone into the ceilings.
 
selfridges santa
 
This is a terrible photo but LOOK at Selfridge's Santa's jazzy red suit! I would totally wear a suit like this.
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