Welcome to my post about my trip to London 😀 It’s gonna be a long one, so sit back, relax, and enjoy my amazing photography skills!
So, as you know, this trip was planned with my friend Hannah (tumblr user higherthanthebeasts go check her out, she’s awesome). She won two £10 tickets to go and see Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre, with Benedict Cumberbatch! We decided, after much deliberation, to take the coach instead of the train because it was far, far cheaper. Seriously people, National Express Coaches are a very affordable, and comfortable, way to travel, people should do it more often. We were due to leave at around 1o in the morning, so we met at the Costa near the stop for a quick, and delicious breakfast before boarding the coach.
We were due to be in London by around 1:30 and we were to check into our hotel at about 3. After a very quick and
easy coach journey we disembarked in Victoria and then made our way to Canary Wharf and our hotel. Since we had such cheap theatre tickets, we decided to splash out on the hotel and stay at the Hilton (at hugely discounted rates of course, have a look at Hotels.com they have really great deals on really good hotels). Once we arrived at the hotel, we had about an hour and a half until it was time to start getting ready for dinner and the theatre!
We had reservations at the Côte Brasserie near the Barbican. They have a Pre-Theatre menu which was to die for! After our meal, we went to collect our tickets, buy programmes and psych ourselves up for the fact that we were about to see Benedict Cumberbatch (Benedict Cumberbatch!) perform Hamlet right in front of us! We had seats in the Upper Circle, absolutely marvellous view of the stage and all the action.
The performance itself? I have no words. Well, actually that’s not quite true, I have lots of words, too many, in fact, to write here. I would suggest that everyone take any opportunity they can to see it in a National Theatre Live production, I think there’s going to be one more. I will say this for it, I loved the performance so much that I went to see the NTLive performance on Thursday just so that I could see it again. The acting, the directing, the lights, colours, music, all of it, it was just incredible, definitely brilliant enough to watch it twice! And again if I could afford it, alas I cannot. Anyway!
After the performance, we went to the stage door. Of course, we were too far back
to actually get an autograph or anything, but I was close enough that I was able to get video of several of the actors, Ciaran Hinds, Karl Johnson, and Benedict himself! I got some amazing shots of him that I will have to get some freeze frames from at some point. All in all, the whole thing was absolutely amazing. I’m getting excited again just thinking about it!
And our London adventure didn’t end there! Our coach didn’t leave until 8pm on Saturday night, so after we checked out of the hotel on Saturday morning, we had a whole day to spend being tourists. We had already planned to go to The Sherlock Holmes Museum and the National Portrait Gallery before our afternoon tea reservations at 3:30 that afternoon. We got the tube to Baker Street and then walked the rest of the way to 221b!
We didn’t actually go into the museum. The line was quite long, and Hannah had already been to see it the last time she was there, but we did go into the gift shop to get some souvenirs. After our Baker Street run we headed to Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining, there were loads of people everywhere and we had so much fun. The Gallery itself was great. So many wonderful portraits from different periods of history that I have seen pictures of online or in
textbooks that I was now getting to see in real life. Hannah went mental. She read the information on every artist and subject of pretty much every portrait in the gallery! We also visited the gift shop there to get a little present for our friend Rae, and some treats for ourselves, of course. I bought myself a new book (The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy) and some postcards which I sat down to write in Hyde Park and outside Buckingham Palace.
After a quick visit to Hyde Park, we set off to find the Park Grand Lancaster Gate where we would be having our afternoon tea. Although we managed to get a little bit lost thanks to roadworks and obscured signs, we did eventually arrive at our location right on the dot of half past three. Well, the hotel was absolutely gorgeous. We were treated like royalty and, as a bonus, I had a Wowcher code, so we had what should have been a £60 afternoon tea for £20! It was truly delicious. I ate as much as I could, but there was quite a lot of food to be honest, we definitely got our money’s worth, and really, it would have been worth £60.
Once we had gorged ourselves fully on delicious cakes and sandwiches and washed it all down with delicious cups of tea, Hannah announced that she had never been to Buckingham Palace! So off we
went! We had about two hours to kill before we were due to catch our coach from Victoria, so we allowed ourselves an hour to sit in the evening sunshine outside the Palace. Sadly there were no royals in residence, but we still saw the Changing of the Guard and got some more pictures of the beautiful waning sunshine over the Palace. It was so peaceful, despite all the people there. There was an air of majesty around the whole place, the fountain and the statues, the Palace itself, and the trees of Hyde Park stretching out beyond. It was a lovely way to end our fantastic weekend. Once we’d made our way back to Victoria Coach Station, we boarded the bus and said goodbye to London as we headed back to Cardiff. All in all, I had a fantastic time, and I would like to thank Hannah immensely for inviting me to join her on her trip.
So that was my trip to London! I ended up taking about 100 photos, and those are just a handful of my favourites. Next post will be a sort of haul post. I’ve been given and bought lots of lovely nice things recently, so I’ll be sharing those with you next week.
’til next time, readers!