It’s London, bitch. The Old Smoke. LDN. With a fella looking dapper and he’s sittin’ with a slapper. Then I see it’s a pimp and his crack whore… Well, not really. Anyway, London is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is also confirmed by its status as a world cultural capital. That means that a visit to the city that’s only half a day long won’t ever be enough to witness its full glory. But that doesn’t mean that said half day and its charms – be them the traditional museum everyone visits or that park that’s never mentioned in tourist guides – must go wasted. Given that, here are a few, mostly free, charming things to see in the city that fill that time span:
A little-known landmark of London town is the one and only Buckingham Palace. How do I even begin to explain Buckingham Palace? Well, I can say it is, dare I say, truly bitching. It would be a shame to miss it. Just seeing it only from the outside is a charm given its beauty, elegance, majestic size and regal quality. No wonder it is the royal residence. And speaking of royals: any time the flag is raised, it means the Queen is in there. How cool. Its surroundings are also huge and gorgeous, and sometimes you can even catch the glimpse of horses! The closest mainline station to Buckingham is Victoria, which is also huge and beautiful (and just a two-hour long ride from Brighton!). Just watch your back so that you won’t get hit over the head by some kid who doesn’t care if you’re dead ’cause he’s got all your jewellery and wallet… Well, not really. Okay, seriously. Even though Victoria is mostly safe, it’s also crowded. So, watch your money. There also loads of great billboards for great West End shows, ranging from Oscar Wilde plays to the musicals, which are all unsuitable for half-a-day visits. Damn.
The nearby St. James’ Park is also very pretty. I love beautiful, large, clean green areas in general, so it’s a particularly charming part of the area for me. Plus, the park’s squirrels seem to be very popular with tourists.
It’s good to know that even in such an infamous smog city, when you’re surrounded by all this green, you can still smell some healthy fresh air. Note: A guy tried to sell me an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt out of St. James’ while he was wearing it. I thought it was kinda weird. But fun. In its own strange, London way.
10 Downing Street is adjacent to St. James’s Park. However, it is not open for regular public tours. You can look through the gates if you really want to catch a glimpse of the street, though. Then there’s Trafalgar Square to see. That’s huge, too. That’s also the one place where you can fearlessly ride lions. I met a flying Yoda there. There was also Shrek and some silver guy behind him that I didn’t recognize. Maybe he was the Tin Man, or an overgrown Tin Pinocchio. Or something, I didn’t get it. The mimes are great, anyway. When I visited the National Gallery (the second I visited, the first being in Dublin), there was some
sort of dance troupe right out of the building, too. Speaking of the Gallery, it is fantastic. I spent around an hour there and plan to visit it again. It is a dazzling experience to be surrounded by that much great art by great artists of different kinds and different times all in one place, and it’s all the more remarkable considering you don’t have to pay. And the building is pretty cool, too. It looks nice, it’s very easy to navigate, and the staff is pretty great. They actually listen to you, are polite and do their job well. Still, I thought it was really weird that among all the people I visited the Gallery with, I was the only one whose bag was inspected by the security. I could see the disappointment in the security guard’s face when he found only red lipstick, a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, a sandwich, a bottle of water and the Wordsworth Classics edition of The Great Gatsby.
Other two city landmarks are the Parliament and the Big Ben. You cannot go to London and not see them. No, seriously: you literally cannot go to London and not see them. Even if you won’t look for them, you’ll obviously see them. They’re hard to miss. And when visiting for half-a-day only, good luck getting a ticket for the London Eye. That thing is brutally high, expensive and you can see the whole of London from it, but good luck surviving the queue to make the ticket. Maybe if you think you won’t, you can go have some spooky time at the London Dungeon instead, which is not free either.
In any case, the sun is in the sky, oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?
I’m not being sarcastic.