In February, my boyfriend Jason, turned 21. For months on end I was racking my brain for an amazing present that I knew he’d enjoy and appreciate. Yet, in the same token, I wanted him to have a memory to keep and cherish forever. So I decided to plan a small get-away to our capital city, London.
London has a large place in Jason’s heart, due to the business culture and the hustle and bustle of a busy city. It links in closely with his career options and his life long goals, therefore being able to incorporate a little bit of that end goal into his birthday present was really important to me.
So for months on end I kept this a secret from him to ensure he was really surprised when he opened his final present. With great difficulty (because I potentially have the biggest mouth in the North East) I managed to pull it off.
On April 9th, our adventure to the capital city began. This was only my third time on the train having almost ended up in Edinburgh previously, rather than Darlington. Therefore there was no room for error, this was a military operation to get me on the correct train, correct carriage and in the correct seat. All of which was pulled off with immense precision, which 100% paid off. So we casually took our seats in first class, with large leather plush chairs and endless cups of half decent tea and finally we were off.
The train journey was relaxing and enjoyable, being able to embrace the countryside before being consumed by skyscrapers for the next few days was refreshing. We arrived at around about one o’clock and got a taxi to our hotel, The King’s Cross Crowne Plaza. The hotel was a 15 minute walk from the tube station, so we were pretty central to where we needed to be each day. The hotel was quirky and comfortable for the duration of our stay, with a spacious living space and bathroom. Although we didn’t spend a great deal of time at the hotel it was a great choice and I would highly recommend for those thinking of visiting London. Breakfast was included with our stay, which was even better, as it meant we could sufficiently fill ourselves before the busy days ahead.
Our first tube experience was another great success, and became almost second nature to us by the end of our trip. We found ourselves saying “we are so London” each more every day, strolling through the tube gates and standing uniformly down the escalator almost fitting in with the locals. The first tube adventure took us to Camden Town, a location both J and I really wanted to visit. Jason was more invested in the culture behind the infamous town, particularly the music scene, whereas I wanted some decent food and a cute picture for my Instagram. Camden was like nothing I have ever encountered before, the shops were so unique and had so many quirky characteristics. Shoe shops with huge 3D trainers attached to the walls and street art that looked like it should belong in the MOMA. Once we demolished a burger and a pint (of diet Coke) we decided to head into the heart of London.
Now, before any of you reading this decide to visit London or have previously, note that London Bridge and Tower Bridge are two very different, very separate bridges. It will save a lot of heart ache. So anyway, we decided to hit up London Bridge, however when we arrived there I was seemingly confused as to why it didn’t look like what I was expecting it to, and why the bridge that was 3 miles down the river did look like the bridge I actually was expecting to be standing on. So we set off for Tower Bridge. Sometimes I really do wonder why Jason still tolerates me. After we explored Tower Bridge and the Tower of London we made tracks back to our hotel and had an early night, ready to get up and explore the following day.
The second leg of our journey round London, I say journey because on average we were taking around about 19,000 steps each day, took us to the Natural History Museum. Somewhere we both really wanted to explore. The museum has several extremely interesting exhibitions including the skeleton of a blue whale and several dinosaurs, which were the main attractions. Having had our daily dose of education we were desperate for some fresh air, so off to Kensington Gardens we went. However we didn’t have a great deal of time to explore the extravagant royal park, therefore we decided to hire bikes, which would allow us to quickly get round the entire park.
This was one of my favourite moments as it was something I have always wanted to do but never thought was possible, simply for the fact I didn’t know you could hire bikes out so easily and cheaply. £2 for 24 hours, I mean you would be daft not too right? We explored the palace at Kensington and also went to see the infamous Peter Pan statue, something I have always wanted to do since watching Mary-Kate and Ashley Take London. We ended our bike ride at Hyde Park and strolled back through Knightsbridge, embracing the designer shops and suave cars, which J loved.
That evening I had booked us into see a West End show, Wicked, based upon the wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. The production was spectacular and overall breath taking, blowing any production I have ever seen out of the water. However a quick note for those thinking of going to a show, TAKE PLENTY OF MONEY FOR DRINKS, THEY’RE EXPENSIVE. Overall Wicked was, well, wicked. A memory I will never forget is the look on Jason’s face when it first began, I swear I fell in love all over again.
This was our sightseeing day, we dedicated the whole day to visiting the places we had always wanted to go. We did this through an open top tour bus which despite being slightly baltic, was really enjoyable. This provided us with the opportunity to explore the city as a whole briefly, then delve into the area’s we found most interesting.
I firstly wanted to go see Lizzie and pop in for a milky brew at Buckingham Palace however the brew part seemed slightly difficult so we settled for taking several cute polaroid’s. We then stopped at Covent Garden for lunch and took even more super cute polaroid’s.
We ended the day visiting Harrods, which was kinda surreal and kinda uncomfortable and definitely something I wont be doing any time soon, or till I’m on a seven figure wage.
Our last day was our ‘chill’ day, therefore we decided to hit up Oxford St before our evening train home. Wow, we shopped till we dropped and I legit thought I was going to lose an arm at one point. Yep, my bags were that heavy. We stopped for some lunch and some celeb spotting, seeing Made in Chelsea’s Mark Francis in Selfridges. Yes I’m rubbing shoulders with the A-Listers now guys. Finally we quickly explored Carnaby St putting the biggest smile on Jason’s face. Then made our way back to Kings Cross Station for our 7 o’clock train home.
All in all I had the most amazing time with my best friend and I can’t wait to return, preferably when I’m my bank account has recovered. I hope Jason had the best time as well, and enjoyed his 21st birthday present!
Thanks for reading, catch up soon…