After an eight-hour flight, I arrived in London a little tired and smelly but very excited. My check-in time was still hours away and I didn’t want to sit in a crowded lobby. Besides, it was beautiful outside. Everything was sun-kissed orange and perfect t-shirt weather. So I took a bird bath, laced up my sneakers, and set out for the day. I only had to walk a few blocks and turn a few corners before I saw this gem poking through the scenery.
Thinking the London Eye would be centered in the midst of attractions, I followed the skyline until I found myself standing in its shadow. Luckily, I was right. Westminster Palace and Big Ben was on my left.
And to the right, just beyond the Eye, was Southbank. The Ferris Wheel’s £30 was too expensive for me , but the free walk down the Southbank, with its views of the Thames, museums, and eclectic crowds were perfect. In less than an hour I saw Tower Bridge, crossed the Millennium Bridge , and took a last-minute tour when I found myself at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. I happened to visit on a press day, so I wasn’t allowed to take pictures . The tour was also shortened , so while I didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth that day, I imagine the full experience is probably worthwhile. I did get to see some snazzy costumes and miniature reconstructions at the Exhibition Center , though.
If you’re interested, the Tate Museum is just a few steps away. Try to remember to visit before the flight home( Not that I did this) .
On the way back to the hostel, I passed the famous skate park and the Southbank Book Market. It’s probably no surprise that I spent the better part of an hour browsing the long tables full of books. I didn’t buy anything but they had some interesting titles and beautiful antique maps for sell.
After a few hours of viewing the street performers , browsing the quaint stalls, and admiring London from up high , I went back to my hostel exhausted but happy with my afternoon. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my sunny first day in London anywhere else.