The first time I set foot in London, all I could think was, Damn. This place is really grey. It was like the clouds were deliberately squishing themselves together so that no sunlight or blue sky could be seen over the city. It was kind of depressing actually. At least at first.

The London Eye

Then, I got sucked into exploring London and started having so much fun that it didn’t really matter that this seemed to be the land the sun forgot (okay. I’m exaggerating a bit. It did eventually become sunnier for a few days while I was here).

London is a treasure trove for famous landmarks and history, but there are also plenty of modern things to see and do as well. Here are a few of my favourite things about this amazing city:

Greenwich

This little suburb is pretty important for two reasons: the Prime Meridian of the World and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) are both based here. I checked out the Royal Observatory here, where there’s a museum that covers the history of the Prime Meridian and GMT. It’s also home to the seventh largest telescope in the world and a nice view of London.

Prime Meridian of the World

View from Greenwich Royal Observatory

Buckingham Palace

You know when a big Hollywood movie comes out and someone tells you that it was blow-your-mind amazing, then you finally watch the movie with all these mind-blowing expectations and it fails to match what you thought it would be? Yeah, Buckingham Palace was like that for me. At least from the outside. It was very meh.

Buckingham Palace in London, England

Which is why I highly recommend going on the tour because the inside isn’t meh at all! You get to learn all about the palace and the royals. There was even a special exhibit on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding while I was there. I couldn’t take any pictures, but trust me when I say that her wedding dress is just as fab in person as it was on TV.

Chinatown

My mom insisted that I had to try Chinese food while I was in London because it was supposed to be amazing. And even though it didn’t make sense that I would come to Europe to try Chinese cuisine, I went ahead and did it anyway.

And annoyingly, mom was right. Again. The roast duck (my fave Chinese dish of all time) at the Four Seasons was juicy and the skin was perfectly crispy. You can also get the most amazing barbecue pork buns at the Kowloon Bakery.

Chinatown in London, England

Four Seasons in Chinatown, London

Double Decker Buses

Just as cable cars are to San Francisco, double decker buses are to London. Ride one. At least once. That is all.

Double Decker bus in London, England

Changing of the Guards

I wouldn’t say this was a particular favourite of mine. The whole thing was filled with a lot of repetitive actions – coughlotsofmarchingcough – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth coming early to get a good spot for. The whole process of the changing of the guards is such an interesting spectacle that to come to London and miss it just isn’t right.

Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace 2

Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace 3

Kensington Palace

This was where Princess Diana used to live and where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge currently reside. While I couldn’t go inside the palace, the gardens were a beautiful place to stroll through. The Princess Diana Memorial Playground is also located here. If you’re into running or biking while on vacation, Kensington is a great, wide open space to explore.

Gate in front of Kensington Palace in London, England

Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens in London, England

Stay tuned for my London Faves Part 2!

What are your favourite things to see and do in London? Share them in the comments below!

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