Welcome to London

Welcome to London… where the museums are free (donations suggested) and the cars drive on the left side. Under many a cloudy sky we have looked the wrong way for oncoming traffic and the weather can be depressing. But with all its shortcomings we never ran out of things to see or do. London is a city full of culture: tea drinking culture, biscuit dunking culture, fish and chips culture; there are so many iconic “Londonisms” that make it our front pages everyday. With so many eyeballs on this city, once we got our boots on the ground there was more to London than we imagined.

The Rookery Garden
Our first Airbnb was located in Streatham next to a peaceful garden called The Rookery
The Rookery Garden
It’s easy to get lost in the many paths that lead to beautiful gardens and views of the district
Streatham Common
Open spaces such as these are a great place for families to bring their pets and children
Hyde Park Ducks and geese
From Streatham Common we also visited Hyde Park, home to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain as well as a multitude of ducks and geese
Kensington Gardens Serpentine Pavilion
Modern and contemporary architecture pieces such as the Serpentine Pavilion sit proudly in Kensington Gardens just west of Hyde Park
Victoria and Albert Museum Entrance
After visiting several parks we found our way to the Victoria and Albert Museum – the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design
Victoria and Albert Museum
The historic inner courtyard of the V&A Museum was a backdrop to the futuristic fiberglass trees that “grow” depending on the location of guests
Natural History Museum London
Exhibition Road is home to not only the V&A Museum but also the Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum London
The Natural History Museum has 5 main collections 1 of which is the paleontology collection
Natural History Museum London
An excellent collection of fossils are on display
Holland Park Peacock
We visited Holland Park in west London which has some of the loudest and most vocal peacocks we have seen
Kyoto Garden
Holland Park contains two Japanese gardens – the Kyoto Garden (1991) and Fukushima Memorial Garden (2012)
Kyoto Garden
The colorful plants and unique trees showcase the Japanese style of landscaping; take time to appreciate the calming spirit of the garden – like this squirrel here
Kyoto Park
Strolling around the pond you can find koi fish which are a welcome sight in the busy park – come early if you want to avoid the crowds
Soho London
After Holland Park we walked to Soho in west London; the scenery changed from parks and gardens to billboards and double-decker buses
Bibimbap Soho
We decided to stop by a Korean restaurant that specializes in bibimbap; although the restaurant looks small from the storefront there was plenty of seating downstairs as well as a shrine to K-pop stars
London Chinatown Fish Pastry
Finding ourselves in London’s Chinatown we picked up a bag of fish shaped snacks; similar to taiyaki but smaller and without the filling
Trooper of the Blues and Royals
Different from the palace guards that wear bearskin hats, troopers of the Blues and Royals are the cavalry regiment of the British Army and wear metal helmets
Big Ben London
As the day was winding down we walked to nearby Big Ben, at this point my stomach was in terrible pain due to some bad chicken tikka masala that I ate earlier
The London Eye at Night
Pam took some lovely shots of The London Eye at night as I lay on a bench still in pain from the curry
British Museum
The next day our first stop was the British Museum which has one of the largest collections in existance – over 8 million works. It would be impossible to see everything even if we dedicated an entire day to this massive free mueseum
Chop Chop Noodle Bar
After meeting up with a friend for some drinks we stopped by Chop Chop Noodle Bar for dinner; cheap Chinese food that was surprisingly good
King's Cross Station
Right next door to Chop Chop was King’s Cross station home of Platform 9 3/4
Platform 9 3/4
The visit wouldn’t be complete without this albeit blurry picture of the luggage cart from the Harry Potter series
Museum of London Docklands
On our last day in London we visited the Museum of London docklands; a museum that documents the history of the West India Docks as well as collections on slavery up until future plans for the Docklands
Canary Wharf London
Across from the museum is Canary Wharf whose many skyscrapers are headquarters to numerous major banks
Museum of London Docklands
We like to see museums offering free entrance otherwise we would have missed out on a great learning experience
Canary Wharf Sunset
As the sun set on Canary Wharf so did our time in London; we had some great times and some not so great times but we are still glad to have visited The Old Smoke