Falling in Love With London Over One Afternoon

Big Ben London

When it comes to travel destinations that have been on my wish list the longest, London takes the number one prize. Well, unless you overlook my earlier plans of running away from home to India. Jokes aside, the very first dream destination for me was London.

I started studying English in school when I was eight, and most of our lessons involved a lot of details on London’s history and sights. I’d always make plans for future trips, making lists of the most affordable London hotels and creating itineraries. The first time I made it to the United Kingdom, I fell in love with London over the course of one afternoon.

View from our Thames boat cruise

View from our Thames boat cruise

Late Start and Train Rides

I was staying in Little Paxton with a friend, and after visiting everything nearby, we took an afternoon to explore London together. We intended for an early morning departure, but we overslept. We rushed through eating breakfast and getting ready, and then we took the train into London. It was about an hour’s ride, but it felt like forever. I was too excited to sit still, and anything over five minutes felt like an eternity.

Hyde Park and the Missing Squirrels

After a pretty fast train ride from the station, our first stop was Hyde Park. It was a sunny June day, but it wasn’t a particularly warm one. We strolled through the park and lounged on the fresh grass, chatting about everything and nothing. We tried our best to spot one little squirrel, but they were all gone. There were lot of ducks and geese on the lake but no squirrels.

Hyde Park London

Thames Cruise

We followed the Hyde Park stroll with another leisurely adventure by boarding a hop-on, hop-off cruise boat on the Thames, just one stop from Tower Bridge. I loved the commentary, the city’s history, and its landmark sites. The view from the top deck of the boat provided great photo opportunities. We loved it so much, we almost went around twice.

Tower Bridge London

Big Ben and the London Eye

We got off right next to the Palace of Westminster to admire the gorgeous building where the Houses of Parliament congregate. We also admired Big Ben, since you can’t visit London without looking up to one of the world’s most famous clocks. We then crossed the bridge to the South Bank to gawk at the London Eye. Even though it wasn’t high season or a weekend, the line was just too long. To avoid our rookie mistake, I recommend that you book your tickets online.

London Eye

I felt like my heart was breaking as we stepped into a subway station. We were munching on pastries we’d gotten from the shops near the London Eye. Leaving for Scotland the next morning made me feel a little better, but at that point I knew it only took one look to fall in love and always want to return to London. Whether you visit London for a short while or spend a longer vacation there, take the time to fall in love with the city just like I did.

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Falling in Love With London Over One AfternoonFalling in Love With London Over One Afternoon

Falling in Love With London Over One Afternoon

34 Comment to “Falling in Love With London Over One Afternoon”

  1. Gabi says:

    I’m bound to London in a few days and your post makes me even more eager to arrive. I always enjoy its awful weather, great sights and it also brings me lots of childhood memories from the times I studied English.. Just like you. It’s a place to fall in love with every time you visit.

  2. London is one of the first cities I traveled to and I love it! There are so many different things to see, it’s so vibrant and multicultural. I’d love to live there one day!

  3. Anju says:

    I’ve been on the Thames cruise and the london eye. Totally loved it! So true that you can fall in love with London in just a day. I also love that you can find nearly any cuisine to eat there!

  4. Alberto C. says:

    London is probably the city that I’ve visited the most (I’ve been there at least 10 times!), and I like it more and more every time I go. Such a diverse place, with so many things to do!

    Did you get the change to go up the London Eye? Tickets are a bit pricey, but the view is very nice!

    • Alberto, no! Like I said in the post, the queue was too much to deal with. We hadn’t gone to London with a plan, and that was a mistake on our part. we still had plenty of fun though!

  5. Oh London is indeed lovely and beautiful!

  6. Indrani says:

    Thames cruise will e fun and interesting. Buildings always look different from a river. I can imagine how leaving the city would have felt like. Hope you visit again.

  7. Joanna says:

    I wonder where all thee squirrels were. They are usually everywhere in Hyde Park. There are so many things to do in London, I always discover new ones. For a really cool view of the city head over to the Heron Tower or to The Sky Garden.

  8. We visited London for last Christmas and fell in love with it. Agree with you there is magic in London air you never want to leave the city. We did cruise at night it was all so captivating. Hope to visit someday again 🙂

  9. Verushka says:

    It is impossible not to fall in London and this love affair lasts a lifetime trust me.
    You got so much done in a short space of time.I hope you visit London again.

  10. Léa says:

    London is one of my favorite city in the world. Stayed there for one month earlier this year and I had such a great time! You can do whatever you want, there are so many things to see!! I totally agree with you, it’s not possible not to fall in love with London.

  11. Sarah Harvey says:

    I also adore London, my country’s capital, but only when I’m wandering around with my best friend. The two of us have no agenda, we just walk and talk and see where our feet take us!

  12. Suanlee says:

    Good tips regarding purchasing the tickets for Big Ben online, when I last visited London it was a public holiday and there were an abundance of people! Also, I managed to see some squirrels and they were the cutest things ever. I hope you visit london again and see all of these things you loved.

  13. Carmy says:

    I’m itching to go to London! I feel like I’d fall in love with the buildings and architecture. I’m betting it looks gorgeous in the winter too!

  14. Ana says:

    London is indeed very beautiful destination and mostly on every traveler’s list. It’s on my bucket list too! Hope to go there someday in my life!

  15. Blair Villanueva says:

    Oh London, also in my travel bucket list! I am dying to see the Big Ben and personally hear its sound 🙂

  16. Komang Ayu says:

    I think London is a very romantic place. I want to go to Londen with couple. But until now I have not been able to go there. I love to see the building that was there, very classic.

  17. Janine Good says:

    I lived in the UK for 2 years and went down to London regularly. I love everything about this city! Your pictures brought back incredible memories. I love Hyde Park. It is such a beautiful break from the bustle of the city!

  18. EG III says:

    I, too, have always had a love for London. The river cruise is something I’ll definitely have to try next time and thanks for the advice on purchasing London Eye tickets in advance because that’s one attraction I don’t want to miss as well!

  19. Shane Prather says:

    I was bummed to only have 24 hours in London… wasn’t able to explore it in all its glory! I just wish it was sunnier sometimes 😉

  20. Ami says:

    I too loved the city… Especially the South Bank with the London Eye and all the cultural activities… Had a fun time there. I sure would love to visit it again… For I have left a lot unseen

  21. In such a short time window you’d explored your maximum and utilized your time very well. I’ve never been to London but this is in my bucket list too.

  22. Tamshuk says:

    Wonderful and fun way to explore this beautiful city. I love the photos, especially the last shot of the London Eye. Leaving for Scotland does make feel better too as I love that country. Nicely written post.

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