Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Day 2: Burkingham Palace, West Minister Abbey, Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, River Cruise & Dominion Theatre

Woke up really early cause we want to catch the Guard Changing Ceremony @ Burkingham Palace. Had the  £4 breakfast @ our hostel that includes a croissant, a coffee/tea, a glass of fruit juice, a small pack of cereal & fruits/yogurt before heading off to Oxford Street to catch the tube to Victoria Station. 

On the way to Oxford Street which is 10-15min walk away from our hostel.

 Cannot hide our excitement.. 

The cross junction of Oxford Street.. There is H&M across the street, Miss Selfridges, Zara, Burberry.. OMG!! But you know what, I did not shop here during my trip in London AT ALL!!

Buying the oyster card for our tube & bus service.. It works the same way like our EZ-link card in SG.. £5 deposit which is fully refundable is required during the 1st purchase.. 

With our new 'fren' for the next few days..

For those who will be in London during a weekend like us, chances are you will encounter problems such as partial line closure.. Apparently, its quite normal in London.. We have to do a detour to go to Victoria station & it was quite confusing as there are a number of platforms in 1 station.. Luckily there are train staffs around to guide us to the correct area.. 

It's kinda stuffy in there.. Have to take off our coats whenever we were inside the train.. 

This is right outside Victoria Station.. I love those trees.. I cannot believe I am in London!!

We went to the office of Big Bus Tour right opposite the station to change our online ticket into the actual boarding pass.. Then we followed the crowd & walk towards Burkingham Palace.. Realised we were too early for the ceremony so we decide to take shelter from the cold weather at a nearby cafe.. 

That ended up with us having 2 english breakfast set for sharing.. Hahaha.. 

This is right beside the cafe we went to.. If you are walking from Victoria Station, its on the right hand side of the road.. 

Here we are.. Entering the gate of where the Queen lives.. OMG OMG.. I thought it looks pretty empty but I was so wrong.... 

If you are wondering why there are so many people, its because the guard changing ceremony is one of the must-see for tourists in London & on top of that, it does not take place everyday.. It only happened during selected days @ 1130 & is dependent on the weather of the day itself as well.. For the schedule, you can click HERE.. 

The best spot to watch the whole ceremony is the round-about in front of the gate.. But as you can see by the time we reached there, the space has already been taken up.. Do not stand on top of the ledge in order to have a better view cause the guard will chase you down before the ceremony begins.. After waiting for 30min, the ceremony begins..

The weather is really chilly that day & we went off before the ceremony ends.. Which I regretted in the end cause we did not manage to take the picture of the guards coming out from the main gate.. Just when I was feeling down & ngiaming B about it, sth caught my attention....... 

We caught them on the main road instead.. Pleasant surprise!! hehe

OMG.. They are so close to me.. Can I touch their bearskins hat?!? 

We continued our walk to Westminister Abbey once the hype of the march died down.. There are so many things to see along the way there & you will pass by this really gorgeous Royal park know as the Green Park.. 

This is the closest we can get to the guards.. Still no chance of touching the bearskins hat.. 

Horse Guard Parade & some random building beside it.. Haha.. 

Finally we reached our destination - The Westminister Abbey.. The usual 30 min or less walk took us more than an hour to finish cause we were taking picture @ every single spot.. You can either be like us, go to catch the Guard Changing Ceremony then take a nice walk to Westminister Abbey or you can take a tube there..

Getting Here via Tube: Westminster or St James's Park
For detailed opening hours, can click HERE.
Entrance fee : £16 for adults ( audioguide is free )
Photography : Forbidden inside the premises 

We finished the tour in 1.5 hours & moved on to take our Big Bus Tour.. There are a numbers of stop nearby where you can board the bus.. Rem to take a map from the staffs, its really handy.. We saw the Parliament House & Big Ben the moment we came out of Westminister Abbey & were wow-ed by the structure...

We passed by alot of places on the bus but we did not finish the full tour cause of time constraint ( we need to catch our musical @ 730pm ). For those first-timer in London, I highly recommend this tour cause it gives you the convenience of going up n down the bus whenever you feel like it and it also comes with a free river cruise tour & 2/3 walking tour.. The staffs at the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus office did ask if we want to get a 2-day pass by topping up I forgot how much.. Come to think of it, I should have gotten it & use it to explore the other part of the city the next day.. :( 

Some places we passed by :

High-end residential area in London.. These houses cost £20mm each.. 

Somewhere near BBC building 

Trafalgar Square 

On Westminister Bridge towards London Eye for our River Cruise tour..

Took this while on the way towards London Eye to take our River Cruise.. Nice spot for picture.. 

The wind is chilly along the River Thames.. We were shivering with cold at the dock when waiting for the cruise to come.. There is a guide on the cruise to explain to us some history of the buildings & bridges.. It was pretty entertaining but I was too engrossed snapping picture to take note of what was being mentioned.. haha.. At the end of the cruise ride, you can tip the guide accordingly.. 

City Hall - Looks like an egg to me.. 

Tower of London 

The highlight of the River Cruise - Tower Bridge of London.. 

We were glad we manage to take time out for the river cruise ride.. It allows you to see London in a different perspective & look at Tower Bridge at the best angle.. We alighted at the dock near to Tower Of London & took a tube back to our hostel to prepare for the night out.. 

Took a cab from our hostel to Dominion Theatre for our musical & cost us around £5 - £6 for a less than 10 minutes ride.. (Heart bleed once more).. It was pretty crowded when we reached the theatre.. 



Waiting for the musical to start.. 

For a near half priced ticket, our seats are pretty good.. The musical lasted about 3 hours, with a 15 mins interval between.. I was trying hard to keep myself awake during some parts of the show not because it was not interesting but because of my jetlag!! I am watching a musical at 3am SG time!! 

We took a cab back to our hostel & had our pizza @ the hostel lobby for dinner.. We ordered it earlier before heading to the show but had no time to eat it.. The staff is nice enough to keep it for us until we came back.. Kudos to the staff of YHA London.. hehe.. 

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