Saturday, December 26, 2015

Freezing London + Amsterdam Day 1


Itinerary of today:
Heathrow Airport
Studios2Let- North Gower
Breakfast @itsu
Emirates Stadium
Breakfast @Borough Market
The Shard
Greenwich Royal Observatory
Greenwich Market
Cutty Sark
Southbank Christmas Market
Dinner @Wagamama
London Eye
House of Parliament
Big Ben
Westminster Abbey
Paddington Station

It was such a long and scary itinerary after a long haul flight! Anyhow, we only have 4 days in London and that was the fact that we gotta make good use of our time.

We touched down at 4:30 early in the morning at London Heathrow Airport but by the time we collected our luggage and have our passport checked, it was already 5:30am. It wasn't actually a terribly long wait as we expected because we thought we might have to queue for a long time for the customs.

From the airport, we still had to take the tube to our hotel which took us about an hour. The first thing we gotta do was buying an Oyster card for Lawrence (GBP30) and top up mine (GBP25)
There is daily capping for oyster card which I found good. For us, the first whole day we travelled was only GBP9.4, the third and fourth day GBP9.3 and GBP8.6 relatively. 
The underground system was very similar to that in Hong Kong except there are more lines and step-free access does not appear to be happened in every station, meaning that we needa carry our luggage and climb up the stairs sometimes.

Arriving at Warren Street Station, we headed to do some grocery shopping at Sainsbury’s. We bought basic necessities such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. We also bought our breakfast and 'Christmas feast' like bread, jam, cheese, ham, a few packs of micro-waved oven food, soup, chicken, lettuce and bananas (GBP17.75) since there were nothing open on Christmas day. (Of course everything can be fixed with money if you don't mind spending a lot on that day)

Address: 145 Tottenham Court Rd

It was actually 5 minutes walk to our hotel from the station. Well located between Warren Street Station and Euston Station, it gave us a choice taking different tube lines without changing train at the underground. By the time we reached Studios2Let- North Gower (HKD2175/ 3 nights), it was about 8-ish and the sky was then turning brighter. We were granted luck with the staff letting us to check-in so early! When we got into our room, we even found out that we were upgraded to Big Economy Studio with kitchenette! (We reserved the Stardard Studio with micro-waved oven only!) Lawrence was able to take a quick shower to freshen himself up and I was able to put my make up on as well! How great it was!

Studios2Let - North Gower
Address: 192 North Gower St, Bloomsbury - Fitzrovia
Tel: 020 7121 6200

Time seemed to spin really fast after that. Was too hungry to continue our journey, so we had a bit of healthy meal for breakfast at itsu. This was the one we ordered with runny poached egg, baked ham, hollandaise steamed brown and red rice. (GBP3.49)

Address: 15-20 Hampstead Rd, London NW1 3JA
Tel: +44 20 7387 6011 
Opening hours: 07:00–20:00

Initially we wanna take a quick look of the Harry Potter Platform at King’s Cross Station, but then we both wanna slow down a bit and spend some more time at the Emirates Stadium (even we didn't join the Arsenal Stadium Tour and just went shopping for souvenirs). Found my decision right seeing my hubby wearing a big smile throughout the morning. I am sure it must be one of his favourite places among all I planned. He bought 2 footballs and a scarf in the end. (GBP37 -GBP2 tax refunded)

Emirates Stadium
Address: Hornsey Rd, London N7 7AJ

Time for our real breakfast at Borough Market getting off at London Bridge Station. We did some research online for must-try food as we couldn't eat much. We both wanna try the best things in this market and short-listed Applebee's prawn roll, Richard Haward's Oysters and Monmouth Coffee's flat white.

Applebee's was the first one we saw. It was a bit rainy and there were only a few people queuing up. We ordered the mixed fish & prawns (GBP5) and it was incredible.

Saw crowds of people queuing up and we were pretty sure it was Richard Haward's Oyster we were looking for. The oysters were so fresh that we could almost taste the flavour of sea in them. Adding a little bit of chili sauce on them and it even brought out the heavenly taste. We ordered 8 with the special offer at GBP10. Nearby restaurants sold the same quantity and quality of oysters for more than double the price. The staffs were super friendly and those guys worked so hard to ensure customers getting freshly shucked oysters.

Feeling a bit cold and thirsty, a cup of flat white will do. It did get busy all the time, but the coffee was well worth waiting for. (GBP2.7)

Not being a big fan of coffee, my choice was a cup of hot apple juice with ginger. (GBP2)

Last but not least, we were attracted by the Merry Xmas roasted pig. The hot roasted roll was stuffed with juicy pork. (GBP5.5) What a nice one to end our food tour.

Borough Market
Address: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL
Tel: +44 20 7407 1002
Opening hours: Mon-Thur 1000-1700, Fri 1000- 1800, Sat 0800- 1700

The Shard was just within reach. We didn't go up but were both amazed by the height and outlook of it.

The Shard
Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG

Got on the train to Greenwich and it took us just 5 minutes to get there. It was a long walk to get to the Observatory though, yet the walk uphill from the park was very pleasant.

Unfortunately the Greenwich Royal Observatory was closed when we arrived. This is a place which many may not visit just due to the sheer distance from London, but I think it deserved a visit even just for the prime meridian. It was still fascinating to have us on 2 sides of the globe across the Eastern and the Western Hemispheres! The view at the top was magnificent too.

Greenwich Royal Observatory
Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
Opening hours: 1000- 1700

Walked downhill to the Greenwich Market and the sky was gradually turning dark.

Unlike the other markets I have visited, Greenwich Market was selling beautiful hand crafted collections of different art. Some stalls were having exclusively antique things. Nevertheless, we preferred the ordinary ones and we just took a speedy walk around it.

Greenwich Market
Address: 5b Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ
Tel: +44 20 8269 5096
Opening hours: Tue- Sun 1000- 1730

The Cutty Sark was a famous Clipper Ship built in 1869. It is one of the only three remaining original composite ships with wood over an iron frame. It is a spectacular landmark surrounded by a glass building which houses a museum and gift shop.

The Cutty Sark
Address: King William Walk, London SE10 9HT
Opening hours: Tue- Sun 1000- 1700

Was way too cold and we sneaked into McDonald's next to the Cutty Sark DLR Station for a cup of hot chocolate (GBP1.49) before making our way to the Southbank market.

Planned to grab some food for dinner at the Southbank Christmas Market. However, most of the stalls closed much earlier then the closing time as it was the Christmas Eve, with choices of drinks, desserts and rides remaining only.

Were in a state of disappointment and walked back to the Southbank for dinner at Wagamama. The fried noodles was fine but the Ramen was the worst one that I have ever had! (GBP17.75) Seeing people around us having much leftover, I guess they had the same feeling as I did.

Address: Riverside Level, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX 
Tel: 020 7021 0877

Not gonna let the dinner ruin our mood. Headed to London Eye to take some good pictures with it. We were not interested in having a ride on that at all, but I am sure the view up there should be stunning.

London Eye
Address: London SE1 7PB 
Tel: +44 871 781 3000
Opening hours: 1000- 2030

Right opposite to the London Eye was the House of Parliament and Big Ben. Being one of the iconic landmarks in London, it's more about the symbolic meaning it has than the clock itself.

House of Parliament 
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Tel: +44 20 7219 3000

Intended to attend the Westminster Abbey Midnight Eucharist, but it was way too early and we didn't want to wait for a few hours for that, so we decided to visit the Paddington Station and checked out the statue there to end our first day in London, taking more rest for the next day.

Westminster Abbey
Address: 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA
Opening hours: Mon- Tue, Thur- Fri 0930- 1530, Sat 0930- 1330, Wed 0930- 1800

Total expenses for 2 =HKD2175 +GBP155.68
Oyster Card                           GBP55
Sainsbury’s                            GBP17.75
Studios2Let- North Gower       HKD2175/ 3 nights
Breakfast @itsu                      GBP3.49
Emirates Stadium                   GBP35
Breakfast @Borough Market    GBP25.2
The Shard                              /
Greenwich Royal Observatory  /
Greenwich Market                   /
Cutty Sark                             /
Hot chocolate @McDonald's    GBP1.49
Southbank Christmas Market  /
Dinner @Wagamama             GBP17.75
London Eye                           /
House of Parliament               /
Big Ben                                 /
Westminster Abbey                /
Paddington Station                /


  1. Christmas in Europe!!!!! SO GOODDDD! :)

    1. Yes! Much better than having it in HK! Especially with heaps of Christmas Markets with nice deco and lights!