Keep Calm And Go To London!

“Go where we may, rest where we will, Eternal London haunts us still.” ― Thomas Moore

I actually wanted to write a review of my life for the first half of 2017 but I shall put that on hold. The London trip that I took recently is more urgent, considering I have a few pointers (which I would soon forget) that would make my travels in future, London or anywhere else, much easier. (Yeah, I never learned from my previous travels). As a side note, this trip was a reward to myself for completing my PhD last year. Yeeha! But in order to make it more economical, I purposely found a conference (in Brighton) to present a paper. 

1. When in London, the first thing you need to do at the airport is to get the Oyster card. This can be used for tubes and buses. Pay 5£ and top up whatever amount - 20£ would be nice and gets you to many places.

2.  You can practically get to any where in London through tubes. Buses are cheaper, of course but tubes are faster. Just need to know which line you need to take (e.g district, central, Victoria, northern) and whether you need to go eastbound, westbound, southbound or northbound. 

3.  It would be good if you could download the Citymapper app on your phone. This app is awesome! Just key in where you're coming from and where you wanna go, it would give you detailed routes for tubes and buses. And then you just follow. But have to be careful when it comes to buses. Need to check which bus stop specifically because White City for example, has 4 or 5 bus stops, each marked with specific letters - WE, WL WD. You need to pay attention to these letters and find the exact bus stop! 

4.  The next thing to do is to buy a prepaid SIM card. A few years back I bought an unlimited mobile data prepaid card but nowadays it's hard to find mobile providers that give such generous offers. After googling, I opted for EE, which got rave reviews for its 4G coverage, and paid 30£ -for 10GB mobile data - which was sufficient for the 18 days I was in London. You need this to access Citymapper or Google Maps. And to be vain on SocMed. Haha! 

5. Perhaps the best time to go to London is during summer. The weather is just nice for someone who can't stand the cold like me! Plus, there are sales everywhere! Hahaha! Most of the stuff would be summer stuff - which is something you can wear when you come back home. Yeeha! Trips to Bicester Village and London Designer Outlet are necessary, the former for high end brands and the latter for less high-end. Bicester Village is not that necessary in my opinion, unless you are aiming for luxurious brands like Gucci, Prada and Armani.  Plus point is that it has Long Champ outlet, if you're into Long Champ, that is. The downside is it has only one sports outlet.  London Designer Outlet has more sports brands like Asics, Nike, and Adidas and less expensive brands like Next, H&M, M&S, and Gap - which are really my kinds of brand. Haha! Another thing I learnt - it is cheaper and faster to go here via Uber! 

6.  As true everywhere else in this world, Uber is definitely cheaper than taxi. I took UberX to the airport  (simply because I had two big bags) and it is cheaper than the regular taxi by 20£! 

7. Weather-wise: Summer means the hottest would be 20°C. If you're lucky. Usually it's between 13-16. It can get chilly in the evening. It can also rain. Must bring a light jacket, or at least a pashmina, and a small, fold able umbrella. 

8. Bring comfy, walking shoes. 

9. Bring as less clothes as possible. So you can bring back more clothes. Hahaha! 

10. Really must find a way to reduce the weight of your toiletries! Must bring everything in mini sizes. M. I. N. I. So you can bring back more stuff. Haha!

11.  You need at least a few days to cover Oxford Street! The same applies to Westfield at Shepherd's Bush! And the biggest Primark is near the Tottenham Court Road tube station! And some brands like JD Sports and Boots have more than one outlet at Oxford Street! 

12. The Perfume Shop has the best perfume deals! Check prices online first! 

13. Waitrose has the best deals, I think, when it comes to grocery. A lot of variety. 

14. For trains and show tickets, it is much cheaper to buy online.

15. Shoes are heavy! So next time I have to limit buying new shoes to maybe only 3 pairs. 

15. I have basically covered most of the interesting and touristy places in London during my previous trips. So this time around I decided to visit museums and art galleries. Managed to cover British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Modern. Next trip must cover The Natural History Museum and Tate Britain. 

That's all 😂


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