A visitors guide to London!

Trip Report: Cirque du Soleil Luzia and more

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Day 3: Changing of the Guard, Seven Dials and Covent Garden

After a good night’s sleep we were fully charged up again for a day of sightseeing in London. Mothers wanted to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, so on to Westminster.

Travelled directly to Westminster on the Jubilee Line from Canning Town.

When you walk out of Westminster Station, you’ll see
Big Ben
right in front of you with the Houses
of Parliament
behind it. Unfortunately, Big Ben was in the works, so you couldn’t see Big Ben in its full glory. Turn right in the direction of St. James’s Park. First you see
Westminster Abbey
on the left, also partly in the scaffolding. Many famous people are buried here, such as various kings, Prime Ministers and others such as Sir Isaac Newton.

Via St. James’s Park you walk straight to Buckingham Palace.

This park is not the largest park, but it is a very nice park with several animals. This is how pelicans, ducks and geese live here and you come across rather cheeky squirrels eating out of your hand.

The Changing of the Guard starts at 11 a.m. and lasts about 45 minutes. Make sure you’re on time if you want to stand at the gate in front of Buckingham Palace.

There are a lot of people coming in, so it’s very busy. Also pay attention to your belongings, with so many people this is of course a perfect place for pickpockets.

The Changing of the Guard is not held daily, so always check the current schedule at Changing the Guards.

If you’ve never seen this before and it’s a beautiful day or at least dry, well worth it. If it rained, I’d personally do something else.

Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guards 2 Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guards 2

The change we saw was not very special, was a standard change with the regular marching bands. If you are lucky you can see an extensive change with a parade with cannons etc. Unfortunately that was not the case today.

After the Changing of the Guard, walked through Green Park towards Piccadilly.
Green Park
is a bit of a boring park and falls in the way it doesn’t belong to the other parks in London.

On Piccadilly you will find beautiful buildings and the famous Ritz Hotel and the Fortnum & Mason department store. This is the department store that is on the painting with the red Routermaster bus that you can buy from Ikea. When you get from Piccadilly near St. James’s Street to the end of St. James’s Street look, you see the St. James’s Palace. This was the residence of many kings until Queen Victoria came to power.

Just past St. James’s Street on Piccadilly are two shopping malls. Left
Burlington Arcade
and right Piccadilly Arcade. We chose Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly Arcade I have to visit at another time only once.

Burlington Arcade
is a very chic shopping arcade with very expensive shops. When there are no prices for the products in the shop window, you know enough. Right? But it’s a nice gallery to walk through and shop a bit of window.

At the exit of Burlington Arcade turn right towards Regent Street. Went into the Superdry Store, which is more of a mega store.

From the Superdry Store via Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square to Seven Dials in Covent Garden.

Seven Dials Neals Yard

Seven Dials is a lesser known part of Covent Garden. It is also a lot quieter here than on the Covent Garden Piazza. Seven Dials includes 6 streets that all end up at the Dial, the sundial that is said to be the7th “Dial”. In the streets you will find all smaller shops, not mega stores. My goal was to check out the Away Store to look at a backpack I’d seen online. And while I’m around… On reflection, €195 for a day pack is a bit much of a good thing.

In Seven Dials, between Monmouth Street and Short Gardens, lies the colourful alleyway neal’s yard, recognisable by the large coffin dangling in the air. Here you will find all cozy eateries and shops, all of which strive for sustainable and ethical practices.

Neals Yard Neals Yard

When we walked out of Neal’s Yard we saw The Seven Dials Market across the street. The Seven Dial Market is a former banana warehouse, which houses shops and a giant food court. Now it’s the Covent Garden Piazza’s turn. Let’s take a stroll around the Apple Market and the Jubilee Market.

Covent Garden Apple MarketThe Apple Market is located in the central building of the piazza and here you will find mainly unique handmade products. At jubilee market, opposite the central building and next to the London Transport Museum, you can buy anything. It looks a bit like a big flea market.

In a previous visit I bought a nice clock at the Apple Market, which had something like a pitcher. Didn’t think about it and put it in our hand luggage. At customs at the airport, all the calls went off. All employees then had this clock in their hands whether this could be allowed on the plane. Luckily they realised that we just liked the clock very much and luckily they were allowed to take it with us. We did get a request to think a little better about this next time.

After seeing everything here and there was still plenty of time left to go and check out camden at the Camden Market. The fastest route is from Holborn with the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross St. Pancrass to go and then take the Northern Line to Camden Town.

Walked down Camden High Street towards camden market.

On the Camden High Street are mainly shops with vintage clothing, souvenir shops and tattoo shops. Several shops do have great facades. You’ll also find Poppies Fish & Chips, one of London’s better fish & chips shops down the street towards the MTV studios.

Camden High Street Camden High Street

Camden Market
is a cosy market where you can find anything. The Stables Market in particular is a nice chain of shops. You can also come here for the internal human being. There is a variety of eateries serving dishes from all over the world.

Camden Market  Camden Market

Camden Market
has been the victim of a major fire several times in recent years. But you don’t really see any of this.

The Hawley Arms Pub CamdenNow it was time for a drink, on to the pub. Opposite the Camden Market near the railway bridge is The Hawley Arms, a cosy pub where we could sit by the wood-burning stove. They’re very friendly here. When I asked for another beer and indicated what I don’t like, they immediately let me taste several beers. The choice has been made on the Camden Hells of the Camden Town Brewery. The Hawley Arms was also the pub where Amy Winehouse frequently visited.

After having had a few pints in the pub it was time to eat. Through the OpenTable app, which I also discuss in my post Best Apps for your visit to London, I had reserved a table at The Ivy Market Grill at Covent Garden. So on to the Underground and back to Covent Garden.

Camden Town Station is at regular intervals only an exit associated with the presses and you can no longer enter this station. You can then walk a station further, Morning Cresent or Chalk Farm.

We chose Chalk Farm. This station enjoys some fame because the English band Madness made the picture here for their second album Absolutely from 1980.

Madness - Absolutely

On the way there you will pass The Round House. Now a concert hall, where many famous artists have performed. There used to be a turntable here on which locomotives could be turned.

Followed the same route as on the way out, but vice versa and so we were back on Holborn in 15 minutes, a few minutes from Covent Garden.

The Ivy Market Grill Covent Garden The Ivy Market Grill is a nice and cozy restaurant. The food there is great and the service is very friendly and attentive. My choice had fallen on the Ribeye on the bone. I’ve rarely eaten them that well. Because I could indicate at the time of booking via the
OpenTable app
that I could indicate if it was for a special occasion, I had indicated that it was for my birthday. At dessert, the waiter came with a delicious scone with a candle on it. How thoughtful!

After an excellent dinner and still a little walking around, we went back to the hotel after another successful day. Unfortunately, it’s the last one.

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