After our awesome walking tour (read about it here) during our first few hours in London, we were eager to hit a few of the sights we had seen when we visited 9 or 10 years ago. Also on the list were things we’ve been sad about missing out on for 9 or 10 years, most excitingly including a West End musical. It can be hard to plan a trip to somewhere you’ve already visited (and it’s definitely harder if you were old enough to remember your first trip well) but with just a few hours before our show, we headed out to make the most of our limited time in London.
First up was walking across the bridge featured in Harry Potter when the Death Eaters destroyed it: Millennium Bridge. I talked in my last post about my fixation on bridges so I loved this experience: we even purchased some touristy roasted nuts to warm us up. The best part of bridges is the views you can get from the middle: after all, riverbanks tend to hold some of the most impressive buildings a city has to offer!
Next we hopped on a bus (explained by our walking tour guide) and naturally made a beeline for the top floor of the iconic double deckers. Enjoying the view along the way, we hopped off at Trafalgar Square and decided to do a quick walk by arguably the three biggest attractions in London: Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and the Parliament Buildings. Pictures are gorgeous, but there’s nothing like gazing up at the ornate and unbelievably beautiful British Parliament or admiring the intricate architecture of Westminster Abbey. The London Eye is imposing and iconic and in my opinion, London wouldn’t be London without the Eye.
I wish I could have spent hours admiring this area of the city and photographing its buildings, but something even more exciting was ahead. After a quick stop for a dinner of British pie at the lively and exploration-worthy Covent Garden Market, where the sound of opera singers rang out above the clatter of shoppers and diners, it was off to the Lyceum Theatre.
Side note: to put into perspective how tired I was in London, my eyes kept drifting shut during a MUSICAL. I love nothing more than musicals, but a cumulative 3 hours of sleep in the past 2 days made my body cry out for sleep. I wanted to slap myself in the face, but despite the occasional drifting I was on the edge of my seat watching a show I’ve wanted to see for SO long: The Lion King. The sets, the singers, the costumes, the elaborate detail put into every element of the show….this was worth every single penny we paid for it – and that was a lot of pennies. Hearing a play in British accents was also marvellous, as I obviously have a fascination with British accents. What North American doesn’t?
Literally the only downside to the show was the ridiculous number of school groups. For someone who is technically still a teenager, I say the sentence, “I hate teenagers” an awful lot, and it was certainly muttered often under my breath. I think every school in Europe sent 8000 kids to see the show and they would not stop talking. As a born and bred excessively polite Canadian, I often feel too bad to shush people, but that night I was so frustrated that it happened a few times. Despite that, nothing will deter me from leaving with a fantastic impression of this show: my all time favourite is still Mamma Mia (best night of my life) but I think the Lion King is up there now: especially if you’re as obsessed with Disney as most people I know.
All in all, we packed in quite a good amount for one day in London: I think the best strategy for seeing a city for the second (or third, or fourth) time is to revisit the iconic things that you loved most, make it to the things you regret missing the first time, and maybe delve a little deeper on a historic tour. Cities like London never run out of new things for you to see and do, but I think I could go to London 12 times and I’d go back to see Parliament and the London Eye every single time.
Do you like revisiting cities? Have you been to London? What’s your strategy for revisiting a city?