Sunday 26 November 2017

UK-Paris Day 2: Westminster, National Gallery, Tower Bridge & Natural History Museum

We woke up really early at 4am because we were still jetlagged and not used to London time. We had our breakfast the moment it was ready and were out of the hotel just after sunrise at 7.30am! Super early considering I'm totally not a morning person!

Left our hotel bright and early this Sunday morning while everyone else were still asleep!

We headed to Hammersmith Station to get our Oyster card for travelling on the public transport system in London. It's very easy to buy Oyster cards from the machines at the stations. Please read my tips on transport in London for more information.

We got our Oyster card from Hammersmith Station and were all ready to explore London!
Her first time in London Underground

It was a lot more comfortable travelling by trains during Winter as compared to Summer as there is no air-conditioning in the trains! It was such a torture during Summer but so much more bearable during winter! However, do note that data connectivity is terrible underground so if you need to Google for any information, you'd need to do it BEFORE entering the station.

We took the District Line (green) directly to Westminster Station, where we disembarked to see the Big BenLondon EyeRiver Thames and Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Station

Even though the mum and I had been here previously with my then 6-month old baby boy in 2014, we're visiting again because the Big Ben is one of my favourite landmarks in the world!

Unfortunately, the Big Ben clock tower was undergoing some upgrading so we weren't able to take nice pictures with it! So sad! 😫

The Palace of Westminster and the clock tower undergoing maintainance *sob*

We had to contend with taking pictures with the other famous sights instead.

Selfie of the River Thames

London Eye
Walked over to the park opposite of Westminster Abbey
Left: In front of Westminster Abbey, which was not opened to visitors (probably because there was a service going on?);
Right: Statues of famous people such as Winston Churchill stand tall nearby.

From Westminster Abbey, we walked along Whitehall Road to Trafalgar Square.

At the iconic red telephone booth along Whitehall Road
Trafalgar Square
Beautiful fountains and statues can be found here

We didn't have time to visit the National Gallery London when the mum and I visited Trafalgar Square in 2014, so I made it a priority to visit for this trip since it's FREE! Gotta love the UK for making their museums free for all visitors!

National Gallery London
With the painting that depicts Jesus' agony at the Garden of Gethsemane
With more paintings
One of the art galleries

The National Gallery houses 2,300 paintings including Van Gogh's very famous 'Sunflower'. We really enjoyed admiring each one of them! Definitely highly recommended to visit, especially if you love art like I do 😊

We proceeded to our next stop by walking to the nearest station, Charing Cross Station. Here, we took the Bakerloo Line (brown) to Elephant & Castle Station and transferred to the Northern Line (black) to London Bridge Station.

We had wanted to visit Borough Market as we loved it so much when we visited it the last time! Sadly, the market was closed on Sunday even though I remembered checking their opening hours. I must have been confused with the opening hours of another attraction =(

Borough Market

In any case, we found a nice Italian eatery, Cafe Brood, that was one of the few restaurants that were open and decided to grab our lunch there.

Cafe Brood at Borough Market
German hotdog (£5.50)
Box 2 with chicken and saffron rice (£9.50)

We loved the chicken kebab in the Box 2 set so much that we got another box with just the chicken! So yummy!!

Just hot, tender and juicy chicken on an icy cold day! *yums*
The hubby also couldn't resist getting a cold beer to go with the food

After a fulfilling lunch, albeit in the freezing cold, we walked to London Bridge, which was just a short 2-3 minutes walk from Borough Market. As mentioned before, London Bridge has been rebuilt and modernised because the old one has fallen down; remember the famous childhood song "London Bridge is falling down..."?

The bridge that we are most acquainted with is actually Tower Bridge, just a short 10-minute walk from London Bridge.

View of the River Thames and Tower Bridge from London Bridge
Tower Bridge
Definitely my favourite bridge in the world! For now... *laughs*
Can't leave without taking a selfie, which would have been perfect if not for the kissing couple in the background... 😓
The Tower of London is on the opposite bank of the River Thames

Do also check out The Shard, which is also in the area and is the tallest building in London.

The Shard

During our previous trip, the mum and I had lunch and afternoon tea at Shangri-la's Ting Restaurant, which boasts amazing views of London from the 35th floor of The Shard! You can read about our awesome lunch experience here and our awesome afternoon tea experience here. I highly recommend it! 😋

After we were done taking photos, we headed back to London Bridge Station to take the Jubilee Line (grey) to Westminster Station and transfer to the Circle Line (yellow) or District Line (green) to South Kensington Station.

South Kensington Station

We were here to visit the Natural History Museum, just 3-minute walk from South Kensington Station. I love the Natural History Museum for its architecture and exhibits and best of all, it's FREE!

Ice skating and carnival activities happening just outside the Natural History Museum during the winter!

When we entered the Natural History Museum, I was expecting to see a huge skeleton of dinosaur bones hanging in the middle of the main hall just as we did the last time that we were here.

However, we were instead greeted by the skeleton of a whale, I'm guessing, instead. Don't get me wrong, it is still very cool, but definitely a lot more underwhelming as compared to the skeleton of Brachiosaurus! *sigh*

See what I mean?
Skeletons of various mammals and prehistoric creatures on display

It turns out that the dinosaurs have their very own exhibit! That was where we found good ole Brachiosaurus.

Left: A mechanical T-Rex roared at everyone;
Right: The head of the Brachiosaurus is found! 
Poor thing looks so suffocated in such a tiny gallery! Haha! 

We left after we explored the rest of the museum, which had other interesting exhibits.

Taking photos with the interior of the museum, which always reminded me of Harry Potter
Top view of the Natural History Museum =) 

We returned back to our hotel after our visit but if you've got more time, do check out the Victoria Albert Museum and Harrods just down the road (read more about our experiences here)! They're so awesome too!

Continue to >> UK-Paris Day 3: Stamford Bridge Chelsea, Buckingham Palace & Oxford Street
<< Back to UK-Paris Day 1: London's Luma Concept Hotel Hammersmith


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on UK and Paris, France
as well as other travel itineraries!

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