Hi everyone! Welcome to Paperweights and Polaroids! Grab a cuppa, come on in, and relax.
A quick intro: My name is Chloe and I’m 19. I’m from Northern Ireland and currently live here, but hope to move to England in the next few years. I live with my mum and brother, and my two dogs: Jodie, my beagle; and Daisy, a Yorkie cross. I love baking and cooking, and as a vegetarian I will be creating and sharing dishes catering to vegetarian and vegan diets. I also love scrapbooking and crafting, travelling, vintage shopping, and ELEPHANTS!
London July 31st – August 2nd
Over the summer I went on a trip to London with my boyfriend Adam (hey while we’re here, check him out here and here). We had the BEST time even though we were only there for a few short days, and I just wanted to share a little of my first experience of London!
We flew from Belfast International Airport to London Luton. After getting a little lost, experiencing the metro (Fail! Absolutely hated it!) we finally arrived at our accommodation. Since we’re broke students we basically went for the cheapest we could find that didn’t look horrific. We stayed in 23 on Matheson Road. We were pleasantly surprised; the room was clean, had a small but perfectly suitable en suite, and was perfect for our needs as we simply wanted a place to sleep. No frills but perfect for a couple of students.
After getting lost we were pretty tired and worn out so we decided not to go too crazy. We hopped on a bus and ended up going to the Natural History Museum. Honestly, in my opinion it was nothing spectacular. However, since it’s free it’s definitely worth a look! I enjoyed the dinosaurs and the earthquake simulator, but most of it just wasn’t my thing. It was also pretty crowded with tourists like ourselves and when you’re tired and hungry these things don’t mix!
While we were in that area we tried out Ben’s Cookies and let me tell you, Ben sure knows how to make cookies. Cookies and gelato? Yes please! That definitely put a smile on our faces. Afterwards we walked towards Kensington Gardens. We lay on the grass for a while before going for a walk around it. My favourite part of Kensington Gardens wasn’t the stunning landscape or the palace. It was the SQUIRRELS! They were awesome! They’d come right up to you and boop your hand with their noses! Adam and I had so much fun just watching the squirrels go about their squirrely business and getting the occasional boop. One even climbed up a lady’s leg!
By far my favourite day. We got up early and hopped on the bus to Camden Market! I absolutely recommend it to anyone seriously you have to go. We got there at about 10:30am and stayed until after 5pm! We aren’t even convinced we managed to see everything! There was so much going on. Stalls full of tapestries and boho accessories, vegan food stalls (we sampled a few – delicious!), and all sorts of curiosities from old cameras to vintage clothing to beautiful handcrafted jewellery and candles. It was a beautiful day which just made it all the better. We strolled around taking everything in, eating dutch pancakes (my first time and they were AMAZING, take my word for it – I don’t even like pancakes!), and spending all of our money! We also discovered Rokit, a vintage shop. It was awesome, and upstairs there was a department where everything was £7 or less! When we got back from Camden we headed to Goat Tavern for a few drinks before heading back to our room. We slept like babies that night!
Our final day. We decided to make the most of it so again, we got up early. My body didn’t know what hit it up early three days in a row! We checked out of 23 and went to Victoria station where we could leave our bags for £5. I seriously recommend doing this if you have to check out early but have a late flight! We also booked our coach to Gatwick Airport.
After that, our first stop was Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the changing of the guards, but it was still great to see the palace! We went for walk in the gardens and disaster struck. It started POURING. And which silly people left their coats with their luggage? WE DID! We got drenched as we headed towards the bus that was meant to take us to Southbank. Adam is into skateboarding and wanted to go see it, but unfortunately the bus wasn’t running for whatever reason. We were wet and miserable and after much deliberation gave up on that venture. He was happy because he got to see some skate shop that I have no clue about but happily followed him around. We headed to Oxford Street next, and were a little underwhelmed by the choice of shops – they had duplicates of the same shop and there wasn’t really anything we don’t have at home. Also, we’re both into vintage clothing, so there wasn’t much to suit our taste. We decided to hit up google and ended up finding some really cool vintage shops. Pop Boutique was our favourite, I bought a jacket and Adam got some Dickies trousers for super cheap! There was also a Rokit and another place that unfortunately I don’t remember the name of. By the time we were done it was time to head to our coach. We got some snacks for the journey and headed to the airport.
Despite the bumps along the way we had such a lovely time and are absolutely dying to get back! We’re hopefully going to go over Halloween when we’re both off college. I’m actually looking at going to university over there because I loved it so much! I would definitely recommend going, and I’m so glad I’ve ticked it off my bucket list.
Has anybody else been? What was your favourite thing to do while you were there?
Top Tips for A Visit to London
While you’re here I thought id share a couple of tips that I think are helpful for anyone going to London for the first time.
- Get an oyster card in advance. We were so glad of ours and used it so much. We got around via bus mostly (we tried the underground tube and it wasn’t for us, much too cramped and scary!) so it was an essential.
- Make sure you have plenty of data. We used google maps like crazy and it drained my data and battery, so bring a charger when you’re out! Google maps was basically a lifesaver because we have no sense of direction, and was also good for finding vintage shops and places to eat.
- Wear good shoes! You’ll be walking a lot. I had my trusty vans and even then I ended up with a blister. Take care of yo’ feet!
- Bring a small bag that is either a crossbody or a bumbag. London is SUPER busy and you just never know when someone could snatch your bag! I brought a small crossbody bag and it made me feel safer as its harder to snatch. I kept everything in it – phone, keys, passport, money, tickets – and left nothing valuable in our room. Be safe, be smart.
- Don’t expect to fit everything in to a small space of time and stick exactly to your schedule. I’m a freak for making plans and lists and in the end it all went to the wayside. London is pretty huge, and there’s lots to do. Just pick your main activities and see where the day takes you.
- Most importantly, have a great time and take lots of photos! It’s a beautiful city and I loved the vibe! And it’s even better going with your best friend and person you love <3
Take care my lovelies!