Continuing my summer of travel posts, I’m now going to tell you about the time we took a day trip to London. London can be done in one day from Scotland, so long as you plan it right. We managed to take a day trip to London, getting the first flight out of Prestwick Airport in the morning at around 6am and the last flight back from Stansted in the evening around 10pm. Yes, it was tiring, but no, it wasn’t expensive. In January 2006, Ryanair were selling flights for a penny, which meant all you had to pay was the tax. We managed to get two return tickets for £10 each. The train from Stansted to Liverpool Street Station cost us more, at £25 each. I have no idea what it costs now, but I’m guessing it’s considerably more.
To do this trip in one day and on a budget, you have to be fairly fit and willing to do lots of walking. We walked from Liverpool Street Station into the heart of London, pausing to take pictures in Threadneedle Street at the Bank of England.
We pre-booked tickets for the London Eye. It was pretty much the only thing I wanted to do in the morning and I wasn’t disappointed. The views were spectacular.
Then there was more walking. I foolishly took long boots with kitten heels and while they kept my legs warm, they were no good for a full day of walking.
There were plenty of photo opportunities. Pictures by the Thames, pictures of Big Ben, pictures on various bridges. You name it, we saw and we snapped it.
We then went to see Buckingham Palace. Neither of us are royalists, but we thought it would be nice to say we had been. And you never know who might be there. Well…nobody we recognised was there, but it was still another photo opportunity!
After that we headed to Trafalgar Square. This is where the tiredness started to kick in and my memories get more than a little hazy. We had lunch in a pizza restaurant, although I don’t know which one. We also made a quick pit-stop in a museum, although again I can’t remember which one. I just know that we were close to Trafalgar Square.
We had booked tickets to a show. I’m a big fan of Darius Campbell and when I heard he was starring in Chicago as Billy Flynn I was desperate to go. It was actually the main reason for the trip. I gave in to tiredness as soon as my backside hit the comfortable chair in the theatre and had a power-nap before the show started and then another during the interval.
Once the show was finished, it was time to head back to Liverpool Street Station. We had almost run out of money, but I honestly couldn’t walk any further by that time. We caught the bus instead, which was also kind of nice, getting a traditional red double-decker London bus. Another thing ticked off the list but by this point my camera’s batteries had flattened and I was too tired to even think about taking more pictures.
I think we bought sandwiches for dinner, either in the train station or at the airport, although I can’t confirm it for sure. I was getting so tired that my memories are beyond hazy from this point.
The flight home was quick and Alex was thankfully fresh enough to drive us from Prestwick back to our flat near Cumnock. Although I was at the stage where I was so tired I felt sick. Also, London is so much colder than I expected. Walking to Buckingham Palace is probably the coldest I have ever been in my life.
So, having done enough exercise to last me a few months and done enough sightseeing to last me all year, I can now say I did London in one day but it would have been far more pleasant and less exhausting if I had stretched it out over at least two.
We were planning another day trip to Paris, although after London we were re-thinking this. Paris is a rich, vibrant city with a lot to see, just like London, and we felt it would be unfair to ourselves trying to cram everything in to such a short time frame again.
Have you ever attempted a day trip like this? What was your itinerary?