London: The Shard & Hyde Park

Last week myself and Laura went on a trip to London for 2 nights. Getting an absolute bargain on the train tickets from Stoke-on-Trent to London Euston (only £35.60 return for us both! Last time I paid £40.00 for myself) we went there full of excitement. We stayed in the Ibis Budget Hotel in Whitechapel close to Brick Lane which was £169.00, not the most inexpensive but this was the best we could find since we only decided to go two weeks before. The hotel was clean, the bed was huge, the staff were friendly, and we could see the Gherkin from the window, everything you need for a short break.

Since we didn’t arrive into London until the evening we decided to take a walk and then go to the Shard which we booked online. We took the tube from Whitechapel to Embankment and walked from there onto Covent Gardens, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately when we were walking through Covent Gardens the market stalls were all closing but we got a chance to have a little look. We then walked to Trafalgar Square which was full of people and street performers. The Big Ben sat in the background which made for a good view. We took some pictures and then walked towards Leicester Square where we got Milano’s (Pizza Express). As we are both big fans of pizza this was great and they even had a big range of vegetarian pizzas, mine was the Fiorentina topped with egg and spinach! After we filled our stomachs we then headed to London Bridge Station via Waterloo from Leicester Square. I would just like to say R.I.P to the people that were killed in the attacks a few days later and I hope everyone in hospital makes a full recovery. Also a huge thank you to the emergency services for apprehending the attackers within an astonishingly quick 8 minutes!


The Shard is one thing that we both really wanted to do in London and it lived up to its expectations, 245m up in the air we got a great view of London and on a clear day you can see all the way to Kent. Aerial views are definitely the most unique of views of cities as they can not always be obtained in every city you visit. Seeing the world from above brings a new perspective and helps you see the landscape differently and when looking down on London it filled me with awe. It was unusual seeing Westminster and Big Ben being dwarfed by the HMS Belfast and the buildings below looked like Lego bricks. We watched the sun go down but the clouds made the view slightly unclear. Unfortunately since both view platforms have glass it was hard to get rid of the glare on the pictures however the views were incredible and made up for this.


The second day we decided to go to Hyde Park and the weather was glorious. We got the tube from Whitechapel to Marble Arch and walked around the top of Hyde Park and down to The Serpentine (Lake) where we both got an ice cream. The park was full of people running and relaxing so we sat and people watched. The vastness of the park was so great that we decided to go for another walk and only covered half of the area of the park. We then headed to Oxford Street to indulge in some shopping which took a fair few hours! After dropping our bags off at the hotel we went to Liverpool Street on the tube to get some food. I decided to withdraw money instead of paying by card and unluckily my card was eaten by the machine so I had to waste 15-20 minutes on the phone cancelling it and ordering a new one! Then we finally went to Honest Burger and it was definitely the nicest burger I have eaten. A homemade blend of cauliflower, shallots, spices and carrot created the vegetarian patty and together with onion, cheddar, lettuce and a caramelised bun created a mouthwatering burger. With a side of homemade chips seasoned with rosemary this was one of the best meals out I have had in London. I also had a local beer from a local brewery which specialises in honey flavoured beer. The restaurant was decorated in a ranch style and the staff were really helpful.


On the last day we rushed to the nearest bank so I could withdraw money for the day and then had a coffee and went into Spitalfields market where we spent sometime looking around. We decided that next time we visit London we would spend longer here and have food from one of the many restaurants or street food stalls. After this it was time to leave and we headed back to Euston which, as usual, was extremely packed with people. The station was so packed that when we got on our train for 1 hour out of the 2 and a half hour journey we had to stand which wasn’t a great end to a relaxing few days in London.

Day ticket on Tube – £12.30 (£8.10 with rail card).

Shard ticket – £21 for a two students during peak time.

Ibis Budget Hotel – from £169.00 2 people, 2 nights (£84.50 per night).

Train Tickets with London Midland – £35.60 total for two people with one railcard.



Twitter and Instagram: @JamieArathoon


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