An English Story

  • Posted on: January 27, 2018
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I know, another delayed post. I’ve received my photos on time but have sat on it for almost half a year. Busy schedule and laziness are the culprit, I say.

K and I went to England last year, which also happens to be the only vacation we took together. (K will eventually find his way to Italy alone, but since he doesn’t blog, you can just head to his IG to have a glimpse of some of his photos. :p) Because we’ve had a very busy year, both of us were really tired during this trip, and it also felt like we haven’t planned it the way we did our other trips. However, England surprised us, and we were delighted that we went.

Day 1 – A (Very) Delayed Flight
Our trip didn’t start smoothly – our flight to Heathrow was delayed by a few hours and we didn’t get to leave Toronto until 1:00 am Saturday. Our AC plane was new and had enough room for larger luggage and thankfully I was able to sleep for a bit (I have trouble sleeping on longer flights). We arrived at London Heathrow without any fuss and the immigration lineup was pretty quick.

With the help of the Tube attendant Me and K purchased a 7-day travel card and went to Portobello Market to check out the weekly outdoor market and to catch Cameras London. We decided to get some snacks at Happy Donuts before we headed back to Paddington Station in order to pick-up our luggages.

Given that it was our first time in London we initially made a mistake on our way to our AirBnB lodging and took the wrong tube. We eventually found our way and met our lovely AirBnB hosts and had a quick dinner at Sylvan Post. I also passed by Sainsbury’s and bought a bunch of English chocolates for pasalubong, and some breakfast items.


A section of our AirBnB private room. 🙂

Day 2 – London Calling


Grocery-bought breakfast to save us time… but we woke up late that day.

Because we were really tired, it was no surprise that we accidentally slept in and ended up waking up at 8:45 am – almost 2 hours behind our intended departure. We ended up leaving close to 11:00 am and at this point we have decided to skip a couple of itineraries off our schedule (i.e. St. Katharine’s Dock for lunch).


So glad I brought my Horizon Kompakt and was able to make these amazing panoramic shots!

We have explored a portion of London that have the popular landmarks (St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, The Monument). K decided to have lunch at Borough Market only to find out that it is closed on Sundays… 🙂 So we decided to grab lunch at a nearby sandwich place. We pretty much just walked around and enjoyed the view, people-watched, and took a lot of photos.


We caught a portion of the IAAF World Championships that weekend!

We also decided to swing by Brick Lane Market to check out Film’s Not Dead and met its lovely owner. We walked a few more before we decided to go to Shoreditch and have afternoon tea at Hoi Polloi. Since we ate later, we have skipped our plans to go to The Astronomer Pub and have called it a day.

Our experience at Hoi Polloi was really good, btw. We thought we’re going to miss out if we forego the traditional style afternoon tea, but we enjoyed it. Also the price was reasonable. We also liked the idea that the sweets included were like a treasure box as it looked like each item offered something different. The Hoi Polloi Breakfast Tea is a must.

We also found that the London transit is very easy to use and very traveller-friendly. Signs are everywhere and easy to read. We also had an impression that the London police really felt like a part of their community based from the interactions we saw between them and the locals. The weather was weird (it was sunny with cloudy patches and kind of chilly for August) but still pleasant.

Day 3 – A Day Trip to Bath

The next day we headed to Paddington Station to catch a train ride to the town of Bath, which was recommended by us by our friend M. We arrived at the station around 8:00 am so I had time to check out the Paddington Bear store. I bought a couple of souvenirs for my niece and board books for two of my friends’ babies.

Our train arrived on time and we realized that they arrive and leave on the dot. We had to sprint as our car was waaaaaayyyyy at the back and we didn’t want to be left behind (train boards within 5 minutes!). The train cars were cozy and clean. I tried to sleep on our way (didn’t get a good sleep the night before) but sadly that didn’t work.


Oh hey, it’s us!

Upon arriving at Bath station we went to get some coffee and started our day. The city is pretty much walkable (if you do not mind walking a lot) and we enjoyed the centuries-old apartments and establishments.


Bath Abbey


Inside the Roman Baths. The grounds were excavated way back however the rest of the area were built recently as part of the museum.


My film’s sprocket got stuck in the camera hence I had this nice overlapping image.


Even with a panoramic camera, this is all that I could fit within the frame.

A big chunk of our schedule was spent exploring the Roman Baths. We were supposed to have our lunch at the Green Park Station (which was converted into a small market) but majority of the eating stalls were closed, so we ended up going back to the square and ate Fish n’ Chips. 🙂 We then walked to see The Circus and The Royal Crescent. My feet were tired but it was great seeing a piece of Roman history in Britain (and also a great prelude to K’s trip in the fall).

As soon as we hopped on the train back to London, I fell asleep quickly (traveling with K is exhausting because he loves to walk!) and woke up just in time before our train arrived. London was cold and rainy (good thing we brought our umbrellas) and had dinner at Bizzarro’s. We had shrimp, pasta, and 4-cheese pizza which are so good (the pizza was the clear winner). 🙂

Day 4 – A Cold Day for August

Back in London and this day was a little laid-back, although I think I was a bit fatigued at this point because of the distances we’ve walked so far. The weather wasn’t cooperating either.

We started our day at the Natural History Museum where we saw the fossils and other interesting natural science-y stuff although we cannot help but feel that the place was geared towards children. In hindsight I think we should have gone to the Victoria and Albert Museum instead. :/


Welp, didn’t go here. Maybe next time.

We then headed towards Harrod’s Food Hall and decided to eat al fresco at Hyde Park. Unfortunately that wasn’t a very good idea as it started to become cloudy and very windy. Was too chilly for August, if you asked me.

Harrod’s Food Hall was amazing to look at but I find it to be very intimidating (it’s Harrod’s after all). It was unfortunate that it was cold outside as we didn’t get to enjoy our lunch out, but the food we got were delicious.

After our sad lunch (lol), we walked a portion of the park and saw the Diana Memorial. Shortly after than we went to Carnaby Street at SoHo to check out the Lomography Gallery Store and visited some vinyl shops. Unfortunately K didn’t find anything he fancied so off we went to Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus to take some photos (the latter I find a bit underwhelming, but maybe because I was just really tired that day). We capped off the day by having some inexpensive Japanese dinner at Misato and bought some bread over at Bake bakery.

Day 5 – A Ticket to Ride to Liverpool

We had an early start for Wednesday as we had to catch the first train out from London Euston to Liverpool. With some assistance from our AirBnB host the night before, we caught a 4:00 am bus from Forest Hill to head to the station. To say that our commute during the wee hours of the morning was easy is an understatement, and K and I will continue to sing praises towards London’s public transportation system.

As always our train’s arrival and departure are on the dot, and before we know it, we were inside the train on our way to Liverpool. It was quite a commute, so K and I had a couple of hours to nap on the train. We arrived at the station around 8:00 am and we were met by our lovely friend Rachel whom I first ‘met’ on Instagram before she became a co-host of the UK-based film photography podcast, Sunny 16, which I am a regular listener.

We grabbed coffee at the nearby Key Lime coffee shop before Rachel took us on a walking tour of Liverpool! We explored St. George Hall as well as the Liverpool Central Library. We then had lunch at Neon Jamon (the food was great!) and recorded some sound bites for the podcast (which you can listen to here).

During this time I tried my maiden roll of Ferrania P30 Alpha but I will have those photos available on a separate entry. 🙂


The facade of the Liverpool Cathedral was very overwhelming. Look at the depth and height alone!


View from the Liverpool City Cathedral

Our party of three walked more (yes, more!) to check out two cathedrals – the Liverpool Cathedral (Anglican) and the Liverpool City Cathedral (Catholic). I actually enjoyed the historical x artsy vibe of the city in general, and it was very educational too, since Rach has been supplementing our walk with a lot of information.


The only Beatles-related photo I took on this trip. 🙂


A drink with a view.

We had an afternoon drink at Goodness Gracious, with an amazing rooftop view of Downtown Liverpool. Shortly after enjoying a short drink (and to rest our legs, of course!) we went to the docks and also checked out the Open Eye Gallery, a dedicated photography gallery space.


Rachel was an amazing host to us! Film photography leads us to amazing and kind people. #shootfilmbenice

We were glad we had some leftovers from lunch as we arrived later in the evening. 🙂

Day 6 – Of Churches, Scaffoldings, and (Dead) Royalties

As we arrived later the night before, we decided to have a late start the next day. We had a small “camera pilgrimage” and checked a couple of camera shops before finding our way to the Camera Museum which is a small camera museum slash coffee shop.

We then had a late lunch at Leadenhall Market (famous for being the location of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley) before doing our tourist-y walk for the day.

K and I decided to get into the Westminster Abbey (we weren’t supposed to) but we’re glad we did. I think this was his favourite as he was greatly overwhelmed by our visit. 🙂 Easily worth the 20 GBP.


The famous Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben) which was surrounded by scaffolding

We then walked a bit (the area was so crowded with tourists though) and took photos of the Parliament and the Big Ben, which was about to undergo renovations.

We then walked all the way to the Buckingham Palace (and mind you it was a long walk) and saw the Canada Memorial as well. There were a lot of tourists in front of the palace and at this point we were ready to call it a day.

Just before heading out for dinner K saw a branch of Super Dry and decided to buy a couple of items. We were supposed to eat at Carbon, but the items we wanted to eat were all sold out! Bummer. So we ended up eating at Taro Restaurant which was still good and very filling.

(Actually at this point, rice with eel was the best option for me. :P)

Day 7 – Last Full Show

Our last full day in London and still our itinerary was packed as ever.


The split-second when the platform was devoid of excited Potterheads… you take a snapshot!

First we quickly dropped by King’s Cross Station to get some Harry Potter-related item for our friend J. As the place was packed and our disdain for crowds, we scanned the store quickly, bought our item, and quickly left.

We then worked our way to the British Museum, which was actually a last-minute decision. We were initially reluctant to go here (because of some personal reasons), but remembered what my cousin told us, so we ended up going anyway. Since the Museum was huge we decided to select the areas we wanted to go to save some time.


Amphoras! I got excited seeing these.

My husband was very generous as he allowed a big chunk of our tour to see Greek relics (which I was enthusiastic to see).

Shortly after our Museum visit we headed to Greenwich Market to eat – unfortunately, given that it was a weekday there wasn’t a lot of food stalls open. We did eat a few items, such as empanadas and churros which were both yummy.

Despite the items we ate, we were still hungry so we decided to trek further and find Golden Chippy which is a top-rated fish n’ chips place on travel websites. It was out of the way but it was delicious.

We didn’t ride The London Eye as we find it to be too pricey and too tourist-y. Instead we went to the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and took the cable car. We were also able to use our Oyster cards and didn’t have to pay a lot. 🙂 It was a different view and different experience if you ask me. (Oh if only they build something like this close to DVP…)

Our last stop for the day was at Covent Garden, to unwind and to eat (again).


A photo like this comes rare since he doesn’t smile on photos a lot! :p

Our goal for the night is to have dinner and to eat some English pie at Battersea Pie Station. We were still a bit satiated from our late lunch, but we still enjoyed the yummy pies. And not to mention the honey mead!

We capped off the night by having a very delicious gelato from Venchi.

Epilogue


Full English classic – Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Bubble, Beans, Mushrooms, Tomato & Toast

We left early Saturday morning and have decided to have a heavy breakfast before we head our way to the airport. After the nearby museum told us we cannot store our luggage at their front desk while we dine at their cafeteria, we opted to walk all the way to the station and went to Canvas and Creme instead. It was a better decision, methinks.

K and I both had a nice plate of traditional English breakfast (without the black pudding!) and some coffee. Good thing we left early as the lineup to the check-in was quite long (we were accompanied by fellow tourists who all went over their luggage allotment…).

1 Comment

  1. Matthew Thompson · January 28, 2018

    A fantastic trip report! Travellers after my own heart, eating from stall to stall, town to town. Thanks so much for sharing!