September was a really a busy month for me. I took a solo trip to London Uk for ten days. My trip to England had me so busy that I did not have any time to post anything on here. Traveling alone is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time (but was too afraid to try). Being fearful is something that I decided to overcome in 2017 so I finally made true on the promises I made to myself and went traveling all by myself!
I left for London at the start of September and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super nervous. – The trip was booked. The hotel I was staying at was booked and paid for. Everything was non-refundable so I basically had to go. I needed to be on that plane. No excuses.
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To book my hotel room, I used Booking.com it’s a great website for finding places to stay all over the world from Europe, Africa, North America, North Africa etc. I found my hotel on there and was able to book and pay for it entirely through the site for around 15% less than I would have paid had I booked directly with the hotel. I got to save a few dollars so I am not complaining.
Taking the tube was intimidating at first but I was shameless in asking Londoners for direction. All the people I asked were kind enough to take the time to point me to where I should go. Soon enough I found my way to my hotel. After checking in, all I can remember is getting into my hotel room, ordering some food and sleeping like a bear. I was EXHAUSTED!
Park Grand Paddington Court London
The hotel was very clean and my room had a really nice street view. I am very picky when it comes to beds and pillowcases and the Park Grand Paddington Court did not disappoint (they are not paying me to say this by the way). If you are planning a trip anywhere in the world, check out this site for the best deals on hotels and apartment accommodations.
London is such a pricey city and finding decent accommodations (that aren’t $300+/night and in a well connected locations) was a real challenge to say the least. Since I didn’t want to stay at a hostel and share a room with strangers I had my work cut out for me. It took me a couple of weeks to find a decent hotel in my budget. If you are traveling overseas I would suggest that you start early when it comes to finding a place to stay. If you leave things until the last minute you are more likely to settle for the very first place that comes along. I wanted to like the place that I stayed at for the 10 days that I was in London so I did my research before I found my hotel.
I really liked staying in the Paddington neighborhood. I felt safe even while walking to and from the tube to my hotel (even really late at night past 10:00 p.m). The location of my hotel was very convenient without it being too crowded and touristy. The tube station was a few steps away and getting around the city was a breeze after I got the hang of things.
When it came to planning my trip, I only planned the things I would do on my second day in London. My first day was spent finding food and sleeping off the jet lag since my flight was 11.5 hours overnight plus additional time on the train to my hotel etc. I wanted this trip to be as low stress as humanly possible so I put together my to see and do list the night before.
Courtauld Institute of Art/Somerset House
Excuse the face at this point I was a bit hangry
I really liked the Southbank area of London there’s just so much to see. If you are traveling alone like I did, the Southbank is a good place to sit down and people watch. Walking along the area I found myself near Big Ben and the London Bridge. It was such a sunny day for London and the best thing about this day was the rain held off until it was time for me to leave. Then it POURED after that!
London is a big city with tons of options and there are so many things you can do while visiting. It is not the most budget friendly place to travel to in Europe and if you are not careful you can end up spending boat loads of money. There are so many things to do in London that you can take part in even if you are on a budget. You can have fun without breaking the bank or going into debt.
13 Things to do in London
1. Walk around the Chelsea Neighborhood (you might even spot a few celebrities!). Chelsea is a ritzy and glam area plus it’s close to the Saachi art gallery and Victoria museum (both free).
2. Go to Sunday…for Sunday brunch! Sunday is such a cute little restaurant and they serve really good brunch on the weekend. Get there early there was a lineup when I went.
3. Shoreditch anybody? This neighborhood is quirky with lots of street art. It’s a good place to get really cool pics for Instagram!
4. Crowd surf on Oxford Street. I said crowd surf because there are sooooo many people on Oxford Street. You will find many shops, restaurants, entertainment spots etc. If crowds aren’t your thing, do not go here.
5. 7 Dials is way less crowded than Oxford St it’s located between Covent Garden and Oxford st. It’s a place where you can find good quality restaurants and shops.
6. Ride a bike in Hyde Park. Pay a few pounds and take out a Santander around this gorgeous park.
7. Stroll the Southbank. There is so much to do and see around the Southbank area. It’s a must go place especially when the weather is nice. People watching and lots to do in this area..
8. Give Soho a go. Just off Carnaby St. Kingly Court is a nice little place. If you are there go to Pizza pilgrims they make some really really GOOD pizza.
9. Check out a Museum or two. I really liked and enjoyed Tate Britain. London has many museums, many of them free!
10. Go to Nottinghill. Take pretty pictures, shop, eat, get your nails done and just stroll around.
11. Enjoy some live music. This is a good way to just relax even while traveling solo and perfect in the summer and fall.
12. Borough market – If you are like me and you love to eat. This is the place to be. It’s very crowded on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. Go during the weekday instead.
13. Do a class/tour – I really wish I did this while in London. While traveling solo, taking a class or a tour can be a good way to meet other people! Note to self.
Solo travel made me so nervous that I almost didn’t go. -But, I am so glad that I put my fears to sleep and just went for it. Besides missing my return flight home (it’s a long story) my trip went smoothly and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Guess what? I am open to traveling alone again in the future! I am already planning when and where I want to go!
Have you traveled alone to another country? If so, where did you go and how was your experience? Please feel free to share below.