Before starting my new job in Barcelona, I decided to do something nice for myself, as the last four weeks, after a very stressful last job, have been spent applying for new jobs, relocating to a new country and doing everything involved into successfully settling down once again. So after I received a job offer for the company I really really wanted to work for, then I planned my 24 hours away escape to London.
I wanted a pleasant trip, from A to Z and so I opted for the LNER train which gets you from Edinburgh centre to London King’s Cross in less than 4 hours and an half. I booked an advanced ticket on their app only a few days before travelling and got a very decent price, but if you are a student there are amazing offers with almost 40% off, so look out for those timetables too. I got a very nice 9.30 am train so I had time to pick up some brekfast from M&S at Waverley, my usual treat when travelling from there, and then boarded my train and sat at a lovely four seats table, next to the window, with power sockets just next to me; you can choose these options when you make your booking and also opt for a quiet coach, which is always good if you are not planning to open your bottle of prosecco then haha!
A pleasant surprise I had on LNER, which Virgin East Coast didn’t have, was the free Wi-Fi for everyone, which worked out great as I could listen to as much music I wanted or work on my essay, I opted for the former as it was a holiday 😉
Point A Hotel King’s Cross
Four hours and an half after I arrived in King’s Cross and walked to my hotel, the Point A King’s Cross, part of a small chain of boutique hotels recommended from my boyfriend. The hotel is less than minutes away walking from the train station and it is in a quiet location. The staff was really helpful, the room really comfortable and the lounge was really colourful and cosy. I know that some of the rooms do not have a window so make sure you book one with a window if you like to have some air. Overall I really enjoyed my stay there and for once I had my own bathroom in the room, which is really a big plus and worth the extra pounds, I am such a grown up! 🙂
After checking in, I casually strolled along Euston Road, then through Bloomsbury and finally arrived in Covent Garden. It was a beautiful day, 18 degress and super sunny, and so I walked to the river to walk a bit more, and there it is where I saw the cruises and I thought of taking a boat trip. The Circular Cruise on the Thames lasts around forty-five minutes and it is a great way to see all the most symbolic buildings in London by just sitting back and relax, without the stress of traffic. It goes from Tower Bridge to Westminster and you get to see St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Museum, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard (the tallest building in Western Europe with apartments left to sell at £50,000,000), the HMS Belfast (former Royal Navy cruiser, now a museum) and many pubs on boats, which really blew my mind away. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was having a drink outside and enjoying a Friday afternoon in the sunshine and having a good time.
The Water Rats
Very tired from an intense day of fun, I decided to have dinner next to the hotel so I walked back to King’s Cross and walked into the pub right next to my hotel, without knowing it was one of the best music venues in London, where Bob Dylan made his UK debut back in the 60s. The pub has now a different name to then, but the music venue was so buzzing and locals kept coming in, I really had come to the right place 🙂 I sat in the quietest part of the pub, where they served food, and enjoyed a pint with a steak while people watching, it was great.
Brunch at the National Portrait Gallery
The day after I woke up to another gorgeous day and walked through Soho and Chinatown, and eventually ended up by the National Portrait Gallery. Although I am normally not a fan of going into museums when on holidays, the building really appealed to me and I decided to go in for a quick nose around. There were some really nice portraits of important writers, politicians and so on, and a couple of provate exhibitions too. As it was early in the morning it was not crowded and I really enjoyed walking around the large corridors, but then the sign of a restaurant on the 3rd floor really caught my attention and I went up the stairs to have a look. The restaurant served brunch and afternoon teas in a very elegant set up with views all over the city so I decided to sit down and enjoy some breakfast, as I did not have any and was starving anyway 🙂 I went for the brunch, which consisted of a basket of sourdough sliced bread, a pastry of your choice with jam and butter, a juice of your choice and a hot drink also of your choice. I spent a lovely 40 minutes in this unreal setting and felt very relaxed after. The brunch was only £10, which is exactly what you would pay in one of the tourist traps, so I thought I really got myself a bargain there!