Tower Bridge, London

London is an extraordinary place. It’s so packed full of life that its overflowing into all the towns and cities nearby. One of the main reasons for everyone moving out of the city is because its so expensive. Not just house prices, but groceries, meals in restaurants, drinks, clothes are all a little more pricey than here in the north.

However, London is still our capital, and whenever I go down there always seems to be a lovely reason for it. Whether it was a school trip or spending time with family, its always been a pleasure to visit the capital.

My First Time in the Capital

The first time I visited London was when I was around 10 years old. I don’t remember very much except that the main reason for our visit was to see my first west end show, The Lion King! I can’t remember a whole lot about that first visit to London. However, what I can remember is the opening from that show when all the animals come from out of the audience and the boxes singing the Circle of Life. The show is rumoured to be making a re-appearance in the north east with the release of the live action film. I’d love to see it again and relive that experience!

The Lion King Theatre, London

School Trips to London

I was one of those lucky kids who went on a school trip pretty much every year in secondary school. And studying drama for my final 3 years opened me up to the ability to visit London primarily for west end shows. And so in years 10 and 11 I went down with my friends and went to all the amazing touristy sites. We visited the Harry Potter studios, the London Eye, Madam Tussauds, The O2 Arena, Madam Tate gallery. We even got to see a show both times we went, Shrek the Musical the first time and Matilda the second.
Unfortunately, all the photos I had taken of these amazing places were either done so on a blackberry or the 2nd generation iPod touch, so they’re appalling quality. So here are two from Harry Potter Studios I borrowed from my sister and her partner who have just visited!

The Great Hall, Harry Potter Studios London
Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studios, London

Visiting my Big Sister

My sister was brave enough to move down to London for university. For me this meant 2 things:

  1. Everything she didn’t take to London with her instantly became mine
  2. Free visits to the capital

There are still clothing items that I have that were once hers! But she doesn’t read my blog so its fine to tell everyone else.
Anyway, I visited a few times and with this was able to experience the capital as more of a local, than a tourist. Yes we did some touristy things like going to Covent Garden and Camden market. But because she had the knowledge of living there, we could eat and drink in the best non-touristic places and avoid the crowds.

Camden Market Gateway

One of my favourite memories was going to an Arsenal Football game at the Emirates stadium. They were playing my home teams biggest rival Newcastle and they won 4-1. It was an amazing experience to watch a good team play a game they should win and actually win it well!

Wembley Weekend

My hands down favourite times to visit the capital, are when Sunderland AFC (my home team) are in some kind of final at Wembley Stadium. Any Mackem will say the same 3 things about those weekends:

  1. The cost an absolute fortune
  2. The football always ruins it
  3. I’m not going down there again (absolutely going down again)

The general tradition now is to travel down the day before, stay in the cheapest most rotten hotel you can find and head to covent garden. Once there, we drink all the alcohol in The Punch and Judy, The Nags Head, Nicholsons and The White Lion. Then we raid the Tesco extra just around the corner. And finally take over Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Takeover March 2019
Trafalgar Takeover March 2019

This whole weekend wouldn’t be complete without a poor performance from Sunderland football team, losing the game and crying on the way home.

Overall though, it has to be said I love our capital city. I wish it was easier to get too and cheaper as the trains can get so expensive. And I cant wait until the next time I get to visit (which hopefully will involve a better football score)!


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