A trip to London has always been high on my wish list. Not because an umpteen number of Bollywood movies have had London as their setting, but due to the fact that I am from Calcutta (erstwhile Kolkata, as the British would call it) and have always been intrigued by the institutions and ways of the English.
London has a special place in the hearts of Bengalis growing up in the city of Calcutta (and to a large extent in other metropolitan cities of India like Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Chennai (Madras). Calcutta was the British capital in India. It was an important port city, and did very well for the British East India Company. The Anglican culture seeped into the Bengali urban society making inroads into the education system as well. No surprises here that we studied English Literature in grade school in Calcutta since day one till we graduated, and Shakespeare took over the curriculum in the upper grades!
After much planning and deliberation, Arindam and I decided to go to only London in the month of December, since I get ten days off from work. Being a student of History, I knew I would be fascinated by the city, museums, churches, and the places outside London. Never mind the winter, we were thrilled for what’s to come.
Due to the many places I’d like to cover for London, I’m dividing it according to the days and places we visited.
Click here for an in depth post solely on the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, the expansive art museum housing original artworks of 13th to 18th century painters.
Day 1 ~
We took the Express Train from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station, our first tube station that was located centrally.
Our hotel was again a strategically chosen one at the Strand Road – known as The Strand Hotel. The location was so convenient that we could walk to almost anywhere and everywhere. It was a few minutes away from Charring Cross station, which is at Trafalgar Square.
The first evening we walked to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus that overlooked Regent Street. And walked back through Leicester Square. Pretty Christmas lights adorned the streets. Seeing London in the nighttime, for the first time, was a magical experience.
Day 2 ~
The second day was our first official full day in the city. We started the day with a quick brunch at Eats beside the Strand Palace. We walked towards Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and then towards Westminster Abbey which was unfortunately closed for tours. Right there we saw the Big Ben which was under construction, the London Eye, and then the Supreme Court.
After this we walked towards The Palace of Westminster (the British Parliament) and little did we know that we could see the two Houses in session! We saw the House of Lords in session. The debate topic was “European Union Committee Brexit: Justice for Families, Individuals, and Businesses.”
The weather was great, not too cold at all and locals mentioned that we got lucky with a very October weather!
This was day one and two. It also included The National Gallery which you can find here.
There’s lots more to follow. Till then, happy reading and hope you enjoyed the post as much as I loved traveling through the cobbled alleys of London!