It was so fortunate that the weather was just so nice during our London Trip, and by nice means no rain at all during our trip. I monitored the weather forecast since one month before our trip, and it was mostly raining in some of the days, and that made us a little worried. Even the weather forecast said it was going to rain on some of the days during our trip, so I had to plan carefully of when we had to go for indoor and outdoor attractions based on the weather forecast, but as always, things didn’t always work out the way we had planned.
So we were so thankful that we had good weather for that one week during our trip. It was cold because it was winter, but no snow at all (which made the boy a bit disappointed because he really wanted to see the snow). The temperature could drop to less than zero (Celsius), but it wasn’t too windy. So as long as we kept on walking, we felt warmer…………….but when we stopped walking (for taking pictures usually), it started to feel really cold.
Since it was winter, it started getting dark at around 4 to 4.30 pm, and most of the attractions closed early during winter time. Our friend said it would be best if we we could enjoy outdoor activities until night time and most of the attractions open until night time. I will say that for us, going on winter time gave different feeling and experiences, especially because we live in a country where the sun shines 365 days in a year and we can’t live without air con every single day (the weather just feels hotter everyday). Besides, it was almost Christmas, and we loved to see Christmas decorations almost everywhere. It gave warm feelings although it was cold outside.
Do we need thermal underwear when we go on a trip during winter time? Since it wasn’t snowing, I didn’t wear thermal underwear, but it was just fine for me. Mostly, I only wore turtle neck long sleeve top as the first layer and my winter jacket or a long coat as the second layer. Sometimes, I also wore a mini dress on top of my long sleeve shirt and changed the winter jacket with a sweater. At night time, which was cooler, I wore 3 layers of clothes including a winter jacket. Most important things for me were gloves, hat, and winter socks. Daddy, who couldn’t stand very cold weather, wore thermal underwear, long sleeve shirt, a sweater, and topped with heavy and thick winter jacket. The boy sometimes wore his thermal underwear, and sometimes he didn’t, but since he handled cold better than us, it was no problem.
So, for layering of clothes during early winter time in London, it will depend on how resistant you are to cold weather. For cheaper options of winter clothes with good quality in Singapore, try shopping at Decathlon Bedok. Thermal underwear, socks, gloves, hats, waterproof pants, sweater in good quality were cheaper than let’s say: Uniqlo or other winter clothes stores at the mall. For winter jackets, they are varied from not so expensive to very expensive ones. Of course, we don’t talk about the newest fashion or styles when shopping here, but for something that we rarely use, I still think that it’s worth the money. Plus, we loved the concept of this sport store and the boy and me even tried to ride their bicycles around the store several times (oh and he also tried the roller skate, scooter, played badminton, soccer, and basketball). So we ended up doing many things inside the store instead of focusing on searching for our winter clothes, hahaha………..
Now that we were ready with appropriate clothes for winter, we would start to explore this beautiful city (mostly on foot) for the whole day.
This would be our “Do It Yourself” Walking tour, or as my son said: “Free and Easy Days”. There were so many options and so many things that we wanted to see, but at the end, we had to choose (and it wasn’t easy at all) of what we really wanted to see in such a limited time.
The actual itineraries for our one day walking tour were as follows:
- Buckingham Palace
- St. James’s Park
- London Eye
- Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
- Trafalgar Square
- (by tube to) Tower of London
- London Bridge
That was the ideal plan, but we actually couldn’t do all those in one day because there was 1 day that the boy didn’t feel well so we had to stay back at the hotel for 3/4 of the day. The next half day day he was still in recovery so we didn’t want him to get too tired and took a cab or walked slowly according to his pace. We could have planned everything well, but sometimes something happened in the last minute and we just had to go with it and still be happy and enjoy our holiday. After all, we were just so happy that he recovered fast and stayed healthy for the rest of the trip.
That day, we ended up with itineraries as follows:
- Buckingham Palace
- St. James’s Park
- Lunch at The Orangery Kensington Palace
- Kensington Garden
- Tower of London
- Dinner in Wagamama Restaurant near Tower of London
On this free and easy days, we would be staying outdoor most of the time (except when we had lunch and dinner), so of course we had to wear very comfortable shoes. Sport shoes, sneakers, walking shoes, flat shoes, or anything that are comfortable for your feet for a long walk are highly recommended.
We started tour own walking tour by visiting Buckingham Palace. There is a Changing Of The Guard Attraction for tourists which I’m sure would be very interesting (we didn’t do it because we came on the wrong day). The schedule can be seen in this website: http://changing-guard.com/dates-buckingham-palace.html
The nearest tube station from Buckingham Palace would either be St. James’s Park or Victoria. We alighted at St. James’s Park and walked around 20 minutes to Buckingham Palace. Since we knew there wasn’t a changing of the guard attraction that day, we just walked slowly while looking around and took photos along the way. The walk to Buckingham Palace was also very interesting since we loved to see British houses like we saw on TV, red telephone box that surely was one of the icon of London (and you must stop and take picture when you see one), old mailbox like in Peanuts movie, a lonely chapel on the street, but most of all, we really enjoyed walking on a very quiet street in the morning.
After exactly 20 minutes, we finally saw the crowd (first) before we saw the huge Buckingham Palace surrounded by tall gates. Basically, you can’t go near the palace. You can only see it from outside the gates.
We actually just planned to just see the palace and took some pictures very quickly and then continued to other destinations, but it turned out that there were many things to see around the palace. The boy was also taking his own leisure time taking pictures and videos of the things nearby. So we ended up staying near the palace for almost 1.5 hours.
To go to the Memorial Gardens, we had to cross the street. We then continued walking on the pavement before we spotted St. James’s Park on the right side.
We then walked inside St. James’s Park which was very pretty, and we loved it the minute we saw it. There were pigeons, ducks, squirrel, herons, and other birds. Such beautiful color that we saw in the very quiet park that day. We didn’t see the whole area in the park since it was quite big and we were also tired of walking. There should be a lot more to see and this was just some parts of the park, but the point is……………we loved it so much and if it wasn’t very cold outside, we could spend the whole day here and also looked for pelicans and playground. There was also a small food and beverage kiosk inside the park near the toilet, so no need to worry if you want something hot and yummy along the way.
The next best thing to do was to actually continue the walking to London Eye, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. Since we already visited them the night before, we changed the plan to Kensington Palace to experience having an afternoon tea in the city of London (I will be writing about The Orangery later).
The nearest tube station would be High Street Kensington, and after that we still had to walk for another 20 to 25 minutes on very busy streets.
The highlight of our visit was none other than the very beautiful Kensington Garden. We were so happy that we could see two beautiful gardens in one day, and really hoped that we extend our trip to see other beautiful gardens too. This calm and peaceful place called Kensington Garden was a contrast to the outside world which was very busy and crowded. The boy was also very excited and he didn’t stop taking pictures and videos on his own.
Wow, that was a very long walk for the day, and we enjoyed it so much. We loved being outdoor, we liked the parks so much, but it was very tiring. Most of the tourist attractions are easily reached by tube or bus, but after that you will still need to walk and walk and walk and it will seem like an unending journey for your feet.
After that, how we still managed to take the tube to Tower Hill and explored The Tower of London was unimaginable, but that will be another story for another day………………