London is an amazing city. We recently spent 4 days there and managed to cram so many activities into such a short space of time. I wanted to share our trip with you along some of the cost-cutting hacks and tips we discovered along the way. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and something sweet, this is going to be a big one!
We picked up some super cheap flights from Dublin to London on Black Friday (£30.00 return – thank you Ryanair!). What better way to spend Valentine’s weekend than seeing the beautiful sights of London?
We stayed in a studio apartment in Camden which was really central. It was easy to get to pretty much anywhere in London via the Tube! We paid £213.00 for three nights – which was way cheaper than any hotel we could find!
Check out Studios2Let – the apartment was small but perfect for what we needed it for.
Day 1 – Friday
After a 2-hour coach journey from Belfast to Dublin, a 50 minute flight from Dublin to Gatwick and another 30 minutes on the train to Central London we finally arrived at our apartment.
After we got settled and unpacked, we headed out for a walk along the Thames.
We had wanted to go on the London Eye but it closes at 6pm!
After that we found ourselves in Leicester Square. We visit M&M’s World which is one of the most colourful places I’ve ever been to. They sell every piece of M&M’s merchandise that you could imagine. On one of the floors are there are wall-to-wall M&M’s dispensers – I bought one of the small cups for £7.99 and it was my munchies for the rest of the trip!
While we were in Leicester Square we visited one of the West End Box Offices. We managed to get 2 tickets to see Wicked for just under £40 each.
The box offices are a great way to get last-minute seats for a good price, but there are no guarantees you’ll be able to get tickets for the show you want, for the day you want them. It all depends on what is left and if there have been any cancellations. Saying that, it worked out really well for us and we’d use them again!
Day 2 – Saturday
Most of Saturday morning was spent on Oxford Street shopping. It was worth visiting. I will say that the majority of the shops are ones you’ll find on any high-street (with the exception of Forever 21 as our only Irish store has just closed down!). I ended up picking up a sweater in Primark and pair of jeans in Pull and Bear so it wasn’t a waste of time by any means!
After a delicious lunch at the Shakespeare Arms, we headed to the nearby Carnaby Street. The shops in that area are more unique and quirky. I particularly loved Skinny Dip and Monki.
After a full day of shopping, it was time to get ready to go and watch Wicked on the West End. Now until I saw Wicked, I was a hardcore Hairspray fan but I’ve officially been converted.
Related Post: Review of Hairspray at the Grand Opera House, Belfast
We saw Wicked at the Apollo Theatre and it was AMAZING. You can really see why it’s been a staple in the West End for over 10 years. Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans were perfect as Elphaba and Glinda and there were so many moments during the show where I could barely catch my breath. A particular stand-out for me was Defying Gravity – the only word I could really use to describe this number is EPIC.
Hard Rock Cafe
We rounded off the day with some nachos and cocktails at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is one of our favourite restaurants. We try to go in every city we visit and pick up some merch!
Day 3 – Sunday
We started our day at Camden Market. I wish we had had more time to spend there as it was HUGE and we didn’t get the chance to see everything before we had to leave for our train! I didn’t even take many pictures at the market because I was busy taking it all in!
At the market I ended up buying a new shirt, 3 patches for my denim jacket and a (fake) Louis Vuitton backpack and I’m so happy with my purchases! Hopefully we’ll have another chance to visit Camden Market soon.
Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour
Our afternoon was spent at the Warner Bros Studios on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Warner Bros Studio is actually about 40 minutes outside of Central London.
We got the tube from Euston Station to London Victoria and then the 30 minute train journey to Watford Junction. After that, there is a shuttle bus directly to the Warner Bros Studio which takes about 10 minutes and costs £2.50.
This was my second visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour but my first visit was in 2011/2012 and they’ve added a lot to it since then. It was Amy’s first visit and she is a HUGE Harry Potter fan so she was completely in her element which made my day.
The tour itself is really interactive and there are so many photo opportunities on the way round. What I really liked is that there were staff members dotted around the tour who were taking pictures for you on your phone. This is handy if you’re there in a pair like we were. We could both get in the pictures without having to awkwardly ask strangers to take one for us!
I got this amazing Slytherin jumper in the gift shop at the end of the tour. The shop is expensive, so if you’re looking to stock up on merchandise, make sure you have plenty of money with you! Saying that, the store sells only official merchandise and it’s all really good quality.
Here are some of my favourite pictures from the Harry Potter Studio Tour:
Overall I would recommend the tour to ANY Harry Potter fan. I think it would even be enjoyable for people who aren’t huge fans as you learn a lot about movie production and special effects etc. It truly is a magical experience.
We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in London on the final day as we had to check out of our apartment by 11am. As we didn’t want to be dragging our huge suitcase around with us, we ended up going to Gatwick Airport early, getting lunch and shopping until it was time for our flight.
We had the most amazing time visiting London. There is so much to see and do that you would probably need around a week to see it all. If you’re only going for a few days, choose carefully where you want to go and what you want to see while you’re there!
I would love to go back, so if you have any recommendations as to other places we should go next time, please leave them in the comments!