The London Diary: Ten things I loved most
Ten things I loved most about London.
1: Travelling Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic from Barbados to Gatwick and falling asleep in those seats that convert to beds after my choice of two episodes of Big Bang Theory and the British documentary Anne Boleyn – England’s first Queen to be executed.
2: The great British service that aims to keep customers happy. There was always someone there to make long lines move quickly whether it was in a department store, at the airport or in the underground.
3: Visiting The Virgin Base where the airline’s employees go through their rigorous training and annual refreshers. Also, being among the first to view Virgin Atlantic’s new uniforms to be launched soon around the world, was among the highlights.
4: London’s efficient transport system. From my hotel at Gatwick Airport, it was so easy to access Central London. Every 15 minutes without fail the Gatwick Express takes you on a 30 minute trip to London’s Victoria Station from where you can explore this wonderful city. My £20 Day Travel Card allowed me to ride the Gatwick Express, the London Underground, and most buses without paying a cent more within a 24-hour period.
5: The Big Bus Tour – A guided tour of London’s most magnificent sites aboard the city’s famed double decker buses with live commentary from very entertaining tour guides. These unobstructed views of places like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London and Trafalgar Square are a photographer’s delight. The trip also includes a stunning river tour option on the Thames. Best of all – with one ticket you can get off at any attraction, take photographs and hop on the next Big Bus that passes every 10 to 20 minutes for no extra fee.
6: Covent Garden, on the West End of London is a popular shopping site that’s teeming with visitors, hilarious street performers, food, quaint shops, and outdoor cafes among beautifully restored neo-classical buildings.
7: Trafalgar Square made me feel at home, with the similarities between Historic Bridgetown and London.
8: As a former fan of Miami shopping, London has become the new go-to for quality products at great prices. From Gap to Zara, from Harrods to H&M, or from Primark to Marks & Spencer, the range is awesome.
9: VAT refunds. If you are a visitor to London after you shop just take your receipts to the store’s customer service section where you a form is generated which you take to Customs at the airport and get back all the VAT you paid either in cash or placed on your credit card.
10: Dining out. And no – the menus are not limited to fish and chips. Like any modern city, London’s offering ranges from swanky French-style brasserie and oyster bars to pubs and coffee shops.
This was the final entry in The London Diary. Go over to our facebookpage www.facebook.com/NationBarbados to see pictures from this trip.