Our overnight flight from Dulles touched down in London at just after 6am local time. Despite only a couple of hours of sleep and some jet lag, we were still quite excited to have finally arrived in the UK. An hour ride on the tube (my first) brought us to the Piccadilly Circus stop and after a short walk, we found ourselves at Piccadilly Backpackers… “London’s most central hostel”. Notice how they highlight only location in their tag line. “Sketchy”, “dirty”, and “dingy” are words I would use to describe the accommodations as we crammed into a 10×11 room with two bunk beds. However with only one night in London on the front-end of the trip, we would certainly be able to make due.
Check-in wasn’t until 1pm so after checking our bags, we had enough time for a traditional English breakfast – eggs, sausage, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, toast – and a quick Wi-Fi stop at McDonald’s before making our way to Green Park for a walking tour of the city. We were met by our tour guide, Suzy, at 11am and spent the next few hours seeing the typical sights of London: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Parliament among others.
Following the tour, we stopped at a pub near Trafalgar Square for a late lunch, including more traditional fare of fish and chips, as well as the first pints of the trip. Being a bit beat at this point, we made our way back to the hostel to check-in and enjoy a little downtime before heading out for the evening.
While checking our bags earlier in the morning, we let the attendant talk us into purchasing tickets for a pub crawl sponsored by the hostel. Being new to London nightlife, it seemed like a good idea. In hindsight, I’m not sure we saw the best bars London has to offer (perhaps quite the opposite) but it did make for a fun evening and served as a great kickoff to the trip.
Tomorrow we head to Liverpool via train. While we were never able to score tickets to Liverpool vs. ManU, we’ll find a pub somewhere to watch. I’m looking forward to meeting some proper hooligans and making the most of the quick stop.