I’ve now been in London for almost 3 YEARS. Seriously, that does say years. I don’t know where the time has gone. But I have to say that my life has certainly changed in those 3 years. From the overwhelming excitement of moving to London and wanting to see EVERYTHING EVER. To getting a ‘career’ and much preferring to explore a local pub than spend too much time on London transport.
The thought of moving to a busy and fast paced city may sound like the dream to some people. If you are someone who is in search of relocating, one of the main aspects to consider is where you will be living. If you have family or friends here, it is a lot easier. But if not, don’t worry. You can always look into Flats for Rent in London to help make your decision a lot easier.
And I’m not going to lie, I’ve felt a bit disillusioned with London lately. Luckily for me however, Travelex got in touch to talk about their new money passport. And to remind me of those joyful days when I jumped off the plane, remembered what the Australasian currency was actually worth and to challenge me to have the ultimate day out in London on a $150 AUD budget. And let me tell you, it made me fall back in love with this big smoky city.
So, on a chilly, grey, Sunday, Paul and I bundled up and headed to the train. I won’t lie, we did sleep in. But you know, we still got a full day in. Our first stop – The Churchill War Rooms.
Churchill War Rooms
Now, I’ve done, like all museums in London. And I love a whole heap of them – especially the Imperial War Museum. But one place I had yet to venture was the Churchill War Rooms. A warren of rooms and tunnels underneath Whitehall. It is around £17 per person to enter but this does include an awesome audio guide.
When you enter the War Rooms, it is split into two sections, the War Rooms themselves and the Churchill museum. The museum is a treasure trove of information on Winston Churchill, from his childhood as a neglected rich boy, to having a key role in WWI at Gallipoli, going to the front line, then becoming Prime Minister at 65 and again at 73. The museum has SO much information and you can really spend as long as you like here, reading bits and pieces and watching the fascinating videos.
You then continue into the rooms themselves, hearing stories of how they were used and the fascinating work they would do there. It’s crazy to think that from that little map room, they won the second world war. They had barely any technology, relying on scrambler phones and little copper shoots to take documents from one place to the other.
The audio guide is really informative, and definitely if you visit, take your time, sit and listen to the tales to really get a feel for the place. You can feel the history in these walls.
We also stopped off for a quick snack in the cafe, and can confirm, their scones are delicious. Can’t beat a good scone with jam and cream on a cold Sunday.
After we had had a good 3 hours wandering the warrens, we headed back above ground (to mobile signal!) and had a wander through Green Park. We had a little bit of time to kill before our next activity, so a quick detour to my favourite kiwi cafe of Sacred on Carnaby was called for. I was a little naughty and had a big soy hot chocolate, but man, it’s hard to find a good soy hot chocolate in this city. And you know, I need it for warmth. I really recommend Sacred if you need a bite to eat when you are out and about.
With that fuel in my belly, it was time for the second activity of the day – HINT HUNT. I was so excited, I’m not gonna lie. I have a new found obsession with escape games.
So really, you essentially get locked in a room, and then need to figure your way out in 60 minutes. I was pretty much meant to be a private detective in another life and I could probably do these all day. We went with a group of four so ended up at around £22 each.
We did the original room for my birthday last year, and with 5 of us we got out with 3 minutes to spare. This time we went back for the Zen Room. This room is totally different to the detectives study but centres around a similar activity in that you have loads of things you need to open from padlocks to number keys. And you have everything you need to open those locks in the room around you – you just need to figure it out.
You also have someone watching you the whole time, who is able to sent you hints on a TV screen as you go through. If you get really stuck on something or have missed something, they will usually send prompts or bits through to help you out. We did really well for the first 50 minutes, then in the last 9 freaked out!!
However, we managed to pull it all together in the end and got out with 55 SECONDS to spare. It was so exciting and those last few minutes are so full of adrenaline!! Honestly, if you are yet to do an escape room, then get down there now!
Once the adrenaline had calmed, we took a quick detour to see some of the lumiere London lights. But, as it was the final night and at peak time, it was a wee bit too busy. And plus, after all the puzzle solving, we were starved. So we headed back towards Waterloo and stopped off at Wahaca for a bite to eat.
Of all the chains in London, Wahaca is most definitely my favourite. The mexican street food comes in handy tapas size so you can easily share it with someone else. Tapas will always be my favourite, as come on, all the food to try! We shared tacos, taquitos and a quesadilla, with the guacomole always being a highlight.
The other best bit about Wahaca is that I’m always shocked by the price compared to what you get. Always a pleasant bargain.
Stuffed and having seen some more of the gems of London, we headed back home feeling a whole lot more London love.
All day, I used the Travelex money passport and not gonna lie, it was seriously handy! You can put up to 8 different currencies on it and you don’t get charge for spending at things like shops or overseas ATMs. A much easier and safer option than taking cash. The card can be recharged as well, so I’m definitely keeping mine for my future trips later this year. If you are heading over from that part of the world, then the Travelex website has a lot of helpful advice!
What gems have you found in your city lately?
*This post was written in collaboration with Travelex, but of course, all opinions my own!