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Departing the warming atmosphere of Costa and leaving behind the heartening smell of coffee beans, I ventured out into the frozen wilderness also known as Victoria tube station. The temperature rapidly became less of a problem, as every man, woman and dog were ostensibly heading for the same tube line as I was. As I am not one of the tallest individuals, I was shortly swept off into the general mêlée. However, my lack of height is also my greatest tube weapon, ducking through people’s arms and bags, I can easily sneak onto trains that taller people fear to attempt. My destination: 221b Baker Street.
While no Sherlock Holmes resides at this address (nor has he ever, regrettably) there is an ample amount of sights to see for the discerning Sherlockian. Just around the corner from the Bakerloo tube line, you find yourself outside the detectives door, though it is more probable that you will find yourself in a pleasant orderly queue about 100 yards down the road. Sherlock is a tad popular with tourists and locals alike; I found myself ambling behind a collection of vicars in their full garb, skipping down the road wearing ‘Sherlock’ style hats. I think they were big fans.
#9. Once you wade past the hyperactive crowds and reach the attraction, you can visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum, though it will cost you £10 for your troubles.
#10. If you are not a fan of the sleuth detective, then just around the block is Madame Tussaud’s, or more literally, wax figurine heaven. Enjoy the immortalized versions of your favourite celebrities, movie characters, fictitious beings and politicians all under one roof. There are customarily deals on entry price, particularly if you combine it with entry to other London attractions, so make sure you check the website before you travel.
Next up, the feared shopping battleground known as Oxford Street. A ten minute walk south down Baker Street deposits you outside Selfridges, and I followed the road until I was thankfully spat out near the British Museum. I’m not a big fan of frenzied shopaholic hoards, and peering into the more respectable shops had me wishing I had dressed up for an imaginary occasion. Fighting the tide of the crowds focused on sale shopping soon turned into all out war on the pavement, and it was with some relief that I reached the British Museum relatively intact.
#11. The British Museum is free to visit, and comprises a myriad of human history, culture and art within its walls. If this sounds like your cup of tea, it is undoubtedly better to have a substantial amount of time to dedicate to it, as is the same with the National History Museum.
#12. While you could get away with a few hours to see the British Museum, the National History Museum needs half a day, if not a full day to do it complete justice. From the looming skeleton of a mighty dinosaur in the foyer to the giant escalator into space, this is one of the best museums to visit in London, and it is entirely free. All you need to worry about is locating the exit, and remembering all the extra knowledge you will accrue as you walk around the exhibits.
I obviously did not have half a day of time to spare there, so I settled for giving the dinosaur an air high five and giving my feet a bit of a rest in the space exhibit (I have a healthy love for anything space-y).
As the sun began to set in a slowly reddening sky, I bounded on to the tube to Kensington Park, so that I could enjoy the sunset in a peaceful setting, possibly also known as jogger heaven (I think most of London was out jogging, judging by the amount of people who loped past me). It is hard to believe you are in one of the world’s busiest cities when you are surrounded by parkland as far as the eye can see. While the Parks are well preserved and looked after, they still seem to retain a feeling of wildness. It was a great place to spend time until the opening of Winter Wonderland.
To be continued…
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Photo Courtesy of Emily Freeman