London Travel Diary: Day Three

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Our third day in the United Kingdom took us out of London and across the beautiful (but very dreary) English countryside to Dover.

Writing this may be a bit hard as opinions obviously vary and I don’t think we got the best impression of this town as it was super rainy, windy and cold, but it’s safe to say that one day, or even afternoon is more than enough.

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Upon arrival we made our way to the tourist office to get some maps and folders about activities. Then we made our way up to Dover Castle. You can easily get there by foot. It takes around 10-15 minutes from the town centre. At the castle you can do various tours.
I’d recommend the tours that lead you through the Secret Wartime Tunnels that were used during WWII.
I did the one of the wounded soldier. It took around 20 minutes and you follow the story of a wounded soldier who’s brought in to the infirmary. The tour is complete with sound and light effects. They also use chemicals to recreate the original smell, which can be nauseating at times. There’s a second one that takes around one hour, which we decided not to take because the wait would have been too long. The tours are included in the entrance fee you pay and definitely worth doing!
When you go further up the castle, you get to know more about the earlier history of it. The insides are done very nicely and it’s fun and educational for children as well as for grown-ups.

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Afterwards we meant to hike around the cliffs for a bit to a lighthouse, but the horrendous weather thwarted our plans. There are boat tours around the harbour offered as well, but this too, might be nicer if it’s not pouring cats and dogs ;-)
When asked where we’d get the best view of the cliffs, we were told that it would be from down at the boardwalk. This was partly true. We got a nice view but still had the port in front.
After that, we still had a few hours left in Dover but nothing to do really. The city centre also seemed to lack nice, cosy cafés or restaurants. (At least we couldn’t find them. If you disagree and have some tips and cool locations, please let me know!)

All in all we had a nice day, saw a place we haven’t been to before and, in the end, even though it was lacking in some aspects, we didn’t regret our choice of going to Dover.
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How to get there:
Initially we looked up trains from London to Dover, but found that taking a bus was much, much cheaper (one way train tickets would have been 75£/person whereas the bus ticket was 12£/person for a return ticket). The bus ride takes around 3 hours and I’ve only ever had good experiences with National Express. The buses are clean, comfortable and barring any major traffic jams they’ve always been on time.

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London Travel Diary: Day Two

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We woke up on our second day in London feeling slightly delicate. Most probably due to the combination of lack of sleep, not enough food, too much wine and general exhaustion of being on the move for the entire day.
In other words, nothing a proper Full English Breakfast cannot cure ;-) We started a day of visiting museums, walking through Hyde Park and finally saw Van Morrison at the Royal Albert Hall.

The first stop on our list was a visit to one of my favourite places in London, the Saatchi Gallery. I have such a deep love for this Gallery and all the quirky pieces of art you can find in there, I cannot even tell you. Admission to the Gallery is free (as it is the case with most of the bigger museums), but I’d advise you to check beforehand as prices can be quite high for some sights.

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We also visited the Science Museum, where you can easily spend a day or more. The museums were packed, though. Lots and lots of people. They have a couple of late night openings throughout the year and I was advised to go to one of them, but couldn’t do so because we already had plans for the evening. If you do have the chance I’d say: take it. The atmosphere in museums in the evening is always great and it can be a lot of fun! (Plus, I guess there are fewer children around ;-))
In the evening we dressed up and headed to the stunning Royal Albert Hall to see Van Morrison. When we were looking for a quick bite to eat we literally stumbled into a small Lebanese restaurant not far from the Paddington tube station. We were super surprised at how nice the food was and a little annoyed at ourselves that we didn’t have more time to spend there as we were in a bit of a rush.
Arriving at the Royal Albert Hall was…. crazy. The inside is just so beautifully stunning. Add that to the fact that I’ve been dying to see Van Morrison live for years now … it was a great evening at a stunning location.

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