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Around England by hired car.Part 1.London

Around England by hired car.Part 1.London

England is one of my favourite places in the world. It has its own incomparable aura and atmosphere. It is simple to hire a car there, but you should be aware of a few things.

I have been to England several times, but hired a car just once. Our journey started from the direct flight Moscow-London. Low cost flights from Moscow to London or Manchester were available nearly every single day, but we made up our mind to fly to London, hire a car there and leave for Yorkshire, a county of Northern England.

You can hire a car right at the airport. There you can always find representatives of all major car hire companies such as Hertz, Avis and Europcar, one of the most popular car hire companies in the UK. Of course, you can book a car online, having chosen a model and location to pick it up. To avoid hassle, we decided not to hire a car at the airport as we know that most times it costs more to hire it at the airport than in any other place. Moreover, London is a large city and full of cars and traffic jams. We got to the city centre by coach. I have travelled by National Express many times and I always book tickets in advance, it is much more cheaper and convenient. It has a station at Victoria, very close to the tube. There are other ways to get to the city, but this one is the cheapest. The London Tube is very expensive. It has a special system of zones and the price depends on the zone you travel to. You can buy a single ticket or it is even better to buy the Oyster card. You have to pay for the card itself but you get this sum of money back at any station when returning the card. We were going to spend just a couple of days there, so we bought one to travel around. Actually, we only used it twice.

Англия на арендованной машине. Часть 1. Лондон

Hotels and hostels are everywhere around London. We stayed in a small hotel close to the centre near the station Earl’s Court. Convenient location and clean rooms – all we needed, actually. Having checked in the hotel, we went to have a look at the surroundings, looking for a café or a pub. You can find all sorts of cafés and restaurants in London: Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian. I’m not a big fan of English food, so we decided to have dinner in a Thai restaurant. It was not expensive. If anything, it was cheaper than an ordinary meal in a pub. Moreover, such places are quite popular, there were lots of English people there. These restaurants are very similar, it does not matter if it is Thai or Indian, they’re rather small and the staff is made up of immigrants. Pubs are a distinguishing feature of England. I love going out to pubs the way English people do. They don’t stay for long in one pub, they have a pint and go to another one. If there is a street of pubs, they usually have a pint in each one. So don’t be surprised to see drunken faces everywhere, not just young but older generation as well. As we were actually jet-lagged, we had a pint of beer and went to bed.

Англия на арендованной машине. Часть 1. Лондон

We did not have any spare time to stay more in London, and having had our breakfast, we set off to see the city. It’s better to have breakfast at a hotel, because it is unlikely you will find anything to eat in the streets in the morning. I was not very impressed with the Tube, think I just expected to see something like our Moscow Metro, but the Tube was rather dull, ordinary and not easy to use. We started with Tower Hill Station. The weather was nasty, chilling wind and drizzle, but warmer than in Russia - +10 in December. But we wanted to see everything and as fast as possible.

The Tower of London is the most popular tourist attraction. It looks smaller than in the pictures. In fact, everything in England is rather small. The tower is situated on the bank of the river Thames. I was quite interested in this building, as you often read about it in historical books or novels or programmes about England. It served as a prison since the 12 century. Many who had fallen into disgrace were imprisoned there. We could not be bothered to go to Tower Bridge, but we took pictures from a distance.

We walked along Great Tower Street and up to the Bank of England. If you take a bit up to the north, you will be able to see a modern and impressive building, the Gherkin. There’s a nice square with a monument near the bank. In December, all streets and buildings are festive, as they celebrate Christmas on December, 24. All shop windows are decorated with trees and Christmas decorations. Don’t forget to drop in a pub and have a pint or two of lager or ale. Pubs are beautifully decorated as well.

Англия на арендованной машине. Часть 1. Лондон

Up Cheapside Street, we got to the St Paul’s Cathedral. I remember this cathedral from the school times when we had to learn texts about London. It’s a stunning building. It’s the second biggest cathedral. We didnot manage to get inside: either it was closed or we did not have any time. Then along Fleet Street past Royal Courts of Justice and Somerset House to Trafalgar Square.

We went down from the square to see Big Ben. Every tourist must have a picture with this large clock behind, a symbol of England. It would be nice to hear the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Buckingham Palace is nearby, we walked along Birdcage Walk Street, through the park. This park is a really nice place with strolling ducks and geese, and a pond with swans. Sit down on one of the benches and enjoy the view. And here it was — Buckingham Palace. Perhaps, I expected to see something more grande and stunning, but to my mind, it looks ordinary and simple, but I am pretty sure that it is kingly rich and beautiful inside.

Англия на арендованной машине. Часть 1. Лондон

We went back up Piccadilly Street to the north onto Oxford Street to stroll about the famous shopping centre, Selfridges. It is crowded like any other shopping centre in Moscow. We left it very quickly, fled I would say, we had to hurry up to get into the Science Museum. The shortest way was through Hide Park. The museum is definitely a place to go, I would recommend to spend half a day there. It is huge and there is lots to see: skeletons of animals, different species of plants. All the more so, it is free to visit.

You can hire a bicycle and ride around these places, but the payment system was not clear, so we just walked.

It was evening and dark, we were hungry and went to a pub to plan our route to Yorkshire and where to find a car to hire.

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