This year I decided to be very organised and booked myself my first ever solo travel trip. It might not sound like a big deal at 25 going on 26 (tomorrow actually), but I have a lot of friends who won’t do it. I decided to book myself a 3 days city break to London to watch the filming of my favourite arts show.
I’ve loved watching Portrait Artist of the year for years now and I decided to take some well earned time off work to travel to London to watch the heats. I’ll blog about it at a later date, but I wont be able to include a lot of photos due to rules with sharing their content that wont be airing on tv until next year! I used to be scared of how big and bustling London seemed, its one of those cities that never sleeps but that was then, and this blog is being written at the end of my trip.
I’m currently sat in Paddington station awaiting my 2:45pm train back to Cardiff central and I’m afraid to say I’m sad to be leaving lovely London Town. When I’ve visited in the past it’s always been with friends, who are far better with directions than I am, and some of whom have lived in London too. The tube (or tube-ige, I overheard a posh couple calling it at breakfast) is easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. I also used a very handy app called Citymapper and it’s available to use in big cities like London, New York, Paris, Berlin and so on. It tells you which entrance to use, east or westbound, which tube, how many stops to stay on for, where to change and the best exit to use.
Theres something a little more grown up about travelling on your own too. Most of my friends are the same age as me, but a lot of the time comment on how young we still feel and look. People are starting to buy houses or get married, but inside we still feel 18, just with a whole lot of student loan debt, more bills to pay and a few grey hairs.
I used Hotels.com to find my hotel which was located in Kensington and a nice area to stay in, Gloucester Road tube station was a 5 minute walk away, and there were a few shops and places to eat outside the hotel too. I prepaid for my hotel in advance which was slightly cheaper than paying on arrival, and I pre booked my train tickets as far in advance as I could. It’s so easy to get to London by train and the journey takes about 2 hours. The later you leave it though the more expensive your journey could get! I booked about 4/5 weeks before I went and paid about £70 return which I think is good value. Some people prefer to travel by bus because it’s much cheaper at about £12, but your travelling time will definitely double to about 4 hours. Train is definitely my preference and I’d recommend it too.
I don’t think I’d be confident enough to travel abroad or to a non ‘English first language’ speaking place, but I really enjoyed this trip and I’d like to do it again. I know I also wouldnt enjoy something like a solo holiday in the sun .. thats definitely an occasion to share with friends or family. I decided this trip was a great idea because I wanted to spend some time intently watching the portrait painting all day and not having to worry about others feeling bored, or wanting to do something else. I’m a keen artist which others appreciate, but it was so nice to have to freedom to do my own thing, get back to my hotel room have a nice relaxing bath then crawl into bed at an early hour.
I also used my time to visit Parliament and Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Queens Gallery, all of which I highly enjoyed throughout my three sunny days in the capital city.
To top off this wonderful week, I have friends coming to visit tonight and it’s my birthday tomorrow! So heres to a brilliant week and hopefully a brilliant year of being 26!
I highly suggest you branch out of your comfort zone and embrace a short solo travel trip, its actually very enjoyable!