Visiting London: Day 6 – The Shard, Tower Bridge, and Leaden Hall Market
The three day trips I took from London were amazing and such a learning experience. However, they were quite tiring because I did them all back to back. That’s alright, it was worth it! With my exploration of other parts of England done, it was time to explore some more of London. My sixth day in London would consist of visiting The Shard, exploring some parks, walking along Tower Bridge, and Leaden Hall Market.
I did A LOT of walking and exploring this day. It was go, go, go right from the beginning. I would love to travel slow but when I travel, I’m actually also on vacation as well. Meaning, I have a lot to see and do in such a short amount of time. Hence why I decided to do so much in one day.
The planned itinerary
Prior to all the day trips I took, I pondered over what to do after those trips. I thought about what I could possibly see and do in 2022 that I didn’t get the chance to do back when I studied abroad here in 2015.
I bought my tickets to The Shard Experience a couple weeks prior to my arrival in London and I recommend you do the same. Those tickets tend to sell out quickly. Anyways, that activity was the only one I had planned for that day. I wanted to fill in the gaps of my day, so I could make the most of my time in London.
I created this rough itinerary for the day I had The Shard Experience, which was Thursday, March 24th:
- Walk through Regent’s Park
- Walk over into Primrose Hill
- Walk from Primrose Hill to The Shard Experience
- Walk to Tower Bridge and along the Thames River
- Meet up with my cousin in the evening
For the most part, I stuck to this itinerary. But I did add a couple of things in when I was out and about in London. You’ll see soon enough what I got up to.
Regent’s Park was a place I didn’t get the chance to visit the last time I was in London. Shocking, I know. This time around, I was determined to visit here, even if it was a small portion of the park. I walked from my hostel on Chalk Farm Rd in Camden to Regent’s Park, which took my little legs about 20 to 30 minutes. Taking pictures and vlogging at certain times along the way slowed me down a bit.
I passed by the London Zoo and Aquarium, which are located next to this park. If you’re in London, and want to visit these places, now you know where they’re located! But I digress. I walked past certain portions of the inner and outer circles of the park. There’s a lovely statue at one point, lots of people playing soccer (or football), and cute birds flying around.
It was a pleasure to just walk around this park on a warm, spring day. I spent maybe an hour at most here. You don’t see beautiful weather like this in London that much, so I was taking full advantage of it while I was there.
After walking around Regent’s Park for quite a bit, I decided to venture off to Primrose Hill. I’ve heard of this area from multiple people at my hostel, so I figured I’d go to check it out since it’s not that far from Regent’s Park.
A lot of people said that the houses, views, park, and overall area of Primrose Hill is gorgeous and worth the visit. I took that and ran with it, adding it to my itinerary. However, I ended up not having as much time as I thought I had to explore this area.
I walked into the area, along the little river path, and then up and out of the park to get to my next activity. In hindsight, I should’ve explored these two parks separately or just started exploring earlier in the day. Nonetheless, I did get to see at least a small portion of Primrose Hill before making my way to the nearest tube station.
The Shard Experience
I walked from Primrose Hill to the nearest tube station, where I took the train to London bridge. London Bridge is the stop for The Shard and you’ll see the signs on the walls showing you the way to The Shard.
I found my way to The Shard Experience and waited about an hour on line to get into the building. I brought my GoPro with me, just in case it rained (it’s London after all) but forgot to leave the mini tripod for it at home. Security took it away from me but thankfully, I didn’t really need it at the time anyways.
NOTE: You cannot bring any selfie sticks or tripods. They will be taken by security but you can reclaim them at the end of the experience.
Once you’re in the building, you take two elevators to the upper floors. One floor is where you can view all of London, the other floor is the open roof top where you can also chill and view London from above. When I purchased my ticket, I opted to pay extra to add a glass of champagne, so I could enjoy it with the view. You can buy alcohol on your own but it’s very expensive. I only wanted one glass so I figured it would be worth it to just add it onto my ticket. Overall, it cost me £44.99 or about $52.
The next couple of hours, I drank my champagne, enjoyed the lovely but hazy views of London, and embraced the moment. I even met three nice men at this experience: Mat from the UK, another nice buy shy guy from Poland, and a man from Nigeria. This activity is something you should do at least once, if you’re visiting London.
Related Post: Visiting London: Day 4 – Day Trip to The Cotswolds
After a spending a couple of hours at The Shard, I left to walk on the streets and explore. My blog and YouTube banner is of Tower Bridge, taken back in October of 2015 at sunset. I decided to stay around Tower Bridge for a few hours in an attempt to recreate that picture I took years ago.
However, at this point in the day, the sun was still out and bright as ever. That was alright, because I still walked along the path to Tower Bridge. I took a lot of beautiful pictures and talked to some kind people who kindly took photos of me. I continued to take many pictures as I crossed over the bridge.
By this point, I was very hungry and had a slight headache from drinking champagne with no food. I took to Google to find a restaurant close by so I could get something to eat.
Dinner at Emilia’s Crafted Pasta
The restaurant I found on Google is called Emilia’s Crafted Pasta and it was just a 5 minute walk from Tower Bridge. I decided to go with this place because I wanted some pasta and I wanted to give my feet a break. At this point, I’ve been walking or standing since the morning, so a good rest was needed.
My dinner consisted of homemade Bolognese, an aperol spritz, amaretto for dessert, and some orange juice (which I had after I finished the aperol spritz). I enjoyed my meal, the drink, and dessert. I sat there for a couple of hours eating my dinner, drinking my drink, and catching up with my coworker. It was a lovely restaurant with a pretty view, which I happily enjoyed as the sun set.
Walk along the Thames Path
With a full stomach and rested feet, I set off from Emilia’s Crafted Pasta to the Thames Path. The sun was setting and I wanted to walk on the path to the general area where I took a picture of Tower Bridge back in 2015. I was trying to recreate the moment with the same lighting, distance, look, etc.
Needless to say, I didn’t fully succeed but I was close. The lighting was somewhat gone by this point, so the sky didn’t have those beautiful hues of color. I also couldn’t remember exactly where along the path I was when I took the picture. From what I remember, certain things along the path have popped up which weren’t there 7 years ago (if I’m remembering the area correctly). This just confused me and my memory of where I took the original photo.
Regardless, I still enjoyed walking along the path, getting some cool pictures and taking in the views of the river.
I spent quite a while on London Bridge taking pictures. The sun was gone but the city was still bustling and lit. I love evening views of cities, especially London. So, I did what any tourist would do, and took tons of pictures from different angles.
I walked to the end of the bridge, then decided to turn back around. I made the decision to cross back to the other end of the bridge to explore that side of the city. Why? Because I was going to meet up with my cousin later on near Tower Bridge, close to the restaurant I just came from. That way, it would make traveling or walking back to the general area of the restaurant easy for me.
Well, while waiting for my cousin to finish work and meet up with me, I walked through the bustling streets of London. I kept walking along the street when I saw a little sign. I don’t remember if it was on the wall of the building or if it was hanging from the building. Either way, when I saw what this sign said, I knew I had to walk through and explore this area.
Walking through Leaden Hall Market
The sign I saw said Leaden Hall Market! Leaden Hall Market was used in the Harry Potter movies and I love Harry Potter! So, when I saw the sign, I made a right turn into the market area. Now, this place is very crowded and with people spending their evenings drinking.
Most of the stores in the market were closed by the time I got there, and the few places that were open were the pubs. Hence why it was just packed and really loud. I took pictures here too, of course. I loved the style and architecture of the buildings here, so I just walked down the many halls of the market place. It would have been better to visit during the day, so I could have at least gone into a few shops.
That’s alright, because I loved walking around an area which was used in the Harry Potter movies!
The end of the night
Once my walk through Leaden Hall Market was over, I walked through the financial district of London. I walked passed the Gherkin and other buildings of the area. It was very exciting to see the Gherkin again in person, although it was at night and I couldn’t truly admire it like I could during the day.
I got the meeting location from my cousin and walked through the streets of London at night. I normally don’t wander around cities at night, unless it’s NYC where I’m a bit more familiar with the area (born and raised in New York) or if I’m with friends. But in London, I’m perfectly comfortable walking around by myself at night.
I really need to play with the settings on my Lumix GH5 camera. London is so beautiful at night but I couldn’t capture many pictures. If your camera settings aren’t set for night photography, it’s hard to get pictures in the evening. Even in more lit areas of London, my camera still struggled to get decent pictures which weren’t blurry. So, I hardly got any pictures of my walk through the district.
Fast forward to about 10pm, after being with my cousins for about 2 hours, I was given a ride back to my hostel in Camden. I was very tired from the walking I did and meeting up with my cousins. But I was very happy to have visited so many new places in one day!