Tower of London and the Crown Jewels

We've been to London a few times now and we haven't even come close to seeing it all. Since our friend came to visit us in Birmingham we decided to go to London for a couple days so we could hang out with him a bit more and also so we could show him around a little bit. It always helps to have someone show you the ropes and while we wouldn't consider ourselves experts on London, we do know our way around the tourist spots a little bit. We had a great time showing him some of our favourite sights and seeing some things we've never seen before as well.

We got in from the train to London Euston and headed to our friends hotel. He was able to check in early no problem so we all dropped our bags off there and started formulating a plan.

We stayed Tune Hotels for one night. The room was very small, but if you do not plan on spending a lot of time in there than it really doesn't matter. We had a powerful hot shower, and a comfortable bed. The noise levels were to a minimum and location was ideal. We would stay here again.  Since we booked with Expedia everything was included. Normally you have to pay extra for TV, internet, towels, toiletries, hairdryer etc. They also charge for early check in and late check outs. Check in is 3pm, check out is 10am.

Our first plan ended up not working because of construction on the Northern line. We ended up at King's Cross so we checked out the Harry Potter store.

They have a trolley that you can pretend you are pushing through the wall to go to platform 9 3/4.
There have a Harry Potter shop with all the Potter merch you could ever want. Our friend got some merch.
After reformulating our plans we headed to the Tower of London.
The Tower of London is very cool and we've never been inside before. It is where the crown jewels are kept.
The weather was great.
Be sure to watch our video to feel like you are travelling along with us.

It wasn't too crowded either because we were there on a Sunday.

Inside was really cool. I think this is one of the coolest castles that we have been to. We have a soft spot for the castles that are in ruins since they have a spooky vibe to them but this is probably the coolest castle that is still intact.

There were lots of cool rooms inside.

There was a nice view of Tower Bridge.

We decided to get in the queue to see the Crown Jewels while it wasn't too outrageous.
We were only in line for about 20-30 minutes which isn't too bad.
It was fun listening to everyone's accents because we are all tourists.

A Raven stopped by to chill.

After all that we weren't able to take photos of the crown jewels so we'll have to just remember what they looked like. After checking out the ridiculous crown jewels we carried on our tour of the Tower of London.

We continued along the wall.

We spotted the Gherkin.

We ended our tour in the Armoury which was pretty cool. There was lots of of cool weapons and armour in there.

We always have a good time sticking our faces in these stupid things.
We were pretty much castled out by the time we finished the armoury so we headed over to the O2 to catch the Emirates line cable car for fun. On the way there we narrowly missed some football traffic again going through West Ham. Luckily the match hadn't quite finished yet but there were warning signs everywhere saying that the station was about to get very busy. Once we arrive at the O2, we decided to go inside to see if there was anything on at the moment.
Sky Sports had some free mini golf.

We checked out the Sky Sports exhibit that had all sorts of activities.

There were different memorabilia on display.
We played a game where you took turns testing your reaction time pushing buttons that light up as if you were a goalkeeper.
We also raced each other on some stationary bikes which doesn't sound super interesting as I'm typing this but trust me it was pretty fun.

Then we went on the Emirates Line.
My Uncle showed us the Emirates line as a cheap but fun thing to check out in London. If you have an Oyster card, which is a pay as you go travel pass, then it only costs £3.50 to ride the Emirates Line and it has a great view. That's a killer deal compared to say the London Eye which will set you back £25.

It's a cool ride.

After the Emirates line, we took the DLR and then the tube to get back to Kings Cross so we could check into our hotel.

We stayed at the Tune Hotel which is a budget hotel.

We ended up going for dinner. Our friend had a free dinner included in his hotel but we weren't sure what we would find in his hotel in the way of vegan food so we decided to meet up after dinner because we were wanting to try this place called Vantra Vitao.

We went to Vantra Vitao and it was a restaurant where you weight you plate and then pay based on weight. We went up to the buffet one at a time. The first plate ended up being £16.50 for not even a full plate which was pretty shocking so we ended up just splitting the one plate of food.

The food was not that great tasting at all. It certainly didn't feel like the price was justified. Everything was pretty bland. We ended up stopping by a coffee shop to get some more food before meeting up with our friend. We were probably better off taking our chances on the hotel restaurant.

We hung out for a bit and then called it a night as we had a full day planned the next day.
We met up with our friend and made our way to Soho near Picadilly Circus to check out a vegan place called Vegan Hippo. It turns out this area is where all the junkies hang out which is a shame as the restaurant looked like it had some pretty decent food. We wanted to get away from the junkies though so we got some takeaway sandwiches and left.

The vegan egg sandwiches were pretty tasty for breakfast.
We walked around Piccadilly Circus and then towards Leicester Square.

We took a walk through the area and then stopped by the Leicester Square half price ticket agents so our friend could get some theatre tickets for a show later. We didn't see any matinee shows as it was a Monday.

The Harry Potter play is pretty impossible to see. You can get tickets online on stubhub for £300 and up which is ridiculous.
We stopped by Trafalgar Square to take some pictures and then we searched around for a magnet shaped like the UK to add to our collection. We found one that works.

We hung out with our old pal Ben and then visited Westminster Cathedral.
The price to get it was kinda steep so we carried on.

It was a bit of an impulse but we decided to go take one of the ferry boats on the Thames. You can use your Oyster cards on the boats as long as you've got enough money on them.

Our friend held up the London Eye. This older lady asked us to take a picture of her in front of the London Eye so we got her to do this same pose and she loved it.

The boat ride was pretty good and not as expensive as the ones that aren't operated by Transport for London.

That pointy building is that Shard which you can go to the top of. Next time we are being tourists in London we may do that. We try to do something different each time we go but we also have our favourite places that we can't help but return to.

The walkie talkie behind another building.

We considered climbing the monument to the fire of London but we had already done a lot of walking and there is quite a few stairs to the top.
We took the tube to Camden as the tube was running again.

Camden high street was super crowded as usual but we wanted to go there for food from the food carts.
Vegan Restaurant. Maybe next time.
We had to stop by one of our favourite places Cookie and Scream.

Us vegans got some vegan milkshakes. Chocolate fudge and cookie dough.

They were way too good.

There was many a place to get food. There is a wide variety of foods from all over the world in the market.

We went for the vegan Mexican food for some nachos. We were having a health food day with our milk shakes and nachos.

It was busy as hell but we found a seat eventually.

Check out these nachos.

We walked around a bit. The market is pretty massive. It just keeps going and going.

We saw Amy Winehouse.
We took the tube back to Leicester Square so our friend could check out M&M world which is a huge store devoted to M&M candies. Then we walked through Covent Gardens to check out the Maple Leaf which is a Canadian themed bar.
They had all kinds of Canadian stuff on the wall and it looked like we were inside a log cabin.
They also had Canadian beer such as Molson Canadian, Moosehead and Sleeman's. Canadian beer is not very common in the UK. This is the only place that we have seen it so far in the UK.
Our friend was dying for some Canadian sports but all that was showing on TV was cricket which is not very Canadian. I'm sure they'd have hockey on during hockey season though.

After the Maple Leaf, we parted ways with our friend at the nearby tube station. Our friend stayed in London for a few more days enjoying the sights. We headed over to Marylebone station to catch our train back to Birmingham. The tube station was closed so was got off at the next one and ran to Marylebone to catch our train but it turned out to not be that far away so we were not late at all. In fact, we had about 45 minutes to kill so rather than pay 20p to use the toilets in the station we walked around the block and used the free toilets in the pub without anyone noticing. 

For more on London, check out our previous posts: