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  • It's odd how after 18 years of living in London this is the first photo I've ever

  • taken in front of Buckingham Palace. Funny how we take these tourist hotspots for granted

  • when we actually live in that place. To a tourist this red phone box is fascinating.

  • For me, I'm concerned if they still actually work, if I ever lost my phone. To the tourist,

  • Elizabeth is a queen, a ruler of lands and the star of a Netflix Original. But to me,

  • she's just my friendly old lady neighbour. Since starting this travel channel, I have

  • mostly ignored my own home town, not because it wasn't great, but because it was just

  • normal for me. So about a year ago I thought it would be a good idea to do a travel vlog

  • about my own city. But not as a local, as a tourist. How, would my wife and I holiday

  • in our own backyard. So over months of filming various days out, I have created this travel

  • vlog which will masquerade as being shot over 5 consecutive days in order to show people

  • what I think is the best of London, to act as a suggested guide for future visitors and

  • perhaps a different view of a place I've grown to love. This isn't just about hitting

  • the famous landmarks, and it isn't just about visiting places no one's heard of,

  • either. It's a splash of both and what I personally would recommend. If you're new

  • to the channel, we aim to make travel movies where the location is king, hoping you might

  • just find your next holiday inspiration. This is Suitcase Monkey being a local tourist in

  • London.

  • (STRONG DRUM BEAT)

  • So let's zoom out a second and take a look at what we have in store for us. Over the

  • week, we will mostly focus on specific areas each day to cover as much as possible in as

  • little time. To begin, we started in this area which broadly speaking covers the City

  • of London. Under its original name Londinium, 2000 years ago, it was here where the the

  • city's first Roman settlers inhabited so what better place for us to start.

  • The Tower of London is one of London's oldest buildings, with the White Tower in the middle

  • being almost 1,000 years old.

  • (DRAMATIC MUSIC CONTINUES)

  • What I love about the Tower is how it sticks out like a

  • sore thumb when compared to its surroundings but also seems to feel right at home at the

  • same time.

  • (DRUMMING CONTINUES)

  • I'd really recommend waiting for a Yeoman tour which is included in the price of admission.

  • Lasting around an hour, they vividly paint stories of the Towers past

  • I've seen a few different tours over the years, and

  • they have always been of a high standard, with a sharp, dry British wit, not dissimilar

  • to the humble narrator that you're enjoying right now.

  • (DRUM MUSIC CONTINUES)

  • Along with pretty much everything else I am about to discuss in the video, I will put

  • all important links in the description below, along with our social media so you can follow

  • us live while we do whatever London throws our way next. Please do come along and say Hello

  • (RAVEN CROWING)

  • (UPBEAT HAPPY GENTLE MUSIC)

  • Somewhere that isn't as well known is St Katharines Docks. Literally hidden across

  • the road from the Tower of London, this little gem is great for a tea or coffee, a lunch,

  • a beer and occasionally a mini festival. Again, I'll link below, but they have sporadic

  • dates where they will host really cool international food festivals. But outside of those busy

  • dates, it's a really quaint, quiet, closed off harbour where you can watch people with

  • more money than you park their boats.

  • Next, we headed into the heart of the City of London, known as The Square Mile. It might

  • seem odd to suggest the financial district as a place to visit but especially on weekends

  • when the streets are empty of the usual business, there is some great architecture and history

  • to discover.

  • OK, so if you're in the area and have a spare 30 minutes then The Monument is worth

  • a cheeky look in. It's only £4.50, there is never a wait and it gives you a nice simple

  • view of the City. But you do have to be fit enough to tackle the 311 steps it takes to

  • climb to the top.

  • The great fire of London in 1666 left 13,000 houses burnt to the ground and The Monument

  • was erected as part of the effort to rebuild the city.

  • Along with the Tower, St Pauls Cathedral is one of my favourite historical buildings in

  • London. During the second World War Blitz, it somehow miraculously missed all London

  • bombings and stood as a beacon of hope. A short walk from The Monument, it's an impressive

  • sight. If you want to get an elevated perspective beforehand, I'd recommend going up to the

  • roof terrace within the One New Change building. There is a free observation deck as well as

  • a trendy bar if you want to take your time before visiting the impressive Cathedral.

  • (LIGHT PIANO MUSIC)

  • Whilst The Monument is great for a quick stop, and without a booking, The Sky Garden is my

  • favourite free viewing space in London but usually requires a reservation.

  • Nicknamed the Walkie Talkie, I'd always recommend going just before sunset so you get the daylight

  • turning to night.

  • (LIGHT MUSIC CONTINUES, BUILDS WITH STRINGS)

  • If they've run out of free observation tickets, then I'd suggest

  • booking a table at the Sky Garden's Darwin Brasserie instead. The food here isn't cheap

  • but is good enough with an even better view, making it a great way to end your day. For

  • lots more restaurant suggestions, I'd check out our assortment of best London dining videos

  • we've already made, which I'll link to above and below.

  • (PIANO MUSIC FADES)

  • UPBEAT INTENSE MUSIC)

  • London is best discovered on foot and I think there is no better way to relax into the city

  • than with a long walk along the South side of the River Thames. We started at Borough

  • Market, with the aim to fuel ourselves up for the rest of the afternoon.

  • Being London's oldest food market, its 1000 years of experience means you will be test

  • tasting, smelling and eating some of the best local and international flavours around. This

  • is an energetic, bustling space open Monday to Saturday with Wednesday to Saturday having

  • the most traders. Whether you're here for breakfast, brunch or lunch, you are guaranteed

  • to find something you'll enjoy and hunting for that goodness is often half the fun.

  • (UPBEAT FUNKY MUSIC CONTINUES)

  • (MUSIC ENDS, SILENCE, EATING NOISES)

  • (GENTLE PIANO MUSIC)

  • Walking along the Thames going from Borough Market to the London Eye can take anything

  • from an hour to a whole afternoon. Representing the bottom part of an official walking route

  • known as the Jubilee Walkway, it was opened by the Queen during her Silver Jubilee celebrations.

  • Along the way are dozens of pit stops that may or may not grab your attention but the

  • scrolling north side view of the Thames are worth the walk alone.

  • (GENTLE PIANO MUSIC CONTINUES)

  • (MUSIC ENDS)

  • (FASTER STRING MUSIC)

  • This whole area of Westminster has been the home of government and royalty for centuries.

  • Westminster Abbey being the initial seed, it was established in 960AD and has been the

  • home to every royal coronation since.

  • Acting as an open air museum, this whole area is

  • a who's who within history. Much like the Jubilee Walk, your time here can vary massively

  • depending on how deep you want to go but an hour or two can easily be spent wandering around.

  • Whilst views of 10 Downing Street are not possible for most, the closest view is around

  • the back next to Horse Guards Parade. Just next to this, is the Churchill War Rooms,

  • where you can go inside the underground bunkers where Winston Churchill planned through the

  • Second World War.

  • (FAST STRING MUSIC ENDS)

  • (SLOW GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS)

  • As we pass Trafalgar Square, we are now entering the tourist hotspots. Let's hang out in

  • Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square, said no Londoner ever. They should certainly be

  • on every holiday makers list however, especially Piccadilly Circus with its famous curved signs.

  • Next, we head into Soho, which is the perfect place for evening drinks and dinner. Catering

  • to literally every single taste known to man, there is literally something here for everyone.

  • Chinatown is a great stop if you want either authentic Chinese food or even the English/Chinese

  • version I've grown up with.

  • For the sake of this day, we went to Barrafina, an authentic Spanish Tapas Bar right in the

  • heart of Soho on Dean Street. Be prepared for a wait since it is incredibly popular

  • but the food here is always great. Our eyes got very large as we tucked into Chorizo rolls,

  • Ham Croquettes, Prawn Tempura, Deep water Mussels, white fish, an incredibly juicy slab

  • of beef, and the classic coffee and chocolate tart to finish off. Soho covers a pretty large

  • area altogether so I'm saving 2 of my favourite Soho hotspots for when we return here on our final day.

  • (SOFT GUITAR RIFF)

  • After a busy few days, we wanted today to be a relatively relaxing one, venturing out

  • into South East London for a more local feel. We would be spending most of our early afternoon

  • in Greenwich but I think a nice add on is its neighbouring town of Blackheath, especially

  • if it's a sunny day. Whilst no means essential, Blackheath is probably the most local and

  • unassuming place in this trip which makes up its small town charm. Getting to Blackheath

  • is just a couple of stops from London Bridge and on that, a quick note to say that you

  • should definitely download the app City Mapper as it's the best transport app for London.

  • But the main reason I wanted to start in Blackheath is that it is the best gateway into Greenwich

  • itself. Entering from the south side of Greenwich Park gives you The Flower Garden and The Pavillion

  • Cafe but also a postcard view of London.

  • This Prime Meridian line divides the earth into the East and West hemispheres marking

  • 0 Longitude on a map is also the reference for Greenwich Mean Time. In the late 19th

  • Century every town in the world kept their own local time with no international standards.

  • Greenwich was chosen as the centre of world time and the Royal Observatory does a good

  • job of telling this story.

  • (FUNKY BASS RIFF)

  • A great way to get back to Central London is to take the Thames Clippers. The Thames

  • by boat is a great way to see the city from a different perceptive and whilst doing a

  • slower commentary boat is also a great option, this version provides sightseeing and transport

  • at the same time.

  • There are several stops along the way, but we wanted to get off at Embankment since there

  • are a few random things we wanted to show you. The first being Victoria Embankment Gardens

  • which is worth a drop in if you're already close and its a nice day. But also, one of

  • my favourite London drinking spots is here in the shape of Gordon's Wine Bar. On a

  • sunny day and evening, its a great place to enjoy some crisp white wine outside and during

  • the winter months they have a really cool cellar underground. This also holds a special

  • place for us since it was the place where Chiaki and myself had our first ever date together.

  • (GENTLE ROUND OF APPLAUSE)

  • A few minutes from Gordons Wine Bar, and just off The Strand, is Adam Street. Here, you

  • will find a door that strikes an uncanny resemblance to that of number 10 Downing Street. Which

  • leaves you open for many a comical pose and an Instagram post to impress your friends.

  • And while I mention it, please do consider following us on Instagram and Facebook so

  • you can enjoy our London travels live as they happen.

  • Now, if you listen to nothing else I say, then listen to this. If you've never done

  • one before, you have to enjoy an afternoon tea whilst in London. Going all out for an

  • afternoon tea is one of our favourite dining experiences and something we do at least a

  • couple of times a year. I'll spread my footage here over 2 places we've visited recently

  • but I've put a link in the description that lists loads of different options for you.

  • Generally speaking though, as long as you see good reviews on Trip Advisor, you can't

  • go wrong.

  • This tradition is said to have come about in the early 19th century when it was normal

  • for someone to only have breakfast and dinner. When Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and

  • now one of my personal heroes complained of hunger during the long afternoon period, the

  • idea of enjoying a snack was born and here we are, a lunch, a brunch and an afternoon

  • tea later.

  • Generally consisting of a multitude of speciality tea or coffee, a delicious selection of sandwiches,

  • usually with the crusts cut off, thank you very much, a marvellous mix of sweet desserts

  • and then my personal favourite, the scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Now,

  • if there is one topic within England that divides people more than Brexit, it's how

  • to spread your jam on a scone. Whether you should enjoy it the Devonshire way; that is

  • with jam spread on top of the cream or the Cornish way with the cream on top. Whether

  • any of this makes any actual difference once it's all in your mouth doesn't seem to

  • be the point but I invite you to try them both and let me know in the comments below

  • what your thoughts are.

  • With an afternoon tea usually satisfying any hunger for the rest of the day, what better

  • way to work off all those calories, than to sit still in a darkened room facing forwards.

  • Something else that should be on everyones to-do list, is to enjoy a West End show.

  • Along with Broadway, London hosts the finest selection of shows in the world and the scale

  • and quality here is top notch. Three shows that continue to run that I would recommend

  • to anyone are Hamilton, Wicked and the Book of Mormon. And we've also recently seen

  • Aladdin, The Comedy about a Bank Robbery, The Play that Goes Wrong, and Harry Potter

  • which I'd suggest also. Tickets can be purchased either at the actual box office or various

  • ticket outlets around the city, with the main one being in Leicester Square and unofficial

  • ones dotted around. But I'd also recommend the Today Tix app for a simple mobile option

  • and I'll link a few websites in the description below also.

  • As part of this hypothetical trip, I wanted one of our days to take us away from London.

  • When thinking what this day could be, instead of picking my favourite child, I thought it

  • better to give you a brief summary of a bunch of different potential days away. So here

  • goes

  • The furthest out on this list is a 90 minute train ride taking you to the old Roman city

  • of Bath. Located in the South West of England, Bath is a great getaway and although it might

  • be rushed, could be done in a day if you catch an early train out with a late return.

  • In fact, I recommend Bath so much, I've already made a full length travel vlog on

  • our weekend away, so make sure to check out the full story.

  • A little closer to home, and with about 40 minutes of travel time is the Warner Brothers

  • Studio Tour, otherwise known as the Making of Harry Potter. If you have any interest

  • in the boy wizard or movie magic in general, then this is a great half day activity. The

  • moment where the Great Hall is revealed behind its colossal doors is really well told and

  • is a great start to your experience. Compared to the world in Universal Studios, it's

  • a lot less theme park and more of the actual behind the scenes, where you can interact

  • with genuine props, set design, costumes, and effects that made up the franchise.

  • One of my favourite parts was where you get to green screen yourself onto a frantic broom

  • stick flight. Now as a little bit of background on myself I had 3 years of drama school training

  • and I think its clear to see those years were certainly not wasted.

  • (DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS)

  • Just beyond this, you get to step inside the original Hogwarts express that is contained

  • within an impressive recreation of Platform 9¾. What followed was what my life had been

  • leading up to. With a director yelling instructions, I was finally given the chance to show the

  • National Theatre why they were wrong during those dark days of 2003.

  • DIRECTOR SPEAKING: Now look out of the window and smile and laugh

  • Great! Keep it up and look over at the camera.

  • Big Smiles!

  • Nice!

  • You're on your way to Hogwarts so you're really excited, you're happy, let me see some big smiles!

  • And cut!

  • Thanks for riding along

  • (VOICE OVER AGAIN) For all bookings, please contact my agent.

  • If you'd rather get a bit more in touch with nature, then I'd recommend an early

  • morning trip to Richmond Park. I say early morning since this is the best time to spot

  • the deer that roam freely around the park and it's a nice early scene in Jurassic

  • Park moment when you do.

  • (GENTLE GUITAR MUSIC)

  • Not too far from Richmond Park is Kew Gardens, which was one of my first videos on this channel

  • so take a look at that in my pre voice days. We visited here on a cold January and it was