The London Trifecta
words & photography by Amy Truong
'"There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere."
London is an amazingly beautiful city to visit during any season. The grandeur of old English architecture just popping out at you at every corner is enough to make a lover of buildings like me go weak at the knees. It makes the city impressively photogenic even during a chilly winter’s day. If you’re looking for cool shops, restaurants or sights to visit then this is not an article for you. Instead, we celebrate the art of being a tourist and the London trifecta – namely, the Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
When heading to London, it is important to try to squeeze as much into your days as possible, especially when days are short and nights are long during a northern winter. But whatever your plans are, leave one day free to be a tourist. There is something quite idyllic and adventurous in taking your camera and just wandering through the streets until you reach an iconic tourist site. You will get to see more of the city you’re visiting and explore in a way that even the most intricate of travel guides can’t dictate to you.
Starting in Pimlico, step out at Victoria station and enjoy the hustle bustle of this upcoming area in downtown London. Pimlico is full of quaint eateries and pubs so head into a local café for a spot of morning tea or just meander through the iconic London suburban streets for something a bit different to start your day. Then, slowly make your way down Victoria Street past Scotland Yard towards Westminster Abbey.
Your expectation maybe for an imposing, over scaled cathedral but in reality, the Abbey is around one street block in size. Her gothic architecture weaved in amongst the busy London roads is truly a sight to see and whether or not you visit the inside, Westminster stands as an impressive means of iconic London architecture. Getting away from the hoards of other tourists, take a step aside and visit the Dean’s Yard just behind the cathedral. It will give you the space and time to appreciate the beauty of the Abbey.
Surprisingly, from here one can easily walk to the next destination – Big Ben. In fact, you can see Big Ben poking out in the skyline in a less than five minute walk from the Abbey. As you stroll towards the famous clock tower, you can hear the squeals and squeaks of delights from others knowing that they’ve also reached Big Ben. Charmingly attached to Parliament House, close viewing access to Big Ben is strictly guarded however; wander past and onto Westminster Bridge to view the clock from all sides. His iconic sound and look is something that you just don’t forget.
As you continue along Westminster Bridge across the Thames, the looming and impressive Eye stares back at you. It is this moment that you realise you’re truly in London, standing with the London Eye in front and a chiming Big Ben behind. For any first-timer, this is a feeling that brings flutters and excitement which then sets pace for you to truly immerse yourself in the city. For a more complete view, head towards Waterloo station just opposite Jubilee Park.
You can easily be occupied around the Eye – there is always food to eat and people to watch. But as the sun starts to set, walk back across Westminster Bridge and head right, along the bank of the River Thames towards Charing Cross. Here, you’ll walk amongst falling leaves and dappled light all against a backdrop of grand consulate buildings and 18th century architecture. A true English affair! Weave through Charing Cross Station and capture the last of winter’s light and reminisce – yes, you have just visited the London Trifecta.