Travel Paper II

Travel Project: London

When I was fourteen years old, I was given an opportunity to venture to London on an educational trip for seven days and it was there that I discovered my love of British culture and the greater impact that travel has on my life, personally. Four years later, I was able to study abroad in Germany and return to England during my Christmas vacation and stay with a family friend that was studying in Watford. Although both of these trips were merely a week long, each yielded a greater yearning to experience England in different ways. Seeing that my first trip included an array of tours and educational stops and the second trip was comprised of low key outings and adventures in a small town outside of the City, I would like my third trip to England to include a wider variety of opportunities that allow me to observe and interact with the youth culture of the Square Mile and appreciate the artistry that is present within this fashion capital.

For this trip, I will be flying out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on Saturday, June 20th, 2015, on United Airlines flight UA901. Using the Google Flights app, I was able to find round trip tickets for $1,491. I will be departing SFO at 12:55PM (PST) and will be arriving at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 7:10AM (GMT+1) on Sunday, June 21st. After landing, I will take the Tube from LHR to Gloucester Road for £6.00 ($8.80), which runs every 5 minutes, and will stay on this train for 50 minutes. From here, I will walk about 10 minutes to the Astor Hyde Park Hostel and check into the room that I previously booked for three nights at a total of £72.00 ($105.60). Knowing that I will be exhausted from traveling, I am allotting a significant amount of time to lounging and recovering. After getting situated and resting, I will walk 10 minutes to the Sandwich Shop, where you can get a meal and a coffee for under £10 ($14.67). From here, I plan on walking to the Serpentine Gallery, which is located in Kensington Gardens. The gallery is free to the public and is open until 6:00PM. Depending on how tired I feel, I will either wander around Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park for a bit, read, or walk to The Queen’s Arms pub for dinner and a drink. The pub is a 4-minute walk from my hostel and is a popular spot for college students, due to atmospherics and the fact that you can get food and drinks between £11-25 ($16.14-36.66). When I am finished, I plan on heading back to the hostel and calling it a night.

On Monday, June 22nd, I will eat breakfast at the hostel, which is complimentary. I will then take the Tube from Gloucester Road to Aldgate East for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 5 minutes, and will stay on this train for 42 minutes. From here, I will walk 7 minutes to the Old Spitalfields Market for the Alternative London Walking Tour, which showcases East London's incredible creativity and street art whilst giving insights into important historical and cultural events that have made the area what it is today. The walking tour starts at 12:00PM and is donation based, meaning that you pay what you choose. The tour normally lasts about 2 hours, and after it is finished, I will walk to The Old Truman Brewery and the Vintage Markets for a late lunch, a drink, and shopping. I plan on spending most of my day in this area and then take the Tube from Aldgate East to Sloane Square for £4.80 ($7.04), which takes 22 minutes and runs every 5 minutes. Depending on what time I arrive, I can either wander around, sit and read, or walk straight to the Royal Court Theater for the 7:45PM showing of Violence and Son by Gary Owen, winner of the Meyer Whitworth, George Devine, and Pearson best play awards. The play will be taking place in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, and I was able to purchase a ticket for £10 ($14.67). From here, I will either get something to eat or take the Tube back to the hostel from Sloane Square to Gloucester Road for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 5 minutes.

On Tuesday, June 23rd, I will eat breakfast at the hostel and take the Tube from Gloucester Road to Monument for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 5 minutes, and will stay on this train for 37 minutes. From here, I will walk London Bridge and spend time in Borough Market. For lunch, I will go to Elliot’s Café, which is located down the street, and spend about £26.00 ($38.12). When I am finished eating, I will walk 8 minutes to the Globe Theater for a 2:00PM showing of As You Like It. I was able to purchase tickets ahead of time for £10 ($14.67). After the show, I want to allow myself the opportunity to explore and engage in a bit of spontaneity, but at some point, I will find a pub near the theater or closer to my hostel. I will use the Yelp app to find a location, and regardless of where I eat, I will need to take the Tube from Mansion House to Gloucester Road at some point for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 2 minutes and takes about 17 minutes. I will then walk back to my hostel and get some sleep.

On Wednesday, June 24th, I will eat breakfast at the hostel and check out of my room. From there, I will take the Tube from Gloucester Road to Leicester Square for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 3 minutes and takes about 10 minutes. I will then walk to Timberyard café and grab a cup of coffee and a pastry. Although the prices are not listed online, they have a 4.5 star review on Yelp and are categorized as “moderate” on the pricing scale. After enjoying my beverage and snack, I will sit in Trafalgar Square for a while reading, people watching, and taking in the scene around me. This is one of the locations that truly spoke to me when I first visited England, and for that reason I would like to dedicate some time there. After this, I will walk about 13 minutes to the Royal Academy of Arts to attend their Summer Exhibition. The exhibit showcases work by both emerging and established artists in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture, and film and costs £12.00 ($17.61). From here, I will walk 10 minutes and eat lunch at Fernandez & Wells, where you can generally get a meal for under £10 ($14.67). After I have rested and refreshed, I will walk to the Fashion Space Gallery near Oxford Circus and attend the Warpaint: Alexander McQueen exhibit that is free of charge and open all day to the general public. When I am finished at the University of the Arts, I will take the Tube from Oxford Circus to Camden Town for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 3 minutes and takes about 20 minutes. From here, I will walk to Camden Lock Market, wander around, and purchase a snack and/or coffee somewhere in the area. Once I am ready to leave London, I will either take the Tube from Camden Town to Euston for £4.80 ($7.04), which runs every 3 minutes and takes about 6 minutes, or I will walk, which would take about 20 minutes. From Euston Station I will take the Overground to Watford Junction, which costs £10 ($14.67) and takes 15 minutes. Once I arrive in Watford, my friend Jody will pick me up at the station and we will either get something to eat or drive back to her flat, where I will be staying for free.

On Thursday, June 25th, we will eat breakfast at Jody’s flat and be picked up by her cousin and friends around 9:00AM. We will then drive roughly 2.5 hours to the Glastonbury Music Festival. We will divide the cost of gas, groceries, and parking pass(es) between the group, where each parking pass costs £25 ($37.36) and covers the entire weekend. Upon arrival, we will pitch our tents and set up our campsite. Camping access within the Glastonbury Fields is included in general admission, which is priced at £225 ($336.26). Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, which includes dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts, as well as contemporary music.

Located in the 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon, the festival site is broken up into distinct socio-geographic regions. Although the lineup has not yet been announced, we will take each day as it comes, and I will make sure to interact with as many people as I can and experience all of the different aspects that it has to offer. After all, it is considered the Big Ben of Festivals, and the stages and attractions would not be there if all of them weren’t worth taking in. The more commercial aspects of the festival include the Pyramid, Other, and Silver Hayes, which “feel as if the West End of London a Saturday night has been removed to a field and thoroughly beautified.” To accommodate the more laid-back hours, areas such as the West Holts and Acoustic zones are in easy walking distance, as well as the Kidz Field, the Theatre, and Circus fields, or for the more alternative, less noisy aspects of festival life, the Field of Avalon, the Tipi Field, and the Green Fields are additional options.

We will be attending the Glastonbury Festival from Thursday, June 25th, to Sunday, June 28th, although we will be staying in our campsite Sunday evening since the spots do not expire until Monday afternoon. After packing up our belongings on Monday, June 29th, I will say my goodbyes and take a National Express Coach from Glastonbury Music Festival to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) for £26.60 ($39.75). The coach will leave the festival at 8:00AM and will arrive at LHR at 12:00PM, just in time for me to check into my flight, eat lunch, and purchase a coffee. I will be departing on United Airlines flight UA931 at 2:10PM and will arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 5:05PM (PST), bringing my London excursion to a close.

Links Consulted

Alternative London Walking Tour
Astor Hyde Park Hostel
Borough Market
Elliot’s Café
Fernandez & Wells
Glastonbury Festival
Globe Theater
London Underground Tickets
Nation Express Coach Tickets
Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Court Theater
The Old Truman Brewery
The Queen’s Arms
The Sandwich Shop
The Serpentine Galleries
United Airlines Flights
Warpaint: Alexander McQueen (University of the Arts)