Friday, 24 October 2014

London, Part 2

Oh dear, it's taken me a while to get the second half of this post up!  Its because I've been unwell, but also because I found it difficult to write.  There are some negative comments in here, but I wanted to be honest!  On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed London, but there were some things that were not very M.E. friendly, and I wanted to be real about that.

Find part 1 here for more about what I got up to when I went to London!  

This part is going to be about the attractions that we went to such as shops, museums and galleries.

One of the first things on or list was to visit the Tower of London.  I wasn't in a wheelchair so could technically go any where I wanted.  However there were lots of steps and uneven paths and very few places to sit down.  I'm glad to say I've been, but I wouldn't go again due to the lack of accesability.  I'm sure they have done there best to make things as easy as possible, there is a limit to what they can do without ruining the integrity of the building!  It was very busy and a lot of the buildings were hot and noisy.  Perhaps it is somewhere to visit when it is not prime holiday season!  

My grandpa had lent us his fold away stool which was really useful for queues, I'm ok walking on my feet but am terrible at standing around.  It came in really handy for queuing at places like the Tower of London.  Even for bus stops and at the tube station!

The London eye was obviously a must, we bought fast track ticket, which saved a lot of queuing time and did the 4D experience before hand which was free and I would recommend.  It really set the scene and was a nice little extra, I am surprised at how much it stayed with me afterwards.  It was a good thing to do at the end of the holiday because we were able to recognise the different buildings that we had been too.  I would love to do it at night in the future!  I took the fold away stool with me, and was glad of it!  There weren't enough seats for everyone, and I was able to move the stool around the pod to get different views.  It was great to be able to sit right up close next to the glass!

We went to a few of the old traditional shops like Harrods, Liberties, Selfridges and Hamleys.  I would love to go back to Harrods mad me feel fancy!  There is so much to see there that you could stay for hours and still not be done!  If I get the chance to go again, I would love to spend more time in the food hall and visit the haberdashery.

I was impressed with the museums and art galleries, most of which had wheelchairs to borrow and good accessibility.  It would have been very difficult to take a wheelchair on the bus and tube, so this was a great option.  I did have a spot of trouble in the Science Museum (see below) but for a different person on a different day it could have been fine!   It so great that all of these things are free, for a city that is famous for being expensive we didn't spend very much!

As I study biochemistry I had a special interest in the Science Museum.  The highlight for me was seeing the reconstruction of the first DNA model.  We had studied how this was made in my first year!  Unfortunately we didn't stay long though as the accessibility really wasn't good!  They persuaded me to use one of there extra special wheelchairs, as opposed to the normal ones that they had.  Quite frankly it ruined the trip!  I'm sure those wheelchairs are really good for some people, but we really didn't get on with mine!  There was no suspension and it was really difficult for whoever was pushing me to steer.  For a several thousand pound chair this isn't acceptable!  I think they were designed for people who are self-propelling.  ...but no one had told us that!  The lift system was also a problem, not all of the floors can be reached by all lifts.  Dad ad I spent a very long time trying to get to one floor in particular, in the end we had to go down to the ground floor and almost the entire length of the building just to use another lift so we could get to the floor we wanted.  There were no staff on hand to help, and the signs were badly labeled.  It was also very hot and noisy on the upper floors.  We ended up leaving to go to the V&A instead!

The V&A was my favourite museum!  Perhaps because we hadn't planned to go, so it benefited from having the element of surprise.  I was quite tired by this point, so only properly looked at the fashion section.  We skimmed through some of the other sections too and had a look of the architecture of the building which was amazing.  The best bit by far was discovering the courtyard (that I now know to be the John Madejski Garden).  It has a large shallow pool surrounded by grass followed by pavement.  On the day that we were there it was really hot and there were children running around in there swimming things and playing in the pool.  I really enjoyed sitting around the edge with my Mum eating snacks.  There was a little kiosk and lots of tables and chairs, we even found a spot of shade.  The courtyard had a lovely atmosphere, and it felt like we had found a mini oasis in the middle of London!  

We did so many other things in London, I have written about the bits that stood out for both the right and wrong reasons.  I was surprised at how easy it was to manage form an energy point of view, and how much there was to do for free!  All of the credit goes to my Dad, he planed everything and did a really good job!  I never would have expected to have such an enjoyable time in a big city whilst so unwell.  It would be impossible to see everything in four days, but I now feel that I have done London!  

I hope you all had lovely summers too, now on to autumn! 


  1. Goodness me what an action packed few days you had.
    I'm disappointed to hear the accessibility wasn't great at the science museum- what a shame about the wheelchair! I'd expect better from such a major tourist attraction.
    I think this post is great because it will be really useful to anyone in a similar situation planning a similar trip. It's this sort of information that can make all the difference when planning an energy efficient day. Taking the fold-up stool is a fantastic idea too- I will definitely remember that for when I'm a little steadier on my feet and not needing to use the wheelchair.

    1. I was hoping it might be helpful to someone! I don't like to be too negative, but it would seem wrong to only write about the good things that happened, I want to be real about these things! I'm so glad your back to blogging again! It's nice to have you around! :) xxx


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