Culture Editor Ash Sutton recaps her winter trip to London, enjoying playing tourist in her own country

first year Digital Media and Communications student, culture editor and general geek

Imagine it’s April 2023. I am sitting at work, bored out of my mind, thinking about the fact I am turning twenty in December. Naturally, what do you do? You impulsively book a trip away. It had always been a dream of mine to go to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, so I booked a Premier Inn on the outskirts of London and forced my boyfriend to go halves on entry, thinking of anything I could cram into a long weekend.

Day 1

Once we arrived at Euston, we made the journey to the hotel to drop off our luggage and then swiftly headed to The Natural History Museum. It had been well over ten years since I had last been, and the only memories I had of it were the earthquake simulator – which at the time scared me so much I cried – and the massive T-Rex that roared and moved – which also scared me until I cried.

We then skipped over to the Science Museum, which I found much more impressive

Going back as a fully-fledged adult, I did in fact realise that the T-Rex was not that big at all, and that the earthquake simulator was nothing. Besides this and the impressive animal models throughout the museum, the museum is not quite as astounding as I remember it. I love history, but ultimately, the only history you were really learning was about rocks.

We then skipped over to the Science Museum, which I found much more impressive with its collection of old technology, spaceship models and plethora of interactive activities. Unfortunately, we were only there for half an hour before we got scurried out at closing time.  

We went back to the hotel to check in not long before we headed out again for food. We dined at Soho’s Big Easy Smokehouse and Crabshack which consisted of decent food and awful service. 

Day 2

The second day started in Tower Hill’s Starbucks. I had turned twenty. We spent the morning in the Tower of London, which was three hours of pure fascination. We went from learning about beheadings, to weaponry, to the scandal of Richard III. I will admit, I went in heavy with the museums on the first couple of days and by the end of the tour I could barely make out the words on the plaques. The Crown Jewels display was impressive though: it was much bigger than I expected and everything within it was beautiful. This experience was definitely worth the £30 tickets and the queue. 

We spent the morning in the Tower of London, which was three hours of pure fascination


That evening we visited The Cambridge Theatre to watch Matilda: The Musical. This was by far the highlight of the entire weekend. The Roald Dahl adaptation had been at the top of my theatre must-sees for over a year and did not by any means disappoint. The cast was excellent, and the stage visuals were another level. I think I would watch it over and over again if I could.

Day 3

Sunday started slowly. The plan was to start at TikTok’s raved Italian Bear Chocolate café, however a drizzly walk and a lack of communication on our part left us at the wrong branch and late for our reservation. We would have risked it had we not watched another woman being rudely lectured by staff about lateness and the booking policy, so we called that one a loss and tried to look for an alternative instead. We ended up in Piccadilly’s Hard Rock Café. I know, technically another museum, but the experience was unmatched. The food and drinks were to die for, and the musical legend memorabilia was even better. There was something so adrenaline-inducing about running around the restaurant from the actual Abbey Road sign to Matty Healy’s guitar. 

Our next stop was Winter Wonderland, the showstopper of the weekend. I loved it, every second of it. The Magical Ice Kingdom was another level of impressive, the view from the wheel was beautiful, and Cirque Berserk was amazing. Though can you really be disappointed by an acrobat spinning in the air from a wire attached to her bun? 

I think there is something so satisfying about playing tourist in your own country

Day 4

Our final day. We headed into Leicester Square and visited the M&M store and the LEGO store. By then it was lunch time, we were exhausted, and ready to go home. After a quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts, which is indisputably better than Tim Horton’s, we made our way back to Euston station where we waited, legs aching and eyes drooping, for two hours until we could finally get a train back to Wolverhampton.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was the best way I could have welcomed in my twenties. It was so nice to explore somewhere I do not have a chance to visit often. I think there is something so satisfying about playing tourist in your own country. 

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