A Royal Trip Around London

Hampton Court Palace

I want to go to London for four main reasons:

  • I want to hear the British accent (man, there’s nothing like being surrounded by it hahahaha!)
  • I’m hopeful I will find Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and ¾ (and be Hermione … “wingardium leviosa!”)
  • I want to see the café where Tolkien and CS Lewis hung out
  • I am so curious about the royal family (Prince Harry, where are you?)

And so I want to begin my London tour with a “royal” trip, checking out iconic places where Britain’s identity was formed throughout the years. Here’s a list of all the places you need to check out for you to understand and appreciate its kings, queens, and the culture formed around them.

  • Buckingham Palace. The White House of Britain, the residence of the royals in London. You can tour the whole place for over a thousand pesos, but you might get disappointed at how lackluster it looks. But if you’re a fan of prince, princesses and their grand life, maybe you will still get the worth of your money.
  • Westminster Abbey. It isn’t really a cathedral, but perhaps its significance in the country is enough for it to have that impression of holiness and utmost respect. This is where the remains of Britain’s past kings and queens lie, such as that of Henry VII and Elizabeth I. It is also the place where royalties are crowned. If you’re not convinced of its worth, hear this: it is nearly a thousand years old. That should make you enter the Westminster Abbey.
  • Tower of London. A huge historical site where you can take different tours – an unguided tour that comes with booklets, an audio tour, or a 45-minute guided tour care of the Yeoman Warders. If it were me taking the tour, I’ll take the guided one. The Tower of London is full of curiosities you would love to learn more about, such as Henry VII’s armor, and the actual site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Just make sure you watch the movie “The Other Boleyn” before you head to the Tower, so you can appreciate the story and the site more.
  • Kensington Palace. Princess Diana’s last residence before she died in a tragic car accident, the Kensington Palace offers a curious look inside this royal home. Outside, you can dip your feet into the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, or you can take your lunch at the nearby Lido Café.
  • Hampton Court Palace. Yes, London has many palaces. In fairy tales, there always seems to be just one. But lo in behold, it is grander to be a prince or a queen in real life. The Hampton Court Palace is best known for Henry VIII, one of the most interesting monarchs in the history of Britain. If you’re a student of architecture, or if you’re simply a curious mind, you will easily appreciate the marriage of Tudor and Baroque architecture meant to match that of the Versailles Palace in France. Don’t know how the Versailles Palace looks like? Then book your Philippine Airlines flight to France too!

Five Best Places for Solo Travelling

If you want to go on a soul search alone, you need to choose your destination well. Don’t go some place where people gather to celebrate with friends, such as the Oktoberfest in Germany during the last weeks of September leading up to the first days of October.

Pick a place where you can find yourself, where there’s less noise, friendly people, and little to no crime rate. Seriously, travelling alone can be scary if you don’t choose the destination well.

So we listed our favorite destinations for the solo wanderlust you. Here goes, and good luck!

New Zealand

Picturesque New Zealand

Aside from a generous supply of milk (har har), New Zealand also has the best views worthy of your shutter click and your undivided attention. Plus the locals are uber friendly – a big deal for anyone who will travel alone. The transportation system is very tourist-friendly, and the accommodations are superb. Plus you might have relatives who currently reside there! There are a lot of Filipinos in the country; one of my friends just flew to NZ last week!

Costa Rica

Frolicking the beach in Costa Rica

Unlike New Zealand, Costa Rica is more dynamic and noisy. Don’t get me wrong though, Costa Rica is very tourist-friendly. You won’t run out of things to do. Head to the beach for a morning stroll, go zip-lining, hike a trail, or scuba dive! Do them all! The best thing about Costa Rica is that it isn’t a honeymoon destination, which means you won’t awkwardly run into couple after couple while you try your best to concentrate on your solo travel to get over the love of your life who left you for somebody else. So the drama, but a broken heart is one of the most legit reasons to go on a solo travel.

Ireland

The way to the pub 😉

Ireland is the kind of place that will demand your attention. Traveling solo to this beautiful country will be better than being with you family and friends. Why? There’s a lot of local culture to learn about! Everywhere you go locals will willingly talk with you and tell you more about the best pub in town or the perfect inn to spend the night in.

Australia

Australians are so used to travelers, so being there won’t make you look like a sore thumb sticking out for attention. It is safe in the country, and because it is modern, you won’t have a hard time using pubic transportation. There’s a lot you can do – dive in the Great Barrier Reef, take a tour in the Outback, visit locals’ favorite restaurants. It is best to stay in a hostel, where rooms are shared, so you can meet other travelers and exchange notes.

The UK

Seeing the queens and kings of the past

The region has everything you want and more. Perfect for artists and passion seekers, the UK has an abundant supply of inspiration, from museums to structures to historical sites that will help you appreciate art more. You want some shopping? There are a lot of stores to check out! You want some partying? You won’t run out of bars to choose from. You can experience the big city life in London and then easily transfer to the small area of Aberdeen, for some peace and downtown vibe. I’m just not sure if you can book a promo fare to the UK. But still, being able to experience its beauty and culture should be worth all the money that you burn.