London at Christmas – My Wonderful Experience by Yanan Chen

By Yanan Chen, University of Limerick international student

The Christmas holidays were going to be very special for me this year as I had been planning them for such a long time. I decided to celebrate both Christmas and New Year in Britain with my best friends whom I have known for more than 10 years. I was so excited to visit London and the city didn’t let me down, it’s an amazing place. I took lots of fantastic photos while I was there but we will get into that later. Just before I headed to the UK, I had a great Christmas dinner with my friends from the UL Chess Club. The food was so good and there was a great atmosphere celebrating the Christmas holiday with my friends 🙂 Ireland is located in Europe, and so it is very easy to travel anywhere when you are studying in Ireland. Limerick is just 20 minutes from Shannon International airport.

Christmas Dinner with my Chess Club Buddies

However, my trip did not get off to the best of starts. In London, my flight from London to Glasgow was cancelled because of bad weather and I had to wait in Gatwick Airport for further information for almost 9 hours! There were many stranded travellers because of the cancellation. It was awful and just happened on Christmas Eve when people were flying home to be reunited with their families for the Christmas holidays. So, I spent the first two days of my trip in the hotel alone as there wasn’t any transportation on Christmas Day. It was so terrible 😦

Stranded Passengers at Gatwick Airport
Stranded Passengers at Gatwick Airport

However, the time that I spent in London with my friends was totally amazing. Big Ben was one of the first sites we visited which was also one of the first places that I learned about in my English textbook when I was in middle school!

Big Ben - It's amazing, isn't it?!
Big Ben – It’s amazing, isn’t it?!

And The London Eye of course!

I feel that The London Eye looks much better at night. It is gorgeous all lit up at night!!
I feel that The London Eye looks much better at night. It is gorgeous all lit up at night!!

A pic of me enjoying the peaceful River Thames 🙂

yanan

The next day, I went to China Town 🙂 I felt so happy when I recognized every single meal on the menu, it felt like I was back home.

China Town
China Town

As a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I felt it was necessary to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum on 221B Baker Street.  I felt like I was a detective just like Sherlock Holmes himself, the museum was just so good.

Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sherlock Holmes Museum

The Britain Museum is one of the top sightseeing spots that I had to visit as well, although personally I am not gifted when it comes to art.

The British Museum
The British Museum

At night, we went to the M&M’s World Museum! M&M’s are my favorite sweets, yum yum 🙂

M&M's World Museum
M&M’s World Museum

I have been eating M&M’s since I was a child so I was so excited to visit the M&M’s World museum. It was a dream come true, so many m&m’s (drool) 🙂

Candy, Candy everywhere!
Candy, Candy everywhere!

The billions of colourful M&M’s are everywhere. I was thinking that I would love to take them all back home with me 🙂

I will never go hungry again :)
I will never go hungry again 🙂

The streets of London were all decorated for Christmas and I was super lucky that I was able to share the wonderful experience with my lovely friends – three very pretty girls, lucky old me 🙂

My lovely friends
My lovely friends

I also visited the stately Buckingham Palace where the Queen lives and works. I arrived there a little bit late so I missed the Changing of the Guard. What a pity!

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Tower Bridge was amazing at night!! I also went inside 🙂

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

I also visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It is a beautiful reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre which was built in 1599 but destroyed by fire in 1613.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Finally, it was New Year’s Eve and we were standing right under Big Ben for the countdown to the New Year. The fireworks were fantastic even though we were watching them from a distance 🙂

New Year's Eve
New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be celebrated with the people you love and yes, I did celebrate my New Year with all my lovely friends that I love dearly. It was the best New Year’s ever!!!

London is a great place to visit and there are still lots of sightseeing spots left for me to explore in the future. I will definitely go back again for another visit!

I had a wonderful, amazing, unforgettable, fantastic and fabulous Christmas! I hope you guys did as well! 🙂

Happy New Year! Here's to 2014!
Happy New Year! Here’s to 2014!

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