A Day in London

Every year I try to spend at least one day in London as a tourist to see what’s what with our nation’s capital.

So for this Easter weekend, I stayed at the Premier Inn York Way that’s just opposite King’s Cross station.  It’s conveniently located to everything – there’s a Tesco Metro just around the corner if you’re looking for snacks and drinks, but the Premier Inn itself has its own steak restaurant and Costa Coffee if you’re feeling peckish.  I decided to buy a Meal Deal for the two nights I was staying – this entitles you to a 2-course dinner and breakfast.  Breakfast is an all-you-can-eat buffet-style service and offers free Costa Coffee alongside the usual fare.  The restaurant offers a great choice of meals – I enjoyed the 8oz Sirloin for the first night and a very generous portion of fish and chips for the second.

Sock choice is important if you’re visiting London.

I booked a Big Bus tour for the Saturday and picked up the green route bus from directly outside of King’s Cross station which took me to Waterloo where I changed to the red route.

This was an opportunity to test out my new camera kit before I take it on my P&O cruise coming up later this year.  I have got to say that I absolutely bloody love my Sony RX100 M5 compact camera.  I’ve had the M3 and M4 (albeit briefly) and found them to be worthy cameras – but the M5 knocks my socks off with just how easy it is to use.  The autofocus and shutter speed on this thing is so fast and accurate (even in full auto mode) that practically all photos have come out super sharp.  When you’re on a bus, you’re a limited amount of time to frame and take a picture – and when you’re moving, it’s even more difficult!  But the Sony RX100 M5 is just a beautiful, beautiful piece of kit.

King’s Cross Station – where my adventures started

The camcorder, the Sony FDR-AX53, is also a wonderful bit of kit.  I haven’t had a chance to get to edit together the footage, but it’s super sharp and the sound (especially using the external hot-shoe microphone with dead cat) is spot on.

The London Eye, taken while the bus was travelling at a fair pace along the Embankment

The bus tour itself was hugely informative.  The blue route has earphone-based audio commentary (as it’s intended for multi-lingual tours), but the red route has a live English guide.  Both routes weren’t packed, and I even got to sit up front at one point which allowed me to take some great photos (albeit slightly reflective).

I was giving serious contemplation to taking a Duck Tours trip, but decided to leave this until another time

London itself was doing very well.  Despite that absolutely horrible atrocity that happened at Westminister recently, people were out in full force.

Westminister Bridge
Richard the Lionheart at Westminister. This shot really surprised me, since the bus was moving at speed and I just literally pointed it generally in the statue’s direction & hit the shutter button. It came out much better than I could have ever hoped.

I also used my “backup” phone, a OnePlus 3T, that I bought that I’m intending to use with the Samsung Galaxy S8+.  I wanted to have a spare phone in case I smash, lose or – heaven forbid – have the S8+ stolen.

The 3T is a lovely Android phone.  It’s much, much cheaper than most other flagship phones – but it has a decent spec that doesn’t compromise on anything.  My only complaint with it is that updating the thing is a pain in the rear end, and the battery life isn’t super great.  But it charges exceptionally fast using the proprietary Dash charger.  That said, the camera is pretty decent, and it’s now running the latest version of Android.

The following photos were taken on the OnePlus 3T as were passing Knightsbridge and other posher parts of the London.  As with all photos on this blog, click to enlarge – but please be aware that for optimisation purposes (to make things load faster), all photos have been lossy compressed on upload to the blog.  They should all look pretty decent, though,  I’m looking to make them all available in original formats at some point soon.

Heading back to Westminister and the Sony RX100 M5:

Not the Nine O’Clock News.
A recently wedded couple taking a horse drawn carriage just by the Queen’s stables.
This made me chuckle a lot more than it should have.
National Gallery, St. Martins-in-the-Field, Trafalgar Square & the Canadian High Commission in a single photo
Directly opposite Downing Street

It was a good day, and I look forward to spending more time in London next year – perhaps more than a day.  When I was booking back in January I completely neglected to notice it was Easter weekend.  That said, everything was open and it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be.