Rocking solo in London Town 

Ok so last weekend saw my solo visit to London to view The Killers in Hyde Park. I’m a massive fan and as they hadn’t toured in four years I booked my ticket once presale started. I booked my BA flight into Heathrow after much deliberation. I thought I would get it cheaper but in the end prices for flights to Standsted, Gatwick and Luton weren’t enticing me enough once you factor in having to take a train then the tube. 

Landed on a beautiful day to 28 degree heat. Got my tube alright and luckily enough the picadilly line went straight to the station I needed. I booked a hostel in Kensington beside the park. The only thing was the gig ended up being the exact opposite side to where I was staying. 

My flight was slightly delayed and the tube takes approx 60 minutes to get to Kensington. I then had to walk fast and follow googles directions to my hostel as quickly as I could due to a booking for a tour that was to begin quite soon. 

Kensington just screams money. Everywhere I looked Landrovers decorated the streets, white pillared residences gleamed and children with bonnets happily walked with their parents. I was shocked that a hostel would be in this area but it was. It was a good one too!

Astor Hyde Park was a great choice. Not only was it close to the park, the staff were friendly, the dorm was bright and airy and security was important. I checked in ok but as my room wasn’t ready I locked my bag pack away in a luggage room before racing to catch my tube to Covent Garden. 

I looked online at free walking tours and settled on Sandemans as it got good reviews. I later discovered a friend used them in Paris and was quite pleased with them. I made my 1pm booking with a minute to spare. Though in the end we ended up waiting a few minutes before we began. The large group was split into two and introduced to our guide. His name was Angus and he is Australian. He had studied Shakespearean theatre and this stood well to him as our guide. There was never an issue with hearing him and he had an entertaining way of telling us the history of the places we stopped. As I said it was a beautiful hot day so the walk at times was sweltering, at any chance we could we took shade. It was a royal tour so we visited St James Palace, Prince Charles residence, Buckingham Palace and Westminster. The walk took about 2/2.5 hours and my feet were very sore at the end. However I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it is free a tip is welcome. After the tour I realised I hadn’t eaten for about 8 hours so I grabbed food and cider in a pub Angus took us to. 


Afterward I made my way to Oxford Street as I had to pick up a gift for a nephew. On my other occasions of visiting London I purely went to shop so I had been on that street a lot. However I never noticed its proximity to Hyde Park before. Don’t get me wrong it’s at the very bottom of the street, but still only ten minutes walk. I decided to walk there as it was so nice out and get my bearings for the gig the next night. On my way I passed Selfridges which had a different meaning to me after watching the tv show! 

The park was full of bars and activities thanks to BST who were hosting the festivities over the couple of weeks. Only for my feet were blistered from walking and I was exhausted I would have spent more time there on Friday evening. Instead I decided to walk back to the hostel to get an idea of the walk for the next night. 


Back at the hostel I made friends with girls in my room and went to a nearby pub for a drink. The hostel was hosting a charity night in aid of Grenfell tower with live music which I thought was a nice touch. Was also a good way for people to mix.

The next morning after breakfast I was indecisive about what I wanted to do. I ended up walking to Kensington Palace and queuing to get in. A tip though would be to book ahead and skip the queue as even though I was very early there was still a thirty minute wait. I spent about ninety minutes wandering about the exhibitions. I enjoyed the Diana one the most. Some of the talks gave a good insight into the history of the palace. I left the palace and looked around the gardens which were beautiful. 


I then decided to spend the afternoon doing nothing! The weather was gorgeous and I was tired, so I lay on the grass reading. There’s so much going on in the park though, I recommend a visit. 


After grabbing food and beverages in the local newsagents I went back to my hostel to clean up for the concert and meet one of the girls. We walked with the crowds to the concert. The park was set up well for an outdoor gig. The bars were a long wait as usual. I am not a fan of being too close to the stage as I always get stuck behind tall people! We got a good spot near the merchandise at the back. The Killers as always put on a great show. My only complaint is that it went by too quickly! 


The next day I checked out of the hostel and started walking with my bag pack. I decided to walk towards Harrods as I had never before seen the famous store. As it was a Sunday morning it wasn’t open but I felt like it was a box ticked. I still had time before making my way to the airport so I decided to fit in St Paul’s Cathedral. I didn’t mind the fact that I wouldn’t have time to go inside and explore. The main thing I wanted to see was the steps, as these were the storyline for the homeless lady in Mary Poppins selling pigeon food for “tuppence a bag”. After walking the circumference and marvelling at the detail in the architecture I noticed a fancy bridge down the street. A geeky part of me really enjoys architecture and engineering so I ventured towards it. I’m glad I did as the bridge went over the Thames river towards the Tate museums. From there I got to see Tower Bridge in the distance. Another box ticked off my tourist list. 

On the bridge I took a moment to enjoy the moment and to be proud of myself for another solo trip that I greatly enjoyed! I made my way back to the tube and to reality unfortunately. Though I always look forward to getting home to Izzie!

My thoughts on solo travel now I’ve done it

Ok so I was nervous last year about the thoughts of going to Peru alone but when that changed and my friend accompanied me I felt slightly bummed. I realised I wanted to test myself to see if I could actually do it. I booked Thailand soon after I came back and without the big ‘will I won’t I’ drama I had put myself through previously. 

The travelling on airplanes was fine as I watch movies anyway so the first time it got strange was when I finally arrived in Phuket and had to decide on transportation to Patong. I quickly made the choice once I got outside to take the nearest taxi on offer no matter the price. 

Hostels are the best place to meet people travelling solo however I struggled my first two days. I work in sales so I am not shy however it took until the 3rd day for me to have conversations with people. Once I got going I was grand. I ended up having a companion for 6 days. 

I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how long you are travelling for, (2 weeks, 3,4,5,6….or longer) everyone who travels gets it and welcomes you. They appreciate the fact that you are trying to see outside the box. I did get asked a few times by a group of English guys on a typical lads holiday why I was on my own. I think they pitied me. I told them my friends have different priorities, I wanted to see Thailand so why not? For every one person who asks that question there are 5 people doing the same as me. I don’t think they realised it until they met others like me. In fairness I am 34 and it was only last year that I realised I could do it. 

Does it get lonely? Yes of course. It may only be two weeks but having multiple days of just your own company can get tiresome, and I like my own company! Then there’s the days where you would love to share your experience with someone you love and who loves you. I’ve had fleeting moments like that and I’ve had some a little longer than fleeting. However I remind myself I am in paradise, most people don’t see places I am getting to and that being in a relationship can be lonely too at times. 

My phone has become my ally. I lost my kindle to an infinity pool and a steep step I wasn’t expecting! So this phone has become my communication to home and people I met along the way. It’s my lifeline for travelling with my hostels/hotel/flight bookings on it. I also have now come to rely on it for my kindle reading (better than nothing). Also I forgot how happy music makes me and how I feel less alone with it. With all these uses the battery goes pretty quickly so my advice is to get a really good battery bank. I was lucky my friend gave me one of hers as she moved onto a different island. 

Eating alone is no issue. Again I had my phone with me so I was fine. Last night I looked around the restaurant on the beach with a fabulous sunset, filled with couples and noticed most people are on their phones anyway. Whether taking photos or talking or texting. One couple didn’t speak as she was on a call and he was on his kindle. So never feel self conscious, you aren’t the only one. 

If you aren’t sure I would try a solo weekend trip to test it out and stay in a hostel. As I got to go to Peru with a companion I was able to see how many people go solo without doing it myself. The ages range from 21-70, though in Thailand I mostly met 24 year olds so keep that in mind for there. Also do your research. Don’t expect luxury going to a hostel, whilst I have visited nice ones, most are basic. If they say party hostel Do not expect sleep as you won’t really get any, however you are guaranteed to meet people. It’s something I struggled with as I badly wanted to mix with people but sleep aswell. I chose a nearby hotel in Phi Phi as none of the hostels looked great, plus I already had someone to meet with. 

My main bit of advise is No regrets. You hear it all the time but sometimes we choose to go a different way due to fear. I looked at this trip as a way to calm my mind. I feel it’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done. You will always wonder what if?? I now have done it and whether or not I do it again I have answered myself and know I can do it. That is an achievement I have done for myself. A box ticked. A lot of people wouldn’t be so brave and they will tell you that themselves, so if it’s in your head just do it xxx