Cherry Court Hotel, Harrods, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Swiss Airlines (London)

This is the first post of the London & Paris travelogue. I will be covering
- Cherry Court Hotel (Where I stayed for 3 nights)
- Harrods (Huge department store)
- Hyde Park
- Oxford Street (London's version of Singapore's Orchard Road)
- Swiss Airlines 

Introduction: 
My family and I decided to go to London in June 2013 after managing to snag a deal online. We managed to secure an open jaw ticket to London and return from Paris at S$855.90/per pax. Since we are already have cheap tickets. We decided to go budget for this trip. Travelling as a family can be cheap with reasonable amount of comfort!

Swiss Airlines:
Firstly, flying SWISS is far from budget. Hospitality is a defining feature of every flight. With non stop drinks and hot towels, you are sure to be kept well fed. We took an A340-300 (Swiss' flagship aircraft) which departs daily from Singapore at 10:45pm. Audio Visual on Demand is available on this aircrafrt with extensive selection of audio programming in multiple languages. For airline geeks, the IFE are using MAS3000i by Matsushita. Economy seats have 17.3" of width and 32"seat pitch (similar to many airlines). The seats probably work well for Asians like us!
Interior from the tail of the plane
I wasn't sure when the service for food was going to end! For dinner, I opt for the beef stew as stew is always the best option on a flight menu. If you are wondering why stews are the best option, meals on board are reheated using ovens found the galley. Since stews are generally thick (molecules are closer to one another), heat is transferred more readily (greater proximity allows heat to be more readily transferred from one molecule to another via conduction). Always choose the thicker options and avoid rice unless it is served early into the flight. Most airlines only heat up the main dish while the rest of the meal is kept in meal carts. Breakfast was average as it has to endure such a long journey! Chocolates are always served at the end of Swiss Airline flights as a gesture of thanks.
Dinner! The mash potatoes were powdery but the stew was savoury.
Breakfast! The hashbrown is soggy but you can't complain as it is a long flight! Still, great flavours.
Their trademark milk chocolates.
Fluffy clouds.

You will have to transit at Zurich airport if you are travelling somewhere other than Zurich. It is definitely exciting as you will not be able to take planes like the Swiss Avro RJ100. My brother is an aviation enthusiast and he decided to fly into London using London City Airport. This means the plane will be diving into the airport at an angle of 5.5°. Only multi-engine, fixed-wing aircrafts with special aircraft and aircrew certification are allowed to fly into this airport. This is an alternate option that brings you closer to the city but I would advise you to fly to London Heathrow as the airport is better connected to the city. (Better transports for tourists such as the TUBE)
Swiss Avro RJ100

Swiss Avro RJ100 taking off from London City Airport
Cherry Court Hotel:
We took a cab to our hotel Cherry Court Hotel. This was the first time I booked a hotel via email and reservations have to be confirmed via telephone. This family runned hotel is small (it's a city) but has a great location, clean and budget friendly (Family room, 5 adults. £130/S$286 per night). They have free WIFI and a daily breakfast basket which is ideal as the items given can be used for snacks on the go. I would definitely recommend the hotel if you aren't picky and just want a clean room. After all, sleep is for the weak (Just kidding). To be honest, you will probably only return to the room to sleep. The owners are nice and friendly people so do consider staying here.
One of the iconic buildings while on the cab to our hotel. MI 6 Headquarters!
The exterior of the hotel
We only took this picture when we were leaving! That is why the bed isn't made!

The outdoor patio which is connected to our room. There is a backyard too!
The breakfast basket with fruits, breakfast bars and packet drinks which will be placed in your room the night before.

After checking in, we left the hotel for Harrods. Victoria Station is 3 minutes away from where we 
were staying and the second busiest terminus in London. Just to name a few stores found in Victoria Station: Boots, M&S simply food, & Sainsbury Local supermarket .
Back of Victoria Station. There is a taxi stand here which makes it easy to hail a cab
The interior of Victoria Station.
Harrods:
To visit Harrods, the nearest tube station is Knightsbridge. When exiting the station, you will be able to 
see Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. If you would like to pamper yourself, consider going for the set lunch (£38/S$80.56 per pax) available from Monday to Friday between 12:00pm-2:30pm. I guess 
the price may seem steep but it is most likely due to the exchange rate!;The restaurant should be able to 
justify for the prices you pay as it has been given two Michelin Stars and has been ranked as one of the 
top 10 restaurants in the world. 

Knightsbridge
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park where Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is!
My family and I visited Harrods. We were charmed by the beautifully decorated food hall filled with amazing meats, cheese, fishes, poultry and produce. It is truly Omnia Omnibus Ubique- All Things for All People Everywhere (Harrods motto). You can find anything here including a Aston Martin Stroller and Gold Plated iPhones. It may seem overpriced but it was nice to browse through the department store which attracts 300,000 shoppers on peak days. I bought some souvenirs such as the London Bears (£25/S$53 for a pair) from the store as they were reasonably priced for the quality! Do not regret not buying them as you will find them priced steeply in other London Souvenir stores. I'm sorry that there aren't pictures of the interior because there is no photography allowed in Harrods department store except Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed memorial at Harrods located at the base of the Egyptian Escalator. Harrods has a dress code policy, so make sure you don't wear flip flops, thong sandals, singlet, FBTs or Army shorts.
Exterior of Harrods
The Baroque dome conceals the water tank for the store.
Harrods sign board.

Harrods, London - Food Hall. Photograph by MarioSaverino KennMyers.

A Gourmet Sandwich from the Food Hall
Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed memorial
An interesting fact is that the escalators at the Egyptian area travels at the speed of the River Nile
Hyde Park:
After visiting Harrods, we decided to walk Oxford St via Hyde Park. It is 1.71km to Marble Arch. We could have taken the tube or a bus but we would have missed all the wonderful sights!
McLaren Showroom
Buildings enroute to Hyde Park
You can ride a horse with Hyde Park Stables at £75.00/adult on Tuesdays to Sunday.
Mute Swan. The largest flying bird in Britain.
Squirrel!

 One of the many paths in Hyde Park

Marble Arch:
After the relaxing stroll through Hyde Park, we finally arrived at Marble Arch. Marble Arch is a 19th 
Century white marble faced triumphal arch and London Landmark. It was to the the state entrance to the 
cour d'honneur (court of honor, an architectural term for a three-sided courtyard) of Buckingham Palace. However, it has been relocated to the northeast corner of Hyde Park. There are many stories to why the Arch 
has been relocated including the arch being too narrow for the Queen's state coach to pass through.This has been debunked as the gold state coach passed under it during Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. The 
gate once served as the main entrance to the palace where only senior members of the Royal Family as well 
as the Royal Horse Artillery and King's Troop could pass through the Marble Arch. Today, you can walk freely through the arches!

 Marble Arch
Bronze statue of a giant horse's head

Oxford Street:
Once you are at Oxford Street. Visit one of the many departmental stores such as Marks&Spencer, 
Primark and Top Shop. Marks & Spencer is way more awesome than Singapore. They even serve meals over there! Develop a love-hate relationship with Primark where everything is too cheap not to buy. The 
Top Shop at Oxford street has three floors and claims to be largest fashion store in the world.
 
Primark! Just take everything to the casher.

Marks & Spencer
How the supermarket looks like! I wish I had a kitchen.

Large "Chicken" that you don't see in Singapore (Booooo)
British Chicken Breast
Pasta

 Oxford Street Signboard
I personally enjoyed window shopping at Oxford Street. Clarks is cheaper here too! I decided to
allocate most of the shopping on the first day as a buffer for plane delays. After all, shopping is not 

the most important thing on my itinerary. Do allocate more time if you love shopping! 


What you need to know:
- Look out for air tickets promotion from websites such as www.cheaptickets.sg or www.airfares.sg
- If you are on a strict budget, look for hotels listed on Tripadvisor, there are plenty of family runned hotels like Cherry Court Hotel. Be reminded that this is a city and rooms will generally be small unless you 
decide to stay in chain hotels.
- Do your shopping on Thursday as the shops open later than usual. (Time varies. Around 8pm-10pm)
That sums up for day 1. Click here to proceed to day 2 part 1. 

To return to the overall menu for London, Click Here! 

Here is the map for day 1! Total distance of 3km for the entire walk starting from Knightsbridge to Harrods to Bond Street Tube Station.




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About Haoming Koo

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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