As I briefly explained in my previous post, I took a month’s unpaid leave and decided it was about time to go back home to London! It had been over 7 months since I last saw my family, and nearly a year since being back home, so I was very excited to finally get back on British soil.
Currently, the UAE is on the UK’s red list which means, people who have been to Dubai in the last 10 days, are not permitted to enter the UK – unless you are a British citizen and then you have to isolate for 10 days in an airport quarantine hotel. As this was not an option for us, we decided to spend a couple of weeks in Egypt (which was on the amber list) and then fly to the UK from there. Before we entered the UK, we had to show proof of a negative PCR test and book a day 2 and day 8 COVID test package. We decided to do the ‘Test to release’ scheme where you only have to quarantine for 5 days as we only had 2 weeks left in UK before we had to return to work in Dubai. Let’s just say, it was a very, very expensive trip with all the test packages, but it was 1000000% worth it to be reunited with my family again after so long apart.
City of London
While we mostly spent quality time with my family, we also managed to squeeze in a couple of touristy days out in London. The first of these days, we started at Tower Bridge and finished at Westminster Bridge. We took the DLR from Greenwich to Tower Hill and then walked to The Tower of London, followed by the impressive Tower Bridge.
From there we walked along the river, passing by the Millennium Bridge and several other hotspots. I used to work in London Bridge before Emirates, so I walked past my old office to show Mamdouh, and then we stopped off for lunch in Borough Market. The weather was pretty miserable and grey but luckily we escaped the showers and had a pleasant day out.
Next up was the Southbank which always has such a lovely atmosphere. It was really busy and so nice to see people out and about enjoying their day. Mamdouh has been to London several times on a layover, but has not see many of the sights. Back in 2019, we managed to swap onto the same Heathrow flight and had a wonderful layover in London together. Last time, we went to Buckingham Palace, Knightsbridge, Oxford/Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus so this time, we wanted to do all different things. We continued our walk to the London Eye, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and No. 10 Downing Street.
Next up was a day out in Greenwich which is actually where I am from in London! Greenwich is in the South East of London and has so much history and is home to the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, and the old Queens House. We started our day at the National Maritime Museum which is free to enter, but tickets must be booked online in advance.
We then walked through Greenwich park up to the Royal Observatory. Although the weather wasn’t particularly sunny, it was warm and didn’t rain which is always a bonus! Having lived in the Greenwich borough almost my whole life, I have only been to the top and seen the incredible views of London a handful of times. I really forgot how beautiful the views were.
We finished off the day in true British style with a bag of ‘fish and chip shop’ chips and a can of coke! We sat in the park for a while admiring the views and taking in the fresh air. Living in Dubai has truly made me appreciate fresh air and greenery – something I completely took for granted before. Greenwich is such a wonderful town with so much history and culture, I would urge everyone visiting London to come and explore Greenwich as it is such a hidden gem!
I had the best time ever being back in London and spending time with my family after so many months apart. We made some unbelievable memories and I already can’t wait to come back, but who knows when that will be! It is now time to head back to Dubai and get back to work!!
Thanks for reading.