I have a lot of clients that either travel to London for vacation or do a couple days of layover in London on their way to their travel destination. I am always asked what I would recommend they do during their time there, so I thought I’d share with you this week a few of my favorite things to in London and also a few that I found during some research.
Ride the London Eye - Set on the South Bank of the Thames is the London Eye, a Ferris wheel that is 443-foot high and 394-foot wide. It will give you some of the best views of London. It is a very popular attraction so it will be busy, but it can hold up to 800 people on each rotation in its 32 capsules (which are representative of the 32 London boroughs). If you really want an over the top experience, you can enjoy champagne, chocolate, or wine as you take in the London cityscape from up high.
Tour Buckingham Palace - Buckingham Palace has been home to the monarchy of the United Kingdom since 1837, and today, it still houses the Queen. Tours are available in the summer and will take you through the lavish State Rooms where you will see prized artwork by artists like Rembrandt. It cost extra to see the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews, but it’s worth it. There are limited tickets so be sure to book in advance.
Dive into the magical world of Harry Potter - London played a key role in the Harry Potter books and has become a hot spot for Harry Potter enthusiasts. Warner Bros. has a studio tour called “The Making of Harry Potter” that takes guests through some of the films' iconic sets. There are also walking tours that highlight spots in London used in the films, as well as places that inspired J.K. Rowling. And don’t forget to head to King’s Cross station to take a picture at Platform 9 ¾.
Observe the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London – It’s great to visit the Tower of London during the day but visiting it at night to witness the Ceremony of the Keys is even better. For 700 years, the Yeomen Warders have conducted a nightly gate closing ritual that is spectacular to see. Only 40 to 50 people can see this wonderful London tradition each night. This ceremony is important to Britain as the tower still holds the Crown Jewels, among other important items to British history. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance as they can be hard to come by.
Go Shopping - Shopping in London can be an amazing experience, and I’m not talking about the souvenir shops. London is home to shopping areas and markets that have made their way into popular culture and literature over the centuries. Portobello Road Market has been around since the 1800s and today offers an eclectic mix of food stands and antique peddlers. Camden Market is famous for having more than 100 shops and stalls filled with food, art, and clothing. In Covent Garden, restaurants and specialty shops are popular.
Whisper at St. Paul’s Cathedral - This Anglican Church is the seat of the Bishop of London and features a beautiful dome and a beautiful interior. It’s neat to learn about its history and admire the amazing works of art inside and out but try climbing the 259 steps into the dome to the Whispering Gallery for a neat experience. Stand on one side of the gallery and whisper something. You will discover that it can clearly be heard 98 feet away on the other side. Cool, right?
Have a pint - A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of London’s oldest pubs, many of which were frequented by literary geniuses. Grab a pint at The Dove, which dates back to the 1730s and once hosted such writers as Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. Or make a trip to The Spaniards Inn. It was established in 1585 and made famous by Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers,” and it is also known as the spot where John Keats produced “Ode to a Nightingale.”
These are some amazing experiences you will want to pursue if you have a few days in London. You can get to most of them by taking the hop on/hop off bus and the metro system (The Underground) is also easy to use in London. Hope this give you some ideas for a diverse and wonderful holiday in London.
www.Oyster.com; 9 of the Best Things to Do in London by Alex Temblador, Nov 17, 2017