Being that I’m half Scottish, I have had the pleasure of crossing the pond to the UK to visit my grandparents, and when I have the opportunity, I make a stop in London. One of the great walking cities in the world, there is so much to see and experience that you can’t do it all in one day. If you are traveling to London, here are some tips and great locations to see.
Tip 1 – Don’t Drive
When you are traveling to or around London, don’t even think about driving, no matter how experienced you might be at driving on the wrong side of the road. London is notorious for traffic jams going in and out of the heart of the city. Just think Chevy Chase in European Vacation: “Look kids! Big Ben! Parliament!”
Tip 2 – Mind The Gap
The Underground is the way to go. It will take you to any point in the city. Just remember to “Mind the Gap!” I didn’t the last time that I was there. I stepped onto the train wearing a backpack, and the doors closed on my backpack and train began to move. Thankfully British hospitality came through, and two kind Londoners pulled me back in. I would also highly recommend wearing warm clothes. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling in the summer or winter, there’s a good chance it will be cold.
Tip 3 – You Must See This
If you fancy high tea with the queen, then your first stop needs to be Buckingham Palace. You probably won’t see Queen Elizabeth or William and Kate, but if you make it by 11am, you can witness the changing of the guard which includes a royal band playing hits from The Beatles.
Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
Two more landmarks on your to-see list must be Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The clock tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England. If you choose to tour the Abbey, you will get the opportunity to see the tombs of famous royals such as Elizabeth 1 and notable Englishmen such as Charles Dickens. You can even view King Edward’s Chair, the chair that every king and queen sits on for their coronation.
The London Eye
For a more modern flavor, take a spin on the London eye along the Thames. Built for the Millennium celebration, it’s the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe (443’), so if you are afraid of heights, you might want to think twice.
Shopping – Harrods and Piccadilly Circus
London is known for its fashion shopping, so if shopping is your passion, then you might have to block out a whole day. You can drop a few pounds in Harrods. The store is ginormous as covers over 5 acres. It literally has everything for everybody. The food displays in the Food Hall are amazing. If you and your wallet survive Harrods then Piccadilly Circus is your next stop on your shopping spree.
Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
For jewelry that will certainly break the bank, head back down to the River Thames and visit the crown jewels at the Tower of London. And right next to the Tower of London? You guessed it, The Tower Bridge which is a great picturesque spot.
Lastly, if you want to visit a part of London that is a little off the beaten path, head over to Covent Garden. This charming section of London is made up of independent shops, theatres, street performers and pubs and restaurants. I highly recommend the Crusting Pipe.
My family and I love London, and I know you will too! Cheerio!