Part of what draws people to the England program is definitely the chance to travel. And while that does include Europe and going from country to country, England itself offers many, many places to see, as revealed by my last blog. What I was looking forward to the most in England was what is arguably its biggest draw: London. I had two wonderful consecutive weekends there, and while they were both planned pretty well, there are still things I want to see, and I would love to go back. The following is a sort of blow-by-blow tale of what we got to see and do those two weekends.
The Lord Mayor’s Parade: Melissa and I were lucky enough to decide to head into London on the day of the Lord Mayor’s Parade, which celebrates the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of London. Full of military contingents and colorful costumes, it was fascinating to watch. The Lord Mayor’s carriage itself was gorgeous, set in gold and red and very opulent.
St. Paul’s Cathedral: Beautiful, and in honor of the Lord Mayor, free entry and the presentation of a short children’s play. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get seats for the play, but there was still plenty in the Cathedral to explore. We got to see William Blake’s headstone, among many others, in the expansive crypt.
Tower of London: Though this was one of the pricier tourist attractions, it was very much worth it. We didn’t even manage to see everything, yet we did see a King, the Crown Jewels, a catapult, and many gorgeous towers and buildings.
Tower Bridge: This iconic bridge was amazing to walk across. The mix of Londoners and tourists taking pictures every few steps just added to the experience of something so completely London.
Tate Modern: This giant art gallery is perfect for anyone who loves modern art. When we visited, it was also home to the unique sunflower seed exhibit: thousands of porcelain handpainted sunflower seeds.
Piccadilly Circus/West End: Both beautiful places necessary for that quick picture.
Hyde Park: Definitely a place anyone can spend a whole day at. It's massive, and it has paths for dogs, horses, and of course people. It's also home to the friendliest squirrels (and pigeons) this side of the Atlantic.
Harrods: The most famous shopping center of England, and perhaps the entire UK. Although times have changed and it is no longer required, Melissa and I still dressed up for the occasion. Of course, most things were out of our price range, but it was still a lot of fun to window shop.
WestminsterAbbey/Big Ben/Parliament/Buckingham Palace: All places that are worth it just to see the outside. And definite must see’s for any London trip. It was great fun taking turns taking pictures of each other in front of these places.
Globe Theatre: We took the tour and got to see the inside of the rebuilt Globe, which was amazing. It is built to as close as the original as possible, and is the only thatched roof in all of England!
London Eye: Pricy, but the views are fantastic, and too difficult to explain in words. The panoramic view of London is just like the pictures, and even more amazing because it's right in front of you.
Camden Market: One of the biggest street markets I’ve been to, and definitely one of my favorites. Clothes, food, souvenirs, this place has everything.
British Museum: The Rosetta Stone and mummies are only the most famous of the exhibits. Each room is brilliant, with objects I never imagined before. Definitely a place I would like to go back to.
Aloha and cheers,