ENGLAND – London
JUMP TO – kensington gardens / hyde park – buckingham palace – st. james’s park – trafalgar square – national gallery – westminster abbey – big ben & the house of parliament – london eye – tate modern – millennium bridge – st. paul’s – tower of london – tower bridge – abbey road studios – notting hill – sherlock holmes museum – high rises – sports & entertainment venues – cars & taxis
DAY TRIPS – windsor castle – cliffs of dover
kensington gardens / hyde park
In the Kensington Gardens, there’s this 900 year old tree stump inhabited by tiny little elves called the Elfin Oak. It’s by the pirate ship. Seriously.
You can take a paddle boat down the Serpentine in Hyde Park. (underground: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Queensway or Knightsbridge)
You know, where the Queen lives. From 11:30am-noon, you can watch the Changing of the Guard parade. Get there early for a good spot.
At night, it’s quieter, and you can see the postman deliver the Queen’s mail. (underground: St. James’s Park or Green Park)
st. james’s park
The park across from Buckingham Palace with a picturesque park bench. (underground: St. James’s Park)
A busy public square with a column and big lion statues next to the Charing Cross roundabout and Admiralty Arch. (underground: Charing Cross)
A major art gallery that’s free! That’s unheard of, right? There’s really no excuse not to go unless you completely hate art. You can see van Gogh’s Sunflowers, paintings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt… In Trafalgar Square. (underground: Charing Cross)
It’s where the Queen becomes the Queen. They’ve been doing coronation ceremonies here since 1066. (underground: Westminster)
big ben & the house of parliament
The giant Ferris wheel along the river Thames. Fair warning, on the rare sunny day in London, it can get pretty warm enclosed in a slow moving glass pill capsule. Buy tickets ahead to save some time/£. (underground: Waterloo)
Opened in 2000, it’s a pedestrian bridge that links the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe with St. Paul’s. And the one that gets destroyed in the beginning of Harry Potter 6. (underground: Blackfriars)
London’s main cathedral that luckily survived the bombings during WWII. (underground: St. Paul’s)
tower of london
It’s the home of the Crown Jewels and also where they used to torture people…
One of the Beefeaters, the guards of the Tower of London, guides us through. He’s pretty entertaining. (underground: Tower Hill)
abbey road studios
The Beatles’ recording studio!
Bring a sharpie to sign the white wall outside the studio before posing for the album cover crosswalk pic (remember the third person should go barefoot like Paul…).
For the ultimate Beatles experience, you can check out the Beatles themed coffee shop by the tube station. (underground: St. John’s Wood)
sherlock holmes museum
For Sherlock Holmes fans… Also, the walls of the Baker Street tube station are decorated with ceramic tiles with Holmes’ profile. (underground: Baker Street)
London has funny nicknames for their high rises. One is synonymous with a pickle…
The Shard by Renzo Piano (left)
32 London Bridge Street (underground: London Bridge)
The Gherkin by Norman Foster (right)
30 St Mary Axe (underground: Liverpool Street or Aldgate)
sports & entertainment venues
All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
The tennis courts where they host the Wimbledon. (underground: Wimbledon – FYI, it’s a mile walk from the station)
Catch a football (soccer) match in this 90,000 seat stadium. (underground: Wembley Park)
Concerts and sporting events are held under this white dome with its crown of yellow support towers (originally called the Millennium Dome). (underground: North Greenwich)
If you’re a Shakespeare fan, you already know this was Shakespeare’s theater. The original circular theater built in 1599 was destroyed in a fire in 1613. The one you see today is a reconstruction built in 1997, which puts on events and plays like Romeo & Juliet. (underground: Southwark or London Bridge)
It’s the main entertainment district in London, with some of the busiest tube stations. It’s basically the area around Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Shaftesbury Ave. By the way, Piccadilly Circus is not the elephant standing on a rubber ball kind of circus – like I may or may not have originally thought – it’s London’s Times Square.
Stand along the red carpet of a movie premiere at the Odeon or a attend a musical at the Lyric Theatre. You actually get assigned seats at the Odeon and an usher escorts you. (underground: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square)
cars and taxis
cliffs of dover
To really see the white cliffs, unobstructed from the Dover Ferry Wharf, follow the 2 mile hike from the station, or take a taxi to the Visitor Center. To get to Dover from London, take the train to Dover Priory.