Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Things to see in London, England

Jet setting location number one : 

The musts :

- Walking across Abbey Road - its a bit out of the way but well worth it. There is even volunteers who will help you take the perfect photo (remember it is always good to tip!) 

- Jack the Ripper tour - There are many companies giving tours of White Chapel, so I would highly recommend you check one out. 
They take you around to all the locations of the murders of Jack the Ripper, as well as where his victims used to hang out. 
My favorite part (and my moms too) was seeing the mortuary photos of the victims... sick I know, but very interesting!

- There are tons of free museums around town like the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. 
 I frequented them quite often to lounge around and think. 
That is the way the museums should be. 
In Vancouver the museums cost upwards of $18 to visit, and we don't even have a huge collection. There is also a really cool open house event every Thursday and Friday night at the Portrait Gallery called the "Late Shift", where they have DJs, tours, dancing and even free drawing classes. 
There are similar other events at other galleries around the city as well and so worth it.
- Walking tour with Sandemans - this amazing company gives walking tours of the city which are full of great information, and a wonderful opportunity to meet other travelers.
I just took their free tour which lasted around 2 1/5 hours, which took us around the city and then finished off at a local pub for some great deals and conversation.
- The British Film Institute - while in London I frequented the Film Institute for these lovely films : "Gone with the Wind", "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", and "A Street Car Named Desire".
What a lovely opportunity to see classics on the big screen and meet other film lovers. I met a 80 year old man in the line up for Streetcar, and talked about our lives, and then ended up sitting together in the film. This was totally one of my favorite place in London :)

The should see at least once :  
- Harrods - this giant department store is worth the gander. Just walking around the fruit and veggie section is awe inspiring.

 You can tell where I get my craziness from the photo below...

- The Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (also free!) - A double header that you should hit as they are on the same street (Harrods is also just down the street).

 - Camden Market and Portabello Road - for all your thrift shopping and bargaining needs. 
Try not to sing the song, I dare you ;)
- Taking in a service at Westminster Abbey - this is a wonderful experience to be had at one of the most famed churches in the world. Complete with choir boys, and burning incense.
- Obviously the classics like Big Ben and The London Eye

 - The Tower of London is a classic piece of the cities history which should be seen at least once. It is a little pricey, but is worth it... trust me :)

The should avoids :

- Tourist traps like : The London Dungeon, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum - were all too expensive and not worth it. 
Considering the Dungeon was 24 pounds, and the Jack the Ripper tour was only 12 pounds, I would much rather check out the real sights of the murders then just hearing about the hyped up "Hollywood version" of the darker side of the city. 
The wax museum was also way too over priced at 30 pounds (luckily I had a cereal box coupon and managed to get in for free!). 
There is so much you could so with 30 pounds (even in a city that is so horribly expensive as London).

- Even the London Aquarium was not worth the money.
Their "shark walk" was totally not as impressive as they made it out to be,
and with aquariums in pretty much every major city now...
I would skip this one and move onto the next. 
- Hyde Parks Winter wonderland to be avoided like the plague.
After checking out the Christmas Markets in Europe (and even the other ones around the city)
 I was excited to check out this huge market amongst the trees.
But there was nothing traditionally "Christmassy" about this festival.
It was more like a drink your face off event, that was jam packed and full of overpriced glog.

Happy travels!
 Love Britt

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