London

 

London - Tower Bridge

London is the capital of the United Kingdom and a bustling and vibrant city.  London is a beautiful city situated in the southeast corner of England.  Full of great historic sites, delicious pub food and a great transportation system, London is a city not to be missed.

Things you MUST see/do:

The Tower Bridge – Located at the mouth of the Thames River the Tower Bridge historically acted as the entry way into London.  Make sure that you leave time and take the tour up the tower.  It is well worth it for the views over the city and they explain to you how the tower functions to raise the bridge.  Also, keep your eye out above for metal human figurines perched in the rafters.

The Tower of London – Directly beside the Tower Bridge.  This is the location of the Crown Jewels of England (which is a spectacular collection).  If you go, attempt to get there as soon as it opens and proceed directly to the Crown Jewels to minimize the line ups you must wait in.  To tour around the entire tour takes half a day or longer.  Make sure to take a walk around the top of the wall surrounding the tour for some great views.

Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace is the home of the Royal Family of Great Britain.  If you can time it right, go for the changing of the guards at 11:30 pm.  The display is a worthwhile show, but get there early or all the good viewing locations can be taken.  If you want to see the changing of the guards, make sure to check the website to see what days it happens.

Trafalgar Square – In the heart of London, lies the beautiful Trafalgar Square.  This is a great place to visit and spent some time to rest your weary legs.  For our Canadian followers out there, while you are here check out nearby Canada House and  sign their guest book to show you were there.  The keep these books in their records, so you can try to see your signature when you return.

The Parliament Buildings – The Parliment Building is a spectacular looking structure located right along the Thames River in the Westminster area of London. The most famous part of the building is the Bell Tower, where Big Ben (name of the bell, not the tower) is located.  If you have time, you can take tours of the parliament building or climb the Bell Tower.

Westminster Abbey – A gothic style cathedral directly across from the parliament buildings.  Westminster Abbey has a beautiful exterior and nice grounds.  However, be prepared to pay if you would like to go inside (16£).  The abbey is the location of the inaugurations of Many Kings and Queens and the location of the tombs of many famous people from Britain (e.g. Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin).  It is quite a sight to see if you are willing to pay the entry fee.

St. Paul’s Cathedral –Another of London’s iconic churches is St Paul’s Cathedral.  It has a beautiful frescoed interior and the dome is spectacular.  It is highly recommended that you take the opportunity to climb to the top.  Along the way you get a chance to see the dome up close and personal and get another wonderful view over London.

Hyde Park – Hyde Park is London’s largest park.  This is a great location to wander through and find a nice little spot to relax.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

Dinner at a True English PubHaving a true english meal (e.g. fish and chips or bangers and mash) at an English Pub is something everyone must experience in London.  The city has so many neat little Pubs for you to enjoy a meal and a pint.  The atmosphere is great to experience and you may even get to make a couple new friends.  This is the way to get to experience a small part of London culture.  One warning for you, we as naive North Americans sat down at a table in the pub assuming we would be served as at home.  Turns out at many pubs in London orders are taken at the bar.  We waited for a long time before someone was nice enough to inform us to go order.

River Cruise up the Thames RiverThere are many different options to cruise the Thames River.  If you are short on time as we were, we recommend you take a cruise between the Tower Bridge and the Parliament Buildings.  It is a short trip, however, it is well worth it for the views of London from the river.

Take a Picnic to the Park –Pick up a simple lunch from any grocery location (e.g. Marks & Spencer’s).  We bought some sandwiches, fruit and drinks and headed out to the park.  There are many parks in London to choose from.  We decided on Kensington Palace Gardens.  The gardens are a very nice setting with a pond filled with swans and ducks and you can set yourself on a park bench and watch them play.

Ride the London Eye – Although we did not have the opportunity to go on the London Eye, we have heard from many people that the scenery is unmatched.  The London Eye is a over-sized slow-moving ferris wheel with glass domes for visitors to ride in.  The Eye takes its riders on a complete loop and at the top there is wonderful views over the entire city.

Travels4Couples #1 ROMANTIC thing to do in London:

Go see a London Play –The theater performances in London is as world renowned as those in New York.  We recommend you take a night or more, get dressed and treat yourselves to a wonderful evening.  There are two shows we can say are very entertaining.  Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia will keep you entertained and dancing in the aisles.  It is the perfect location for any couple.  If you are going to a show in the Soho area, we recommend going early and take a look around.  Soho is known as the trendy area of London and has some interesting things happening.  Maybe stop in and have a drink at one of the local pubs!