“You sound British and annoying.” Karl Pilkington from the British series “An Idiot Abroad.”
This show is of course directed by the great Ricky Gervais who literally ropes his friend Karl, who is the most closed minded person, into traveling abroad and experiencing the most ridiculous things.
Carl and Queen Elizabeth are reasons why I love England so much. This years trip marks the 5th year in a row I have spent some time in England. Why so much? London and the surrounding area have become just like home to me. So it would only make sense that I would share another one of my “homes away from home” with my cousin over my birthday weekend! So why don’t I just countdown my favorite places of London:
10. Spending time with my family and friends
I always love traveling to London because I have a cousin who lives there, plus a few friends! Lucky for me, flights from Malaga are ridiculously cheap! It’s always great to catch up with these fine folks while I am in town.
9. The Harry Potter studios/Sites from the HP movies around England
You can click here to read about my adventures at the Harry Potter studios last year. Plus, I still have the dream that I will randomly run into Rupert Grint (the guy who plays Ron in the movies) on the street.
8. Portobello Road
This famous street is located in the Notting Hill district and is as cool as the Beatles. It’s famous for it’s Saturday morning market that sells second-hand items and antiques. Now this road wasn’t always known as Portobello. It was originally named Green’s Lane, and it wasn’t until 1740’s that a farm was named Portobello Farm. It wasn’t until the 1850’s when the farm lane that led to Notting Hill from the Farm was made into the road it is known today.
7. The Jack the Ripper Tour
All of you know how much I love my crime TV. Well, London has tours nightly that take you around East London and tell the story about Jack the Ripper and it’s history. There is one specific tour group that I have used always leaves from the Tower Hill tube exit. The guide brings you around East London (TO THE SPOTS WHERE THE MURDERS TOOK PLACE), show you pictures and letters, and tells a complete history about the terror of Jack the Ripper. SPOILER ALERT: It is still unknown who Jack the Ripper really was…
6. The River Thames with Parliament and Big Ben
One mistake many many many tourists make is calling the River Thames (pronounced TEMS) the THAMES river. Remember that on your next trip! Anyways, I love this area because it is a central area to ANYTHING in London. Literally you can reach any touristy site from Westminster. EN SERIO.
5. English Pubs
I don’t know why I love the pubs so much in England, but I do. I feel like pubs are like cafés in Spain, you can spend your morning, afternoon, night there. Now I am going to insult the British and say that most British food is bland and dull (except for fish and chips and Sunday roast…I’ll explain more later). However, they redeem themselves with their delicious cider beers, such as Strongbow. INSIDER’S HINT: next time you are at a pub order a Strongbow Black. It’s regular Strongbow cider with Black currant added to make it a bit fruitier. QUE DELICIOSA! But Sunday Roast. Lord, I didn’t have a chance to experience it until this last trip. It’s a traditional sunday meal with your family that includes, a roast of turkey or other meat, potatoes, beans, OH MAN I COULD EAT A SUNDAY ROAST RIGHT NOW. I would have to say that the Sunday roast may have changed my life.
4. Hyde Park
Its not a complete trip to London without a stroll through King Henry VIII’s old hunting grounds. On the grounds you can find Kensington Palace as well as a memorial to Prince Albert. The park is 350 acres and Kensington Gardens is about 275 acres. My favorite part of the park is the Peter Pan statue that is hidden in the park. You would think that with all the time I have spent in London and in Hyde Park, I would know the exact way there…NOPE. I always end up walking all the way around the park, almost give up and then randomly run into Peter. I love spending time by the statue and reading a book because it’s right next to a lake.
3. The British Museum/Natural History Museum
Both of these museums are free and amazing…but I wouldn’t do both on the same day. Actually I think it is completely impossible to do ALL of the British museum in one day. I haven’t even seen all of it. I suggest to do it in parts (remember it’s free, you can come and go as you please!). The British museum is great because it is full of REAL ARTIFACTS OF HISTORY. Yes, most were probably taken without full permission…but hey it makes for a really sweet museum! As for the Natural history museum, it is just that…the natural history of London. It’s a great interactive museum that allows you to participate in the history! As a social studies teacher I give both of these museums A+ for being great!
2. Churchill’s War Cabinets
The only reason the cabinets top the museum because they literally have recreated what the war cabinets were back during WWII. It’s a self guided tour with soooo much information that it is overwhelming…but it is a complete history. You also get to walk around the whole underground area and see how the war was operated from below ground. Plus you get to see Churchill’s room!
1. Tower of London
This is one of the few places in London that you have to pay to enter. I will always gladly pay for it because it’s one of the best historical places with THE best tour. See my last post about the Beefeater tour here. Every single time I’ve had a tour it has been different and always full of new information. Plus the grounds of the tower are so beautiful.
Next stop: AUSTRIAAAAAAA to sing in the hills of Salzburg!