Stepping off the airplane and into the vast City of London, England can, at times, seem like a you’re walking into a modern day fairy tale or that you’ve taken a trip back in time via Dr. Who’s time machine. Whether you’re riding the tube, wandering the streets or sipping on a cup of English tea, this city of 8.3 million plus people has an overwhelming sense of history and character that follows you wherever you go. Not to mention, hearing the sexy accents of those cheeky British men will melt a solid block of Canadian ice in the middle of winter. Drool!
It’s virtually impossible to see and do everything this city has to offer in one trip; we’ve already been there twice and barely scratched the surface, trust us. However, should you find your Canadian bacon in jolly old London, we’ve developed a quick and easy list of ten must see and do activities for you.
Cultural & Historical Sites
- Buckingham Palace “ Queen Elizabeth’s II modest “ and we say that with sarcasm “ residence is open to the public in the summer where you can tour selected rooms. Being the headquarters of the most recognized and popular royal family in the world, this attraction receives more than 50,000 visitors a year. Therefore, we highly recommend you book tickets in advance to reserve your spot. While here catch the Changing of the Guard, which occurs daily at 11:30 a.m. (from April to the end of July), which is definitely at the top your sightseeing itinerary. royalcollection.org
- British Museum “ this isn’t any old museum this is the world famous British Museum. Legendary items such as the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon and a cornucopia of other breath-taking artifacts are part of this centuries old institution’s permanent collection. Admission into the museum is free “ yes free “ so get ready to let out your inner history nerd. britishmuseum.org
- Tower of London “ very few castles in London has such a dramatic and dark history than the Tower of London. This castle and fortress houses the Crown Jewels and was once a prison which held and executed notable figures in British history such Guy Fawkes and three of Henry VIII’s wives: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey. hrp.org.uk
- London Eye “ get your camera and phone ready to score a million dollar shot. Boarding the London Eye isn’t for those visitors afraid of heights, but if you can get over your fear you’ll be treated to the break-taking sights of London. Another popular attraction, booking your tickets online and ahead of time will save you a lot of headache. www.londoneye.com
- Harrods “ few department stores are synonymous with luxury as Harrods. Opened 1849, this legendary retailer is the cré¨me de la cré¨me of department stores in the world carrying all the high end designer brands, from Alexander McQueen to Lanvin, as well as goods for men, women, children and home. If you think the services offered at this lux department store stops there, then think again. Harrods is also known for its world famous food hall offering up mouth-watering delights from French pastries to Middle Eastern fare, a must stop for all who like to shop. harrods.com
- Covent Garden “ Covent Garden is a pedestrian friendly area in the heart of the city, making it a pleasant area to walk around and explore. The location offers a charming mix of high and low shops, like the Disney Store and Chanel, restaurants, cafes and other curiosities. coventgardenlondonuk.com
- King’s Road “ shopaholics looking for quintessential British boutique shopping experience board the tube and get off at Sloane Square to take your credit card for a walk along the King’s Road. Shopaholics will find this area loaded with an eclectic mix of trendy boutiques and local designers.
- Fifteen “ this is the restaurant where British celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver took 15 under privileged youth and trained them to be professional chefs. Fifteen continues to give back to its community using profits from the restaurant to help unemployed youth. It also doesn’t help that it receives high ratings for serving casual and British cuisine. fifteen.net
- Kensington Palace Orangery “ don’t leave London without experiencing a quintessential British tradition, like partaking in afternoon tea. For a few moments you can live like a royal and sample tasty treats at Kensington Palace Orangery “ situated on the same grounds as home of the Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, and their son Prince George. Afternoon tea here is very affordable and costs from £24 to £34 per person; guaranteed you leave here feeling like royalty. orangerykensingtonpalace.co.uk
- Restaurant Gordon Ramsay “ before Chef Gordon Ramsay appeared on every hit reality food TV show known to man, he was first respected for his skills in the kitchen. We can’t think of a better excuse than splurging for a meal at his world famous Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, a fine dining establishment that has been award three Michelin stars. gordonramsay.com
For more information visit www.londontourism.ca.