So I am off to London today on an amazing 10 day trip with amazing friends and I realised this is the 9th time I have visited London! I first went back in 2012 with my college marching Band to perform during the olympics. Fun fact: we were the first non-British musical group to perform on the Mall in front of Buckingham palace, but I digress. So as I was preparing for the trip and talking to my friends about what all I want to do, I realised there are a few things that I tend to do every time I am in the city. These have become habitual and I look forward to them on every visit and hope you consider incorporating them into your next trip to London
1. See a Theatre Show
I really love theater and musicals in particular so this is an absolute must for me when I visit and have the chance. On my very first trip to London, I was lucky enough to see Wicked and it was breathtaking. Since then, I have seen Once, Mamma Mia, Les Miserables, and 2 shows at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre(Anthony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream). I am really excited because on this trip I am finally seeing Book of Mormon which has been on my “to see” list for a while. The best part about these shows is that you can actually find very reasonably priced tickets if you plan in advance and are a little flexible about when to see the show. Obviously weekend evenings are going to be harder to find a deal on that Wednesday matinees so use common sense when making your plans.
For shows at Shakespeare’s Globe, if you are physically able to stand throughout the show, I highly recommend buying groundling tickets. These are the standing tickets in the center of the circular theater and its gret because there is a lot of audience interaction nad it can be a lot of fun. The added benefit: tickets are usually only 5. This means you can see a Shakespeare in the way it was meant to be seen, for less than you probably spend on a coffee at Starbucks. The non-standing seats are also a great way to see a show and are definitely worth the money if you aren’t able to hande standing for that long.
2. Visit the British Museum
I’m a huge nerd in case that isn’t clear so I love museums. I spoke a bit about my love for the British Museum in my post A Nerd’s Guide To London, but I want to reemphasise it now. My favorite museum in the world might just be the British Museum and even though I have visited 5 times, I still haven’t seen even close to the whole museum. The sheer size of the museum is impressive and the fact that it holds so many one of a kind artefacts is mind boggling. I could spend hours in the Enlightenment Room alone and weeks in the museum itself.
3. Hang out in South Bank
I LOVE the South Bank area of London, especially at sunset and into the early evening. South Bank is home to the London Eye and has a great view of Parliament and Big Ben. The reason I love it though is that there are a bunch of restaurants to eat at and shops to wander through. A lot of places also have outdoor seating so on nice evenings you can sit outside and enjoy the view of the River Thames with London as a backdrop. It’s also an area that can be easily accessed by public transit, which makes it easy to end your day there regardless of where you started out.
4. Visit Buckingham Palace and Green Park
Some people may find this an odd one to revisit but there’s a reason for it. The very first time I visited London was for the Summer Olympics in 2012 and I was there with my college marching band performing. One of our performances was right before the finish of the women’s cycling races an it was on the mall in front of Buckingham Palace. The coolest part: we were the first non-British musical group to perform there. So Buckingham Palace holds a special place in my heart and I’m always up to revisit it. An added bonus to visiting the Palace: getting off the Tube At Green Park and strolling through the beautiful park on your way to the palace. I’m a huge fan of green space so parks are always a favorite of mine when I visit a city. While I love the hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s nice to find a bit of nature among the crazy streets. I haven’t yet, but I really want to have a picnic in Green Park at some point. Probably not this trip because it’s going to be freezing in London this week, but maybe next time.
5. Have some proper tea and a good scone
This may seem cliche or obvious, but I put it on here because it’s one of my habits that I can’t give up. I love English Tea, specifically twinings and the variety I love the most is only available in the UK so not only do I make sure to drink a lot of it while there, I also buy a bunch to bring home with me! Now, onto the scones. Americans do not make scones correctly. Our scones are dry and hard and are more useful as paperweights than food. British scones are fluffy and soft and are best served with clotted cream and preserves. I love them and I hate that I can’t get ones in the states so I try to eat my fill every time I visit England.
Well I am off to London and I am beyond excited for the trip! Stay tuned for more England themed posts coming soon! From one Misguided Millennial to the world, this has been my favorite things to do in London!