If anyone has ever told you that London is a dirty city, stop believing them right now. I don’t know what it was like, or what it will be like after the 2012 Olympics, when they stop trying to impress the world, but in my opinion, London was looking spectacular when my family and I went over in April. We had certainly picked the right time to visit!
Where do you even start with such an amazing city? From the beautiful white Georgian houses which lined Kensington Gardens, to the quaint colourful doors of those who live off of Tottenham Court Rd, from the twisting maze of the quaintly decorated Underground (Mind the Gap!) to the brightly coloured buildings on Portobello Rd and from the grandeur and mystique of The Tower of London to the spacious grounds of Hyde Park, everything in sight just looked…SO ENGLISH!
My highlights would have to include the Historic Palaces. Everyone talks about the Tower of London, but did you know that it is actually a palace in itself? Within the walls of The Tower lie some of the last remaining original façades from Elizabethan times, as well as Anne Boleyn’s grave and the Crown Jewels. Don’t be ashamed to ride the moving walkway past the jewels seven or eight times to get a really good look at them, even if the security guards start to look at you funny. Speaking of hidden gems, how many of you knew about Kensington Palace? Tucked away in Kensington Gardens, this is the palace where royals such as Queen Victoria, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret have lived.
The definition of entertainment in London has evolved quite a bit since Elizabethan times. I speak of course of the dazzling West End. Being a huge fan of musicals, it was never a question of whether or not we would see a show, but rather what show it would be. Wicked! The Musical is amazing, and the whole West End area is dazzling on its own. I had a lot of fun wandering around picking out all the theatres with their large signs advertising which hit musical was playing inside. The Lyceum Theatre, where the Lion King was playing, is also relatively close to Charring Cross Rd, which used to be famous for the bookshops lining its streets. Nowadays, not so much.
London had a lot of bookshops, and not just your generic Borders type which we seem to have here in Australia, but genuine little gems with helpful staff and books I had never even heard of before. But if books are not your style, the best place for you to head for some shopping is the area surrounding Oxford St, where you can find anything to satisfy your sartorial needs. Hamleys Toystore was by far, the most entertaining and magical thing, inside the store was its staircase, which as you climbed transported you through the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe complete with lamp post and fake snow!
Nine days was not nearly enough time to spend in London. I don’t even think a lifetime would be enough to appreciate everything there is to do and see. I’ll definitely be going back. While London on a family holiday is pretty amazing, I did miss out on discovering all the hot night spots, and my Monopoly Pub Crawl. I guess I’ll save that for next time – and hopefully by then I’ll have a lovely and charming London boy to show me around personally.