Destination: London, United Kingdom
Date: May 2013
Visiting London is like going home for many people. With family roots in this country and so many similarities its easy to see why. I can’t help but love London! It is like visiting a proper version of New York City. So many things to do, so much to see, and shopping to keep me busy for weeks.
Since this trip was a repeat destination I didn’t have the need to see all of the usual tourist sites. Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, Parliament, it can keep a tourist busy for weeks, and I haven’t even mentioned the West End…. This time around we only had one very exhausting day to spend in London. We had taken a 7:00am flight from Inverness, Scotland and landed in London at 8:00am. By the time we took the train into the city and arrived at our hotel it was 8:45am . With a quick drop off of luggage we were ready for a day of fun!
Since I had recently seen publicity on the new Winston Churchill War rooms I was excited to see them. Located next to the Westminster tube we jumped on and were there in no time. For 17L per person we were in and ready to learn. I thought the price was a little expensive but it did include a hand held recorded tour so that was a bonus. These war rooms were pretty cool to see. Back during World War I these rooms down underground were the secret headquarters for the British Government. It was intriguing to see how they lived and worked in the same place in such small quarters. During the air raids and bombings of London, Churchill and his staff were right there in the middle of the city keeping the efforts going.
The tour starts off with showing a few of the underground rooms that were closed on August 15 1945. They had most of the original items left just as they were when the war ended on VJ day, August 14, 1945. After getting an idea of some of a few rooms the tour continues through a musuem of Churchills life from his war times to his death, and then starts again at his birth, and leads up to the war times. I learned so much from this “Bulldog” and never knew that he had been a prisoner of war and escaped during the Boer War in the early 1900’s. It was upon his fame of being an escaped POW that started his political career. It was a magnificent and informational museum!
I feel like I should mention that if you have any hesitation in riding the local subways aka the tubes, then don’t be! It is one of the easiest subways systems to manage and there are entrances at almost every other corner. It is incredibly easy to maneuver through the city. They are much easier than using the subways in new York CIty!!!
Another awesome thing to do is to take in a nice meal. The restaurants are like sands of the sea in London. So many choices its hard to decide. Just on Trip Advisor there are almost 10,000 rated restaurants and the reviews help tremendously in making a good decision. Our choice for our dinner the one day we were there was Il Cucciolo. Located in the West End, I thought the ambiance was fantastic and the minestrone soup was completely different, but more delicious than any minestrone I’ve ever had before, however it wasn’t my favorite restaurant. It was very good but I knew it was rated at around number 1500 of 10,000 restaurants so I couldn’t help but think there was something better that I should have tried! First world problems for sure!!
After doing all of the typical things, we decided to take in a show in the West End! The first time I saw a show in the West End it was Billy Elliot which is probably the most fantastic show I’ve ever seen! Our selection this time was a big disappointment. We went to see the show Rock of Ages. Since I love the monster ballads of the 80’s I was pretty excited to see it. I honestly thought it couldn’t be any raunchier than the movie but I was greatly mistaken. It was not only raunchy and in poor taste but I felt the performances were on a high school level and not the quality I’ve seen on the West End before or on Broadway.
Other fantastic plays I’ve seen are War Horse, Les Miserable, How to Succeed in Business without Even Trying, and Phatom. I wish I had the reviews and given the show the test of time before wasting the quid I spent on seeing Rock of Ages. It truly was a big disappointment.
I’m not sure why London pulls at my heart strings so much. It could be the access to the tubes, walking the streets, the overcast weather, and just the charm and ambiance of the locals but I think this is a great place to visit. I would recommend anyone who loves New York to visit this charming city, that’s full of top hat wearing doormen, quaint old taxis, museums, parks, architecture, and shopping at Selfridge’s and Harrod’s that can keep any girl busy for weeks on end!!!
Safe & Happy Travels!