London Part I

I’m back to the blog and the U.S! I just got back from a great week in London with my sister, and though I’m going to be posting visit posts on Wednesdays, I think London can be an exception. The biggest city in Western Europe, London is similar to New York but more historic and, in my opinion, prettier. Both speak English, both have famous monuments, iconic taxis, and a big theater street. Though I will be doing a Wednesday Adventure post on London, here are some of my highlights from this trip:

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

1.) Westminster Abbey- So much about this church is incredible: the ornate architecture inside and out, the amount of royalty and famous authors buried here, and the history within this building are all great. Emma and I went after a late lunch at Westminster Arms, a pub across the street, after going to King’s Cross Station and The British Library–which is worth the visit for housing items like Jane Austen’s writing desk, copies of The Magna Carta, papers that Beatles lyrics were originally written on, among many, many others–so it wasn’t particularly crowded then and we didn’t have to wait to get in. We took the free audio guides, which were very helpful and informative and enhanced the visit a lot. It’s also located right next to the Palace of Westminster which houses the famous bell Big Ben, so the area is filled with tourists and incredible architecture.

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View from the London Eye
View from the London Eye

2.) London Eye- We took a ride on this impressive ferris wheel on one of our last days in the city. The wait wasn’t too long, and the views during this half hour ride are definitely worth it. If you enjoy The Top of the Rock in New York, this would be right up your alley.

3.) Leavesden Studios- Being big Harry Potter fans, this day trip from London was one of the highlights for both of us. A ticket gives access to the backlot and two sound stages filled with sets, props, costumes, artwork, and the Hogwarts Castle model used in filming the movies. The crowd wasn’t too bad when we went, and it takes about three hours to get through the whole studio, but it was all very thrilling and definitely a must for Harry Potter fans visiting London.

Inside Maggie Jones's
Inside Maggie Jones’s

4.) Maggie Jones’s- Emma and I agree that this was where we had the best meal on our whole trip. We came here for lunch after visiting the Natural History Museum in the morning. It’s in the Kensington area which is right near Hyde Park, a big public garden, as well. Maggie Jones’s served great food–my sirloin steak special was great and Emma’s vegetable pot pie was warm and tasted very homemade–and it wasn’t particularly crowded or touristy either which was a good escape from the busy streets and the crowds.

5.) British Museum- We did this on our first day in the city as it was close to our hotel and we were exhausted from our flight (we flew Virgin Atlantic which I would recommend). The museum is free with a five pound donation requested. It’s filled with great artifacts like Egyptian mummies and shabtis, the Portland Vase,  ancient and classical pottery and tools, and even the Rosetta Stone. The scope of this museum is incredible, and we definitely could have spent much more time here, so it was important to choose what we most wanted to see to get the most out of the visit.

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