This morning my travel buddy (AKA my lovely mother) and I enjoyed a delicious English style breakfast at our accommodation, the Park International Hotel, before exploring Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery on foot.
At around 11 am we walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard, which I highly recommend! It is such a fun experience seeing and listening to the marching bands play their brass instruments in traditional military uniform. If you want a good spot in the crowd best get there 20-30 minutes earlier, depending on time of year. Afterwards we did a tour of the Buckingham Palace States Rooms. Overall I thought this tour was very interesting and well worth the £26.50. It offered great insight into the royal family, with historical readings, videos, old stills, and the children's toys and clothing all on display. The interior is lavish and grand; colourful wallpaper hosts large gold framed portraits and dangling from the ceilings are giant crystal chandeliers - the type you could easily swing from... if only I weighed a little less.. and had good insurance.
We then decided to end the day with a visit to Madame Tussauds located in Marylebone, London. It was quite pricey, £30, but still enjoyable, especially if you're with kids or a group of friends. In the final room there were even Tussaud's original wax creations including Voltaire, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Another early morning today. We visited the London Dungeon which delivered an unexpected amount of entertainment to say the least. Dark and damp, we travelled underground and entered various rooms where actors performed gory, historic recounts of life in old town London. I must say I was slightly frightened with the harrowing screams coming from other tour groups, and the creepy Thames ride, but overall this was an amusing adventure that mixed gruesome history with theatre.
Next stop - The Globe Theatre. We stood and watched a play for about half an hour before our feet began to hurt from standing. It's crazy to think that poorer people back in the day had no where to sit in this theatre, subjected to standing tirelessly on their scrawny feet just to see a bit of the action. My lazy ass would rather have stayed home and peeled potatoes.
After The Globe we crossed the Millennium Bridge and headed towards St. Pauls Cathedral, an easy 10 minute walk. Although we would've loved to have gone inside to see where Prince Charles and Princess Diana said "I do" the price was a little much for us so we viewed this stunning cathedral from the exterior.
Today we started off with some shopping at Harrods, located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, before heading to the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the latter being the world's leading museum of art and design. Much of the Natural History Museum was free showcasing an exquisite dinosaur collection, a British wildlife exhibit, and a large gemstone and mineral collection.
Afterwards we journeyed to Westminster Abbey, one of the most famous religious buildings in the world. We enjoyed a relaxing stroll around the gardens and inside church, walking down the same aisle Kate Middleton did when she Wed Wills back in 2011.
That evening we saw Les Miserables on London's West End. The show wasn't as spectacular as I had anticipated but I'd still say it's worth going to see at least one of the shows to tick it off the bucket list.
After a number of train transfers, we finally arrived at Harry Potter World (about a 2hr train journey from the city) located at Warner Bros. Studios. If you're a fan of the Harry Potter films then this would definitely be worth the long trip. Or even if you love movie sets and seeing all the behind the scenes action then I'd recommend this experience to you also!
It was fascinating seeing the sets, props, and costumes on display as well as taking a further look into how the special effects were achieved within this wizarding world. By the end of the day we enjoyed some chocolate frog candies and an ice cold glass of butter beer. A day well spent.
The Tower of London is a 900 year old historic castle which once held infamous prisoners such as Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, William Wallace and Lady Jane Grey. Now, the castle is home to the crown jewels. I loved our visit to the Tower of London, it felt like I was transported back in time. After an intriguing guided tour with one of the beefeaters we then explored the grounds and stood amongst the outstanding collection of crown jewels, including the Cullinan diamond, the largest white diamond in the world costing roughly $ 400 million.
On our final day we booked a guided tour of Stonehenge, Bath and Salsbury. First stop was Stonehenge, about an hour and a half drive from the city. The enigma behind the stones still fascinates millions of tourists every year. Although we couldn't walk up and touch them the audio guide still provided us with some unique facts about these mysterious formations.
For lunch we enjoyed a traditional pub meal consisting of fish and chips with mashed peas on the side. Yum!
Our next stop was Salisbury Cathedral - visiting so many cathedrals you kind of get sick of them after awhile. Salisbury Cathedral isn't just known for its outstanding gothic architecture but is also the final resting place of the Magna Carta.
At around 2pm we reached our final destination, the beautiful city of Bath. There is so much to see and do in this town, it was a pity we were only there to visit the Roman Baths. The Baths were interesting to explore and after awhile I even began to sweat a little from the heat coming off the water. It makes you wish you could go back in time to enjoy these baths like the Romans did. My advise would be to rent a car and spend the entire day in this classic English town. That way you can take your time and not feel as though you are rushing from place to place.