With the 2012 Olympics officially underway in London, I can’t help but reflect back on a fabulous visit I made to the area a few years ago and all the amazing sites I soaked up during the trip.
I never thought I’d really enjoy London…after all, I’m a Florida gal who loves the sunshine and had always heard how “cold and dreary” England was.
I was happily surprised. I not only liked London, I loved it.
We spent the first day in meetings with Lords and Knights, sharing tips and connections on successful business in Britain, topped off by a party at Kensington Palace and the Orangery.
The entire next day I spent as a tourist with some other entrepreneurs who were on the trip. By 6pm that night, I was on a flight headed to Greece, so keep in mind I was able to see all this truly in less than 24 hours.
If you get the chance to visit during the Olympics, well, obviously that will be an opportunity of a lifetime. All the things I’m mentioning are there year round, so you can visit any time!
This was how we packed it all in:
Jump on a double-decker bus and listen carefully to your guide. Ours was an elderly fellow who pointed out all the great sites and shared the stories behind them, along with what I consider bonus material. For example, do you know the term “pulling my leg” came from the days when there were public hangings? The death was slow and painful, so loved ones would pay small children in the street to go pull the leg of the person being hanged so that they would die sooner. Interesting, huh?
You can jump off the double-decker anywhere along the trip, see what you’d like on foot, then jump back on. We chose to jump off near Big Ben, the iconic clock in London. We walked over to the London Eye and then jumped on the boat tour on the River Thames down to London Tower. Again, that was a great way to find out facts about the city from a waterview. My favorite part of this was actually seeing the London Bridge, which is not at all what you’d imagine. According to our guide, in the 1960’s, the real London Bridge couldn’t keep up structurally with growing traffic and was dismantled and rebuilt as a tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Surprising, huh?
I’m sure I’m not the only tourist who confused it with the Tower Bridge that is closest to the Tower of London. That one is stunning.
The Tower of London was my favorite tourist spot and well worth the price of the tour. It’s where the Queen’s Jewels are kept under lock and key and multiple guards. “Beefeaters” guide you through the buildings, and the stories of the history of all that happened within the walls.
After our tour there, we hustled over to Buckingham Palace for the must-get photo opp, standing in front of the massive gates that protect the Queen. We also made a quick stop at Westminster Abbey where all the coronations are held, along with royal weddings and funerals.