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One of the really wonderful things about London I find is that there’s always some little gem just around the corner if you’re willing to look. There are an innumerable amount of wonderful things to see in London. However, if you’re short on time, here’s a couple sites you could hit while you spend one day in London.
Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden
What’s so beautiful about Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden is all the multi-colored buildings. It’s like some odd mix of Sesame Street colors, but they fit together so well that I don’t even mind. Neal’s Yard isn’t super hard to find but I would advise checking it out on a map or GPS prior to walking there as it’s not super easy to find either. Covent Garden was but a short walk from where I was staying at YHA Oxford Street. The YHA Oxford Street location is perfectly centrally located in London. Making it easy to walk to places like Neal’s Yard and other little gems.
If you’re strolling down the Strand, or near Trafalgar square, stop by Somerset House. It’s a really nice location previously owned by some wealthy Danish people. Currently, it’s a museum and a prime filming location, The Duchess was filmed in part here. Some of the exhibits are free, yey! Some are not, but it’s worth it just to walk into the courtyard. There’s a fountain there so if you’re hot, do like the kids did when I was there and run right through!
The Tower of London Tour
That first picture is the White Tower at the Tower of London. I’ve visited the Tower of London twice and had an excellent time on both occasions. I could spend my whole day in London just at the Tower. My second visit we coincidentally went when it was the Queen’s birthday and they had all sorts of military salutes going on for her! On the Tower of London tour you’ll be able to see the crown jewels. Note that you can’t take pictures of the jewels. Don’t be a pain like the girl on line in front of me who tried to and got in an argument with a guard for it. Be respectful! This is also where Anne Boleyn’s coronation parade started and where she was beheaded. Talk about having your happiest day and worst day at the same location.
What I really liked was the Tower of London tour audio guide here, it’s very detailed and entertaining. It gives a lot of information but through creative devices like music and storytelling. One of the most remarkable things about the Tower is that a lot of the carvings made by prisoners housed in the Tower are still here. Thank you for not graffitiing the graffiti. Many famous prisoners were housed here until their execution. There’s a whole exhibit on torture and what it was like to be at the Tower. The Tower no longer holds prisoners, it now houses the Beefeaters. You’ve probably seen them on that bottle of gin you have somewhere. As it’s an honor to be a Beefeater here, they really love their jobs and are some of the nicest people. Feel free to ask them anything.
London Film Museum
The London Film Museum is also a good place to visit, if you’re a film and television nut like me. The one near the London Eye (another great attraction, even if you are scared of heights!) has a fee, the Covent Garden location is free. However, it does close for private events so check the schedule before you go. This museum needs a little help, there was minimal information for visitors on the exhibits. There is a great exhibit on Charlie Chaplin if you’re interested. I’m not really into Chaplin so this wasn’t all that exciting for me but the Sherlock Holmes room was. They have recreated the set from the Jeremy Brett series for display.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tickets
Last but not least, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! This was my favorite thing I did in London this time around. Globe theatre tickets only cost five pounds for standing room, the seats are more of course. It is about three hours long, with intermission, but it’s completely worth it. I saw the “Tempest” and it was phenomenal! My aunt who doesn’t know much about Shakespeare even enjoyed it. This isn’t your high school production of Shakespeare, many of these actors have won notable awards and have spent time on screen.
What’s truly amazing about this is that they use minimal props and set dressing and still clearly get their story across. I also noticed that they didn’t use mics, and still no one had any problems hearing them. This people, is what acting is really about! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Plus, if you get lucky like I did, you’ll get to stare at Colin Morgan for three hours! Not a bad way to spend one day in London.