A good sign that your latest trip was well worth it, is that you leave having a list of what to do on your trip back. I feel like my “What Remains” lists getting longer and longer the more times I visit a favorite locale. Not only are there the places I didn’t have time for on that initial trip, but I keep my eyes open to any new spots I find out about as time passes. This is why my travel archives are expanding with every breathe I take.
Since I haven’t been back to London since my first trip in 2009, I have an extensive bank of research of what I want to see. I didn’t delve into that to make this list, rather these are the most important items that I already knew I would need to get to upon my return. They are the places that still peak my interest all of these years later and I am sure they still will on the lucky day I get to finally experience them.
Many of these experiences are also apart of the London Pass, something I plan on definitely using again.
- Afternoon Tea - Preferably at The Ritz, a classic London tradition, where Afternoon Tea has been served since 1906. Be prepared to dress for the occasion a la Downton Abbey.
- Elephant Man Bones / Royal London Hospital Museum - I have become infatuated with this true story, even more so since I saw Bradley Cooper portray the lead role on Broadway (http://bit.ly/2mO4rPV). Thus I long to see the preserved bones of one of the world’s most famous men at the location where he lived most of his life.
- Double Decker Bus Tour / London By Boat - Double decker tours and London go hand-in-hand. Even though I saw most of the city on foot I still would greatly enjoy seeing it up high or from a boat on the Thames River.
- City Hall and 10 Downing Street - My love of government does not solely apply to America. London’s City Hall is of interest to me. I would love to step foot inside and see where many important decisions have been made. In that same vein I want to visit 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister. Looking back I cannot believe how close I was when I visited the Cabinet War Rooms (http://bit.ly/2Bc4YUA). It is actually bothering me quite a lot right now. Although you cannot visit inside as a tourist or civilian, I still would love a picture of myself standing in front of that infamous address.
- Big Ben and House of Parliament - My final and perhaps most important government sites in all of London are of course Big Ben and the House of Parliament. I so want to take a tour and see one of the World Heritage sites where William the Conquerer’s son once stood. These two locations also happen to be some of the most iconic images of London we have seen.
- Royal Mews - The Royal Mews are located adjacent to Buckingham Palace and are the official Queen’s horses. On this tour you will see all of the gilded coaches and motorcars the Royal family uses for an array of occasions.
- National Gallery of Art - While I am not an art lover this museum is not a typical art museum. Here there are portraits of every ruler since the 1500s and even “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gough. I do not need any other reasons to visit.
- The London Dungeon - Even though I took the official Jack the Ripper Walking Tour (http://bit.ly/2nYonkr) I will never be satisfied so I need to hit up The London Dungeon for their Jack the Ripper experience. I am pretty excited about their other scary stories they want to share with me too.
- Selfridges - Not to be confused with the other department store giant, Harrods (http://bit.ly/2GUE9of), Selfridges is a success story in its own right. American store owner Harry Selfridge created what we now know as the department store experience. His story is so alluring PBS even made it into a series staring Jeremy Piven. The way someone wants to visit Chanel and buy a scarf, I long to visit Selfridges and walk out with a shopping bag of my own.
- Highclere Castle - I am a big Downton Abbey fan (http://bit.ly/2Eqj47G) and so I must see the historic castle where much of it was filmed. I also long to see the English countryside where the current Lord Carnavon holds court and the many precious belongings that dates back through his ancestry.
- Dartmoor Zoo - If you like me, saw “We Bought a Zoo”, and fell in love with both the story and the zoo, then you will have to join me on this excursion. I follow them on social media and every time they post something I get more antsy to visit. Once I am on their side of the pond again I hope to meet the owner Benjamin Mee and their collection of amazing animals. There is a small part of me that would adore living in a zoo filled with wild animals. So cool.
- Stonehenge - Another field trip I have longed for. While much is unknown about these stone structures date back to around 3100 B.C. This world wonder is about ninety minutes outside of London but is something I believe is or should be on every traveler’s list.
On the final and fifth day of my time in London I hoped aboard a train that whisked me away to a city I fall in love with more and more each day; Paris. The Chunnel is a great way to travel between both cities and the entire trip only takes about two and a half hours. Even better, the cost is much cheaper than flying and who really wants to go through all that hassle anyway? I sure didn’t.
After my wonderful experience in London, I got to spend another five magical days in Paris. It is no wonder this was one of the very best vacations of my life.
I hope you take some time one day to visit London and see all of the experiences that will make you live the life you imagine.
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