Happy Friday! Doing things that you shouldn’t do is usually embarrassing, right? I think this is double true when you are a visitor in a foreign country. Which brings me to……
This week we will focus on London tourism.
1. Yes, traffic goes a different way than most American are used to. Luckily, almost every street in London is painted with “Look Left” “Look Right” to remind you how not to step out into traffic. But directions are very important in other ways too or else you’re really going to start to piss people off (especially on the tube or in busy streets.) If you are on an escalator STAND ON THE RIGHT, and leave the left hand side open to people that are walking up the escalator. And contrary to the way traffic flows, is the flow of walking on the sidewalk (pavement). You walk on your right, just like you would on any sidewalk in America.
2. Don’t get your landmarks confused. Big Ben is not the tower, it is the bell INSIDE the tower. In fact the tower is actually called the Elizabeth II Tower.
(This is technically not Big Ben)
The same goes for London Bridge. As in the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is falling down”. When people sing this song they imagine this bridge:
(This is Tower Bridge. Not London Bridge.
Look at all that Olympics prep that I photographed badly!)
3. Don’t go to Buckingham Palace expecting to see the Queen. On one hand that seems like a no brainer. On the other hand, you see thousands of people sit outside just staring at windows. Why are they staring? Because the flag is flying. This same flag:
(Union Jack over Buckingham Palace)
The urban legend is the flag only flies when the Queen is in residence. That is simply not true. If she’s in the royal standard is raised as well. It looks like this:
(If you see this over Buckingham Palace the Queen may be chillin’ inside eating some tea and crumpets.)
4. Most museums in London are free and I flippin’ love that fact. I love, love, love the Victorian and Albert Museum. I think the V&A is a MUST SEE for tourists and residents alike. (I think the British Museum is a tad over-rated but shush, don’t tell.) These are just two examples of the many MANY free museums.
Now I am about to say something controversial: most people say to skip the Tower of London because they charge admission of about 17 GBP ($25ish). I disagree. I love the Tower of London. Sam loves the Tower of London. My mom loved it. You get your money’s worth because you could literally stay there all day long doing different activities. See the crown jewels, check. See the ravens, check. (Legend is if the ravens leave the tower it spells the downfall of Britain.) Take a tour by some hilariously cheesy but knowledgeable guides, check. See some re-enactments and the poor actors roped it doing it, check. See a torture chamber, check. Seriously. Its great.
(Look how much fun Sam and I are having.)
5. Take or leave the leave the London Eye. If you want to spend money on it, that’s your perogotive. I think it’s one of those things that everyone does eventually. Just to say that they’ve done it really. But if you don’t want to, you’re not missing that much. I spent 2 years in London before I went up, Sam spent about 10. Your ticket purchase does include a 13 minute 4D video if that sways your decision to go or not to go.
(Before the 4D show. We really know how to live life to the fullest.)
(Big Ben aka Queen Elizabeth II Tower as viewed from the London Eye.)
(Handsome man face while on the London Eye.
He’s actually TERRIFIED of heights. If you look at his eyes you can see the fear
This photo is my I-phone lock screen- HA!)