London Calling

Well, we have returned from our British sojourn, and it is time for me to debrief you. You can start by heading over to the KVNU site, where I highlight some British news stories.

I would like to take this chance to share the BRC's take on several of the attractions we visited, just in case you happen to be headed that way anytime soon. Also, maybe someone who Googles "England Recommendations" might end up here (especially since I just typed it in).

Ratings are on a 1-4 scale, 4 being best. Ratings are the average of the votes of MacKenzie and I.

Tower of London - 2.5

One of those must-see attractions, but all you really see is a bunch of rooms. The crown jewels are there too. Take the Beefeater tour, it is quite entertaining, although a little heavy on beheading jokes.

Double Decker Bus Tour - 4

Good way to see the major sites, and to get around, since you can hop on and off all day. The guide is important, so if you don't like the one you get, disembark and wait 10 minutes for the next bus. A highlight of this is when the guide points out homes of people such as Margaret Thatcher, Sean Connery, and Elton John (who is apparently known as "England's second queen").

Globe Theater - 4

I was reluctant to pay $18 to see this, but it was worth it. I left really wanting to see a play there, but the season only runs May-Oct.

Imperial War Museum - 3

I could have spent hours here, looking at war memorabilia. The mockup of a WWI trench was neat, but the London Blitz experience wasn't as good. Also has a well-done Holocaust exhibit. Apparently they're not worried about offending Muslims.

St. Paul's Cathedral - 4

Awe-inspring church, with a neat America chapel created after WWII. The crypt in the basement has some famous people and a cafe (but most of it was closed for a wedding when we were there - yes, a wedding) . The climb to the Whispering Dome is worthwhile, but I could have skipped the trip to the very top of the Dome, as I am not into heights.

British Museum - 3

I thought I'd like this more, but I wasn't too intrigued by old pottery, jewelry, and statues. The Rosetta Stone and the mummified bodies boost this site's score, though (as does the fact that it's free - London is expensive). I wouldn't schedule too much time here.

Harrods - 1.5

It's a mall. Skip it.

Westminster Abbey - 4

It's neat to see where the coronation takes place, and to see tombs of kings and queens. The fact that the building is almost 1000 years old is also quite amazing. We did the audio tour, so I can't comment on the guided tour.

We also went to Bath, a town in western England in which the Romans used the hot springs to build a bath (hence the name of the town). I recommend this trip. It gave us a gradual acclimation to England before we hit the big-city bustle. Two must-do features here are the Bizarre Bath tour, a humorous walk about town in the evening, and the Mad Max full-day tour, which took us to Stonehenge and a couple small villages.

I will have more to report at a later time. I'd be interested to hear how you London veterans feel about our recommendations.


  1. Well, I wouldn't call myself a veteran, but as I have been there once, I feel I can comment.

    I was glad to see a low rating on the Tower, because Eric and I skipped that tour. It was expensive, so we did the ceremony of the keys, which included free entry into the Tower. The ceremony was cheesy, so I liked it and Eric didn't. :)

    St. Paul's was definitely a 4 in my book, maybe even a 6. The climb was a bit much, but I enjoyed the outside views more than the whispering dome.

    Harrod's, yeah, skip it. I think we spent about 45 minutes inside, and most of that time was trying to get the heck out! It was insane.

    We didn't do the Globe tour, but I would really like to see a play performed there. Since it also wasn't play season, we just skipped it but took some pictures of the outside.

    Westminster Abbey = awesome. I also really enjoyed seeing the markers for the composers and writers that were buried in the Abbey. Very humbling experience to see all those important people in one resting place.

    I also really enjoyed the British Library. Not sure if you went there or not, but it had some pieces of the Magna Carta (I think the rest of it burned, as it seems everything in London does a time or four), original Bibles and dictionaries, original Alice in Wonderland, and some original compositions and scores by sweet composers to name a few.

    And last, but certainly not least, I would have to give "Wicked" a rating of 1,000,000. Yes, one million. Of course, that is with Idina. Without Idina, maybe only a 500,000. But still, if you are in London, go see "Wicked!" Make haste. The end.

  2. Quite a bit of the British museum was not open due to renovations and such. That was a little frustrating because it had things I really wanted to see...like the bog man.