by Ann Craig-Cinnamon
London, which is in the world spotlight because of the Olympics this month, is one of our favorite cities of the world to visit. Not only is London a fun, vibrant city with lots to see and do but we find the history vastly interesting. Indeed, there’s no other country in the world whose history is more linked with our own. London, itself, has tons of iconic sites to see such as Big Ben, the Parliament building, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. A tour of the Tower of London is like taking a 1,000 year tour through time. It’s where kings and queens ruled for centuries, you can view the Crown Jewels and you can see where a few of Henry the VIII’s wives literally lost their heads.
For those more into glitz, check out Piccadilly which is like our own Times Square and where you’ll find the very first Hard Rock Café. Don’t forget to visit a pub and have a pint or two. A visit to London is not complete without a ride on the subway, called the Underground or simply “the Tube,” but be sure to “mind the gap,” as they say!
Outside London, but within easy driving distance are numerous historically significant sites. Travel northwest and hit the Salisbury plain where as you drive along (on the LEFT side of the road, remember) you’ll suddenly see stark monoliths rising on the flat plain in the distance. Stonehenge has been sitting there for 4,000 years intriguing everyone who passes by. On the same day’s journey, you can hit Stratford-Upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare and visit his wife, Anne Hathaway’s, cottage. Not too far away, is our all-time favorite castle, Warwick. It has been restored and looks like something straight out of a movie set in the English Middle Ages.
South from London is Windsor Castle which is still used by the queen, and Dover Castle which has the ruins of a 2,000 year old Roman lighthouse. Bath and Brighton along the southeast coast are worth a visit too.
If you’ve never been outside the US, England is a great place to start. The natives are generally friendly and they do speak the same language … well, sort of. And, as the Brits say, it’s a jolly good time! cg