The London Virgin

by on March 8th, 2015
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London, England is one of the many European cities on the minds of young and old Americans alike. This city provides a great out of country experience without jumping straight through the language barrier as a fresh traveler. London holds a lot of history, as well as sites of famous events that have captured the world’s attention. This trip is worth every single penny paid.

My first visit to London was a few years ago, for a community theatre trip, and it is still one of my favorite and closest memories. Everything about the city was beautiful and there was so much to do. First time visitors to England should keep a few things in mind, however:
1) It is important to get informed about the culture and society. You may not be in the streets of India or visiting towns in Germany, but you should still be weary of not offending anyone.

2) When finding hotels to stay at during your visit, keep in mind that room sizes are very different from those here in America. If you have a large four star hotel room set in mind, with tons of space and two large beds, you may be in over your head. Really look at hotel rooms.

3) Most places won’t allow you to be able to directly plug in your electronics to an outlet. You will most likely need an adapter. I made the mistake of not looking into this and ending up with a dead phone by the end of the week. If you aren’t sure if your hotel provides a direct plug or not, it’s always safe to bring an adapter.

4) The tube is your friend! The tube is the underground subway in London. Scary as it may seem, it can be ten times better than walking all over the city. We rode them a lot. There are a lot of homeless who gather in the entrance ways at night, so be careful around those times with walking around alone or with your purse.

5) Always, no matter in the tube or not, keep your purse tightly guarded. When I went, I had a long strap to go across my body. I also made it a habit to put the purse underneath my coat.

6) Pay attention to signs, especially at cross walks. The streets are different and pretty confusing around London. Keeping close attention to street signs will help you out a lot and keep you from any accidents while crossing.

7) Be mindful of your expenses and how much money you are bringing along. Everything is generally more expensive there than in the states, so keep that in mind when planning a trip to London.

With those little tips in mind, it is time for the fun. Here is a list of some great places in London that I enjoyed.

1) The Tower of London happens to be my favorite spot in my first London trip. For those who have a strong love for history, this is a wonderful place to be. The Tower of London is actually a series of towers and buildings within a walled area. This is wear Ann of Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth’s lover were beheaded. This is also the site of the mysterious bloody tower murders. If you aren’t that much of a history buff, you will still love it. The crowned jewels and some beautiful sights are located within these walls.

2) The Globe Theater is located within London and is sure to be a treat for any lovers of theater. Unfortunately, it is not the original, but it is built as an exact replica. You learn about the functions of each part of the theater, history behind it and about Shakespeare himself.

3) For those who love haunted houses, The Tower of London will have you screaming and having a good time. This is one of the best haunted houses I have ever been in. Each section of the haunted house is a story or legend in London, such as Sweeney Todd the demon barber and Jack the Ripper. The actors in the haunted house are amazing and really do a good job. There is also a gift shop at the end with cool trinkets and apparel!

4) Picadilly Circus has some of the best shops in London and it is the place to find great musicals and shows. I saw Les Miserables, Blue Man Group, and We Will Rock You theatrical at the theatres here and they were all amazing. The shops I visited were fun, interesting and really cool. However, my group and I did make some wrong turns and found ourselves in red light districts. It’s always good to not wander around too aimlessly.

There are other places, like the church where Princess Diane was married, the Palace, The London Eye, the Bank where Gringotts in Harry Potter was filmed, and more. Take full advantage of your experience and explore to your heart’s content. I guarantee there will be so much to do that couldn’t be possibly covered in a week like my trip was. The city of London always has you wanting more, and it is definitely worth more than one visit.

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