It’s not hard to understand why we love London. It’s one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world. Some come for the theatre, some for the Royal Family, some for the vibrant nightlife, and others for the shopping. For us, it was the history and the world-class museums. Walking through the streets of London, you will encounter over 2,000 years of history. What seems even more amazing is that it’s all in such close proximity. Within a few minutes time you can be within eyesight of Roman, Medieval, Elizabethan, Victorian, Mid-Century, and Modern sites. All blending (mostly) harmoniously into the cityscape.
London is a very walkable city in terms of scale, but also in terms of planning. There are several beautiful parks as well as an impressive network of walking routes, seven of which are highlighted here. We loved walking along the Jubilee Walkway. At every turn there seemed to be a cultural or historical icon. It may seem odd to mention, but after spending 6 months in Southeast Asia, it was a refreshing change to walk down the street without having to dodge traffic, dangling power lines, or some other potential hazard. Don’t get me wrong. We LOVED our time in Southeast Asia. It was incredible and beautiful. We’d recommend it to everyone and we’d love to go back, but it is not the most pedestrian friendly destination.
If you love museums, London should be at the top of your list of places to visit. Whether your interests lean toward fine art or history, the selection simply can’t be beat. AND, believe it or not, 17 major museums and galleries are absolutely FREE. Here’s a list of 12 museums that are not to be missed. We visited the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Beyond their venerable collections, they both offer fantastic educational programs for kids, again completely FREE. The programs are interesting and entertaining. They are sure to keep the kids fully engaged during your visit.
One of the best ways to experience a destination is through it’s food. For us, that meant visiting a handful of London’s 4,500 pubs and exploring just a couple of its cornucopia of street markets. Pubs can be found around the world, but they don’t necessarily carry the same cultural significance as they do in the UK. Pubs are more than a drinking spot here, they are a traditional community gathering point, a communal living room. London pubs are an ideal place to take a break from sightseeing and to gain some local perspective on the city while grabbing an inexpensive meal or just a pint. Street markets are a multicultural gastronomic experience. Borough Market is a local favorite, but there are dozens of markets throughout London.
I suppose it goes without saying that the weather in London sucks. Well, for most people that’s probably true. But, we’re from Portland, Oregon. A little rain or overcast skies don’t faze you at all. Visiting London felt like home.
We loved London and we can’t wait to visit again.