London Travel Tips

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What is Westminster Abbey?

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has been the church chosen for the coronation in London since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. Every monarch in England since William the Conqueror, with the exception of Edward V and VIII (who were never crowned), has been crowned in Westminster Abbey.

Church services are still held in Westminster Abbey on a daily basis and are open for the public to attend. The church is also used for the celebration of large events in the life of England. The church contains over 600 monuments and wall tablets, as well as the most important collection of monumental sculptures in England.

More than a million visitors travel to Westminster Abbey each year. English speaking individuals and families are invited to go on a 90 minute Verger-led tour of the Abbey which includes the Shrine, poets' Corner, the Royal Tombs, and the Cloisters and the Nave. The tours are limited to 25 people and cost five pounds per visitor. If you are traveling with a group of 26 or less you can also arrange a guided tour with the Abbey staff in advance. For individuals who prefer a self guided tour, audio guides of the Abbey are available in a variety of different languages and can be purchased for four pounds a piece.

   
What is the Globe Theater?

Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Shakespeare's Globe Theater is a London establishment designed to showcase and celebrate the work of William Shakespeare. The theater is a reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599, where Shakespeare showed many of his most famous plays. The theater is well worth a visit for Shakespeare lovers and a must-see for anyone who loves theater.

The Globe is located on the south bank of the Thames River opposite St. Paul's Cathedral. The theater brings in close to 750,000 visitors a year to see shows and learn about Shakespeare's plays and his life.

The Globe is an open-air theater meaning that it has no roof and thus only has productions during the warmer months. The Globe theater season runs from May through October each year, showing not only the work of Shakespeare but also the work of several modern playwrights. Productions will continue on no matter what the weather so theater goers are encouraged to come prepared for rain. Visitors are not permitted to use umbrellas during productions so they do not obscure the view of other patrons.

Tickets can be purchased for shows online in advance or through the theaters box office.

   
How can I go to Wimbledon?

Wimbledon

Wimbledon is held during the end of June to the beginning of July each year in London. If you're a tennis fan then there can be nothing better than seeing a match first hand during your trip to London.

If you think you would like to see a match at Wimbledon then you need to plan in advance, WAY in advance. The majority of the Centre No.1 and No.2 court tickets are given out through a drawing system. Anyone can apply for tickets between the beginning of August and middle of December of the previous year. Winners are drawn from all the applicants and then given the opportunity to obtain tickets.

If you don't get tickets early you can still get tickets at the turnstiles. Around 500 tickets are saved for each of the Centre, No 1 and No 2 courts. Due to the limited number available it is not uncommon for people to camp out overnight for the opportunity to get tickets. Around 6000 ground tickets are also made available to the public each day depending on the amount of people already within the gates and on weather conditions.

Even if you have a car during your stay in London you may want to use public transportation to and from Wimbledon. Traffic can be very heavy during the championships and public parking is limited. There are regular rails services from the center of town to Wimbledon Station, as well as bus and taxi services.

   
When should I travel to London?

When to Travel to London

London travel is at its busiest from the middle of April to the middle of October. The best time to visit London depends on what you would like to do while you're on your London vacation.

London can be a spectacular place to visit during the spring and summer months for its elaborate gardens. But if you do decide to travel during the warm months, keep in mind that the majority of buildings in London will not be air conditioned so things can get hot. Many of the modern hotels, restaurants, and stores are air conditioned but they are few and far between.

Winter can also be a beautiful time to travel to London. The U.K. capital gets snow during the colder months, which can be wonderful to see in the city. Even in the bitter cold most tours and attractions will continue on.

London weather is ever changing. When you do travel to London bring clothing for a variety of different weather conditions. You will more than likely encounter rain at least once during your stay, no matter how short it is, so an umbrella and raincoat are must-haves.

   
How can I get to Abbey Road?

Abbey Road

Abbey Road was made a popular destination for London tours when the Beatles used a photograph of themselves walking across the road and away from their recording studio in 1969 for the cover of their album Abbey Road

Many London visitors try to recreate the famous picture of John, Paul, George and Ringo by walking across the same spot and snapping a photo. In recent years Abbey Road has become a reasonably busy street making standing still or walking slowly while your photo is being taken, not the safest idea.

Abbey Road is included in many London walking tours. If you're a huge Beatles fan you may want to take a Beatles specific walking tour of the area. There are several London tours available that will take you to various Beatles landmarks throughout the city in additional to Abbey Road for a small fee.

If you're traveling to Abbey Road on your own you can easily get there on the subway. Abbey road is located a mere 3 blocks from the St. John's Wood stop.

   
What is there to do at Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular London tours and attractions and a must-see on any London vacation.

Buckingham Palace is the official home of the Queen of England and is also the administrative headquarters of the monarchy. More than 50,000 people are invited to Buckingham palace as guests of the monarchy for dinners, receptions, banquets, and Royal Garden Parties. Most events organized by the by monarchy are held in Buckingham palace, including royal ceremonies as well as state visits from heads of other countries.

One of the most popular things for tourists to see at Buckingham palace is the changing of the guard. The changing of the guard lasts about 45 minutes and takes place at 11:30 every day during the summer and every other day during the winter. The changing of the guard entails a reasonably elaborate ceremony where the new Guard will march in from Wellington Barracks and the old guard will hand over their duties.

Visitors are allowed to visit selected parts of the castle via a guided tour. The tour is available throughout the day. The frequency of the tours is determined by the amount of tour guides available at any time.

   
What is St. Paul's Cathedral?

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral has been a London icon since 604 A.D. The current cathedral is the fourth to be built there and was built between 1675 and 1710, after the third cathedral was destroyed in the great fire of London.

Whether you are religious or not, St. Paul's Cathedral is a must-see London attraction if only for its elaborate and ornate architecture. The cathedral has been the setting for a variety of important events in London's history. St. Paul's was the site of the funeral of Lord Nelson, the duke of Wellington, and Sir Winston Churchill. The cathedral was the site of peace services marking the end of the first and second world wars and was also the site for the wedding of Price Charles and Princess Diana. The dome of the cathedral showcases fantastic 18th century paintings and the cathedral floor is the home to art by artists such as William Hunt and Sergi Chepik.

Every St. Paul's Cathedral visitor should make a trip up the cathedral's winding spiral staircase to the Whispering Gallery, and experience one of the most amazing panoramic views of London from the cathedral's Stone and Golden galleries.

The cathedral is open Monday through Saturday.

   
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Sherril Steele-Carlin