Paris is known as the city of love and we agree, but don’t discount the land of Kings and Queens: London. The Fighting Couple proudly declares that London is for Lovers. The city subtly echoes romance: beautiful parks, a palace, knights, and jewels. The modern city dotted with history is the perfect place to spend a weekend or a week. Here’s our top 10 ways to fall in love in London:
1. Ride the “Eye”
The famous Ferris Wheel gives you an eye’s view of the city: Parliament, the River Thames, and on a clear day Windsor Castle about 25 miles away. Tickets start at 19 pounds; save 10 percent if you buy online. Enjoy the view, your love, and a kiss high flying over London.
2. Tower of London and Crown Jewels
See where past loves were executed (Anne Boyelyn) while ruling the realm. Built by William the Conquer almost 1000 years ago, it’s an impressive fortress. Plan on spending at least 4 hours seeing St. John’s Chapel, Traitor’s Gate which let in such famous occupants as Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh as well as looking at the displays of military machinery, and walking the perimeter. You’ll also get a peek at the Crown Jewels on the moving walkway that eases past the diamonds and rubies.
2.5 Take Turns Being on Top
….of the double decker bus that is! One of the most iconic images of Great Britain are the bright red double deckers. Needless to say, perched above the traffic you can take in a royal view of the city. For some of the fascinating history of the red double deckers check out: http://www.doubledecker-bus.com
3. Tower Bridge Picture
It’s not the London Bridge sung in many a child’s nursery rhymes, but it is still impressive. While many of London’s attractions are pricey, a picture in front of the bridge is free. After seeing the Tower of London, take a few pictures in front of the bridge and prove to your friends you actually were in London together.
For helpful hints with getting around London, check out our recent travel post: “Mind the Gap!”
4. Westminster Abbey
It’s free and it’s fantastic. See where William and Kate tied the knot and where England’s literary and political leaders are memorialized. No top 10 list of London attractions would be complete without a visit to this church. C.S. Lewis was recently memorialized there. He joins Shakespeare, Lewis Carrol, Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Drake, John Milton and another 3000 people buried inside the Church. Pictures are not permitted inside, so buy postcards to remember your visit. Check out the Abbey’s website. It’s got some great extra features. http://www.westminster-abbey.org/
5. Find Love at the Theater
The Fighting Couple loves Broadway, but there’s something a cut above about the West End. Many of Broadway’s biggest hits were hits first in London: Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Mamma Mia and the new Tony award winning show Matilda. London has a TKTS too. So watch and enjoy and then brag to your friends how you saw “that” show years before it came to America.
6. St. Pauls in London:
This mighty church stands like the patriarch of the city, outlasting and surviving the blitz of World War II. It’s the on the highest point in London. A church has occupied the site since 664 AD. See where Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill’s funerals were held as well as Lord Nelson and the marriage of Diana Spencer and Charles.
8. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace:
– A fairytale trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing some stuffy guards in tall furry hats. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is a London tradition and it’s also free. Check the Royal’s official website for the schedule. There’s even a Changing of the Guard app on iTunes featuring an interactive map and interviews.
8.5 Find the Lady of Shalott at the Tate Gallery
No picture is more romantic than the Lady of Shalott based on Tennyson’s famous work. But any Anne of Green Gables aficionado knows that the Lady of Shalott is perhaps one of the most romantic scenes in the book and the movie where Gilbert rescues Anne from her sinking canoe and her imagination. Guys, see the picture for your love. It will pay off in the end! The Tate Britain, featuring more than 500 years of British art, is open daily and offers free admission. For a special treat, try their “Tate Tours for Two” tour.
9. Windsor Castle
See where real Kings and Queens live. No trip to London would be complete without a trip to Windsor Castle, the oldest occupied castle in the world. A short 30 minute Tube ride, it’s worth the trip. Wander around the delicate English gardens holding hands. There’s also a Changing of the Guard procession here. The tour features the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel, and Queen Mary’s Miniature Dollhouse. There’s usually a special exhibition on display as well. Christmas is a beautiful time to visit as the Castle is decorated with garland, trees, and wreaths.
10. Skip the fish and chips and eat Indian
Also, buy Hobnobs for home. There are some swanky places to eat in London, but English food isn’t known for its tasty cuisine. As Great Britain ruled half of the modern world at one time, there is a melting pot of non-English food choices. Skip the greasy fish and chips and try some authentic Indian food. Even better, pack your suitcase with the Fighting Couple’s favorite cookie: chocolate Hobnobs. Sure, you can buy them at international stores like World Market, but fresh Hobnobs are better.