Best of Britain: London, Come Rain or Shine
Our great capital has such a wealth of attractions that the question on most people’s lips isn’t “what’s there to do?” but rather “what can I fit in?” Our advice is that if you haven’t much time in London then stay central and stick to some of the more popular sites. We’ve listed a few of our favourites, with something to suit all weather types:
Home to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and the Serpentine Boating Lake, Hyde Park really comes to life when the sun is shining. Rent yourself a Santander Cycle from one of the outposts and spend an hour or two pedaling around this green space. You may wish to pass Speakers’ Corner, where freedom of speech laws mean that anyone can turn up to express their views. From April to October you can rent a pedalo and take to the Serpentine, which is also home to a great bar and kitchen. Try the made-to-order pizzas from their own wood-fired oven.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre stands just a few hundred meters from the original site built for Shakespeare back in 1599. With the theatre set out exactly as it would have been in the days of the Bard, to visit is like stepping back in time. You can take daily tours of the site, but there’s nothing quite as spectacular as seeing a Shakespeare play here. This summer both a Midsummers Night’s Dream and Macbeth are being performed. You can buy groundlings tickets for just £5 if you don’t mind standing for the performance.
Changing of the Guard
At least three times a week the Changing of the Guard takes place at 11.15 outside Buckingham Palace. This is British pomp at its best, complete with bagpipes and busby-clad soldiers. The ceremony is simply the old guard handing over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace to the new guard – but it looks much more elaborate than that. Dates change from week to week, so check Changing of the Guard for confirmed dates.
South Kensington’s Exhibition Road is home to some of the capital’s top museums. One of the best is the Science Museum, which is guaranteed to appeal to visitors of all ages. There’s an IMAX Cinema which shows a number of informative documentaries and a flight simulator which gives you a 3D experience of what it’s like to fly with the Red Arrows, or perhaps you’d rather experience the RAF’s new Typhoon Jet. Younger visitors will love the garden, with water play and a flying saucer.
Prepare to be scared on a grizzly tour through London’s past at the London Dungeon. At this interactive exhibit, you can meet some of London’s more notorious names such as Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. This year marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and to commemorate the dungeon has created a multi-sensory experience daring visitors to escape the flames. Why not see if you’ll survive it?
Get your culture fix at the Tate Modern, Britain’s largest modern art gallery. There are workshops taking place throughout the summer including Material World, where you can become part of an immersive art work that looks at how artists use materials. The top paintings to see are Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman, Salvador’s Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.
Where to Stay
If you’re hoping to get some shopping done on your break, this hotel in the heart of Oxford Street will appeal. Guests also benefit from Chinese, Italian and Japanese restaurants on site and a cosy pub.
Rooms from £95 per night.
In the heart of the West London, the Strand Palace is located close to some of London’s top theatres. Rooms are modern and comfortable and guests receive complimentary access to a Virgin Active Health Club.
Rooms from £151 per night.
Just 5 minutes’ walk from London Waterloo station, the Ibis offers modern and comfortable rooms which benefit from free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour food and drink service. The Tate Modern is just a ten-minute walk from this hotel too.
Rooms from £72 per night.
Why not book your break to London now!
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