With hundreds of years of history, London has so much to see. While you can never see it all in one trip, here’s part one of a my favorite things to do in London!
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One thing that initially attracted me to my current job was the potential for work travel. As a personal assistant I do a little bit of everything, but a perk of that has been that I got to accompany my Person [I think that’s what we’ll call her, just to keep things confidential] to London! The trip turned out to be pretty fast-paced; there were lots of quick turnarounds and early mornings to maximize my Person’s time.
The trip wasn’t all business meetings, however. We did get a chance to do some sightseeing, both accompanying Person and a bit with a coworker.
So what were the highlights?
I got really excited when I realized we had planned our trip within the 8 week window that Buckingham Palace allows tours! We spent a morning wandering around with hundreds of our closest friends, but the crowds are just part of the deal, right? I LOVED it. The art, the history, the architecture. The sheer amount of history that has happened in that building is just incredible to think about. And somebody gets to live there?! Perks of being royal.
Did you know that Buckingham Palace was initially built as a country palace? That’s weird to think about.
Another fun fact: they start setting up (not just grocery shopping or seating charts, mind you, but actually setting up the room) THREE WHOLE DAYS before a state dinner. That’s how long it takes to set the table and polish everything in order to be pristine in time.
You can’t take photographs inside the building, but it’s an absolutely beautiful place that I’m so glad I got to explore!
The tour finishes in back of the palace where they’ve set up a gift shop and cafe. The grounds are a gorgeous little oasis in the midst of the hectic London streets.
If you’re planning a trip to London, definitely check out Buckingham Palace!
The wildcard in our trip was a day trip outside the city to visit Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill. Something like that wouldn’t have been on my radar to visit, but my Person was really excited about the opportunity. His home and grounds have been preserved and opened up to the public as a museum: partly displayed as it was when the Churchill family lived there, partly converted to memorialize his life, leadership, and death.
While I knew Churchill was an incredible leader throughout his life, I didn’t know about some of his more artistic talents. Did you know Churchill won a Nobel prize for his seven volume work covering World War 2? Or that he was a prolific (and talented) painter? We got to explore his studio as part of our time on the grounds and I was blown away by the beauty of his work.
Chartwell is about 90 minutes outside of London, so it’s an easy day trip. Well worth the drive if you’re a history buff or interested in seeing what a home was like in the 20th century!
DINNER CRUISE ON THE THAMES
Something I really loved on our trip was a dinner cruise down the Thames! We got onboard just as twilight settled over the city, and the views shifted as the darkness fell. The movement of the boat was slow enough that we got some gorgeous photos, and managed to stay dry and have fun in spite of the off and on rain!
All three of those excursions were with my coworkers, which meant we’ve got a variety of ages, interests, and travel experiences. Even so, all three appealed to each of us in different ways. So if you’re traveling with a group I’d recommend these as great places to start your London explorations!
That, and try some pub food. I couldn’t get enough of meat pies and beer or cider!
Want more? You can also check out more of my favorite parts of London or how to see London in a weekend.
3 thoughts on “London explorations, part 1”
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