One City Wonder: London (April 19-26, 2020)
One City Wonder: London (April 19-26, 2020)
TOUR PRICE: To be established in May, 2019.
AVAILABILITY: Accepting reservations on our advance courtesy interest list.
ONE CITY WONDER: LONDON, ENGLAND 2020
A young lady on one of my tours recently asked me in which city I could see myself living for a period of six months or more. The answer was simple and came to mind immediately: London. I never tire of London; indeed, if I don't go there every couple of years, I feel like I am missing a good friend. I am sure that many of you who have had the good fortune of visiting this wonderful city feel the same way. So whether you are a first time visitor to London or her long-time friend, why not come with us this on this week-long One City Wonder tour to enjoy all splendors of this great city. Below is a list of some of my favorite things to do and see in London. At the end of the list is a summary of what this Once City Wonder tour will include.
Kevin's Top Eight Joys of London:
1. Visiting the British Museum--For Free! Most of the great museums in London are free of charge, so you can pop in and out at your leisure. The British Museum is my favorite museum in the world. It houses incredible treasures, such as the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles from Greece, the Rosetta Stone and the Black Obelisk. There are free guided tours of 30-40 minutes in duration that cover different areas of the Museum's collection. After your visit to the Museum, you can stroll across the street and have a beer or English cider at the Museum Tavern (ca 1703), where Karl Marx did some of his writing. The pub grub at this tavern is particularly good. Try the shepherd's pie for sure.
2. Pubs and Beer (while we're on the subject of imbibing) -- With over 5000 pubs in the city, London is a beer-drinker's paradise. With many excellent brews to sample, you can pass hours chatting with locals, enjoying the charm, ambiance and coziness of antique surroundings and sampling the food. The British are famous for fish and chips, and this dish goes quite well with English ale. Some of my favorite pubs include the Museum Tavern above, the Churchill Arms, which celebrates the life of Britain's most famous Prime Minister and the Dog and Duck (my favorite), where George Orwell came to celebrate his sales of Animal Farm in the United States.
3. Taking in a West End Show -- What would London be without theatre? It is indeed hard to imagine. To go to London and not see a theatrical performance is in my opinion a huge mistake. There is such a variety of shows that you will have a hard time deciding which you want to attend. (Half price tickets are available in Leicester Square.) The performances are outstanding and you never know whom you will meet at one. During a 2009 visit to London, my wife and I attended the stage performance of Burnt by the Sun (based on a Russian film of the same name) at the Royal National Theatre and ran into Cate Blanchett. People are respectful of celebrities on London, so no one made a fuss, but as she was sitting in front of me, I had a hard time focusing on the show. Amazing!!!
4. Sightseeing - Wow!!! I find myself repeating that word over and over again in London as I walk through the city. Some of my favorite sights include Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster (containing both Houses of Parliament), Westminster Abbey and #10 Downing Street (home of the Prime Minister). Throw in a one hour cruise on the Thames and you will think you are in sightseeing heaven. It is not even necessary to enter some of these buildings; all you need to do is to stop, stare and absorb the beauty of their external architecture.
5. Shopping at Harrods or in Covent Garden -- Although I am not a shopper per say, I have to confess that a walk through Harrods is enough to get me to break out my wallet, even if it is only for something small. Harrods is a must-see attraction for visitors to London. This multi-storied department store is more like a museum than a shopping center. It is loaded with high quality goods covering everything imaginable. And the eateries in Harrods are to die for. My wife's favorite shopping area, though, is Covent Garden, which has a long history as an old outdoor market that has now undergone a tremendous urban renewal and is one of the hippest parts of town.
6. The Cabinet War Rooms - I have no idea why this museum isn't touted more prominently in guidebooks to London, but it is definitely one of the most incredible historical sites n the city. Sir Winston Churchill and his Cabinet stayed in these underground rooms during World War II as the city was being bombed by the Nazis. Churchill used to give his stirring BBC broadcasts from here, and lived, slept and drank in this claustrophobic setting for months on end. You can listen to some of his actual telephone conversations with Stalin, visit the Map Room, and tour Churchill's private quarters, including his bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. A visit to this museum is a moving walk through time that should not be missed by anyone even remotely interested in history.
7. Take a Day Trip Outside of London - What makes London so terrific is not only its incredible tourist attractions, but also its close proximity to a whole host of other worthy sites located outside of the city. Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle, Oxford, Cambridge, Startford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace), the Cotswolds and much more are within reasonable distances for half or full day excursions. In fact, we will be offering an optional excursion to Stonehenge and Bath for anyone interested. You may take public transportation to visit some of these places on your own, or you may sign up for a package tour with one of the many local companies that offer sightseeing excursions from London.
8. Some Other Fun Stuff -- There is so much to do in London that I am overwhelmed just writing about it! Here are some other miscellaneous activities that deserve honorable mention: going on one of the many guided London walking tours (the Jack the Ripper Walking Tour for instance), taking a ride on the London Eye (ferris wheel), riding in a traditional double-decker red bus or black cab, listening to the mad rants of crazed fanatics in the Speaker's Corner of Hyde Park, visiting Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (great for kids), watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (if you can time it right), or being lucky enough to attend the premier celebrations of a newly-released movie in Leicester Square (my wife and I got to see all the main actors of the new Star Trek movie when it premiered in 2009 at the Empire Theatre). The list goes on and on and on….but I guess you get the point by now. Come with us to London--make a new friend in her or her for the first time. You will not be disappointed!
TOUR FEATURES: This week-long tour to London has really shaped up to be one of our HOT DEALS of 2020. The tour includes round trip NON-STOP air on Virgin Atlantic Airways out of Newark Liberty International Airport (only a short ride from the Lehigh Valley); all private motor coach transfers between our hotel and the airport in London; SIX nights in the first class Copthorne Tara Hotel located in central London in lovely Kensington with lots of local shops and restaurants nearby and with excellent Tube access to all the major sites in the city; complete hearty English breakfasts daily; a half day panoramic city sightseeing tour upon arrival; an opportunity to participate in a number of optional excursions, including a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath; and a pre-departure orientation and pizza party sponsored by ArawjoTours, LLC.