Over Spring Break I traveled to London and saw some magnificent sites. If you’re planning on traveling to this UK city anytime soon, here are some tips and things you definitely have to check out while you’re there.
Before you travel out of the country, here are some things you must have/remember:
- An updated American passport. If you are 16 years of age or older, you must renew your passport every 10 years. If you don’t have one, an application usually takes about four-six weeks so make sure you put in it early enough. A passport costs roughly $140.
- England does not take U.S. dollars, so make sure you convert your money once you get there to their monetary system, Pounds, or Sterling. Currently the exchange rate is not in our favor at around £1.58 Pounds for every American $1.00.
- Book a flight. In the summer, traveling to Europe can be pretty costly. For example, an average flight in July for Continental Airlines from Philadelphia to London/Heathrow is approximately $1,300.
- Booking a hotel will add to these costs, as well as any tours or day trips you may plan, food, and spending. Be sure you account for all of these expenses before deciding to travel to the appealing London.
Luckily, although the”Brits” can sometimes have a heavy accent, their first language is English. However they do use some words you may not be familiar with. Here’s a quick lesson.
- “Cheers” means Thank you, or a sign of gratitude
- “Chips” are not potato chips, they’re French fries
- “Crisps” are potato chips
- “Minerals” are soda products
- “Buns” are cupcakes
- “Biscuits” are cookies
Since English is England’s first language, it will be easy to get around, that is if you can drive on the other side of the road. I recommend taking tours and avoiding renting a car. Since London is a city, it is easier to travel by foot. There is also the infamous “Underground” subway system around nearly every corner, which will get you from A to B easily and safely.
Here are some popular tourist attractions:
Big Ben is the big clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. It is the third-tallest standing clock in the world. You can walk across the Westminster Bridge and get some great photographs.
Tower Bridge is the famous suspension bridge over the River Thames. It is conveniently located next to the building which holds Queen Elizabeth II’s crown jewels. The Bridge is especially beautiful at night, in my opinion.
The London Eye
This massive ferris wheel is located on the banks of the River Thames. It was given its nickname because of its ability to get a panoramic view of most of the city of London. It is currently the number one most paid tourist attraction in the UK.
Like shopping? Visit Harrods. Similar to America’s Macy’s, it is London’s most famous high-end department store. There is a wide range of designer products, as well as a whole floor dedicated to tourist “Harrods” labeled merchandise.
Lastly, the biggest attraction if traveling this summer, the 2012 Summer Olympics. It’s hosted on the outskirts of center city beginning July 27th and ending August 12th. If traveling between those dates, be sure to check it out! There will be athletes as well as spectators from all over the world.
Cheers! Safe travels!