I want to go to London for four main reasons:
- I want to hear the British accent (man, there’s nothing like being surrounded by it hahahaha!)
- I’m hopeful I will find Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and ¾ (and be Hermione … “wingardium leviosa!”)
- I want to see the café where Tolkien and CS Lewis hung out
- I am so curious about the royal family (Prince Harry, where are you?)
And so I want to begin my London tour with a “royal” trip, checking out iconic places where Britain’s identity was formed throughout the years. Here’s a list of all the places you need to check out for you to understand and appreciate its kings, queens, and the culture formed around them.
- Buckingham Palace. The White House of Britain, the residence of the royals in London. You can tour the whole place for over a thousand pesos, but you might get disappointed at how lackluster it looks. But if you’re a fan of prince, princesses and their grand life, maybe you will still get the worth of your money.
- Westminster Abbey. It isn’t really a cathedral, but perhaps its significance in the country is enough for it to have that impression of holiness and utmost respect. This is where the remains of Britain’s past kings and queens lie, such as that of Henry VII and Elizabeth I. It is also the place where royalties are crowned. If you’re not convinced of its worth, hear this: it is nearly a thousand years old. That should make you enter the Westminster Abbey.
- Tower of London. A huge historical site where you can take different tours – an unguided tour that comes with booklets, an audio tour, or a 45-minute guided tour care of the Yeoman Warders. If it were me taking the tour, I’ll take the guided one. The Tower of London is full of curiosities you would love to learn more about, such as Henry VII’s armor, and the actual site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. Just make sure you watch the movie “The Other Boleyn” before you head to the Tower, so you can appreciate the story and the site more.
- Kensington Palace. Princess Diana’s last residence before she died in a tragic car accident, the Kensington Palace offers a curious look inside this royal home. Outside, you can dip your feet into the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, or you can take your lunch at the nearby Lido Café.
- Hampton Court Palace. Yes, London has many palaces. In fairy tales, there always seems to be just one. But lo in behold, it is grander to be a prince or a queen in real life. The Hampton Court Palace is best known for Henry VIII, one of the most interesting monarchs in the history of Britain. If you’re a student of architecture, or if you’re simply a curious mind, you will easily appreciate the marriage of Tudor and Baroque architecture meant to match that of the Versailles Palace in France. Don’t know how the Versailles Palace looks like? Then book your Philippine Airlines flight to France too!