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My Great London Adventure

BRITISH DREAMS DO COME TRUE

Living in London has always been one of my dreams, and in 2015 I finally had the opportunity to make that dream a reality. I spent three months living like a local in southeast London, just a few blocks from the Thames, and I explored every nook and cranny of London I could during that time. My Great London Adventure is a blog I wrote for friends and family that relates many of my experiences during that time.

My Anglophile Adventure Begins

My Anglophile Adventure Begins

Welcome to the first entry in my Great London Adventure blog, which will chronicle my three-month Anglophile adventure in London.  My flight landed at Heathrow on schedule.  We disembarked at Queen’s Terminal, which seemed like an auspicious start to an Anglophile adventure.  After a long trek from the terminal, I arrived at Customs and Immigration to find hundreds of people… Continue Reading

Getting Oriented to London

Getting Oriented to London

The focus for today was getting oriented to London.  I love to visit tourist information centers when I travel, so one of the first things I wanted to do was visit the official City of London Tourist Information Centre near St. Paul’s Cathedral.  It’s about four miles from Teak Close.  I decided to walk so I could explore some… Continue Reading

I’ve Been to London to Visit the Queen

I’ve Been to London to Visit the Queen

I set aside one of my first days in London to visit the Queen, or at least the Queen’s home.  Buckingham Palace is Queen Elizabeth’s official residence, as well as her office.  In fact, it might just be the world’s largest home office.  Tourists can visit the Palace’s Royal Mews any time of the year to… Continue Reading

A Visit to the Guildhall

A Visit to the Guildhall

Many London attractions are quite expensive, but there are also some wonderful free attractions.  St. Paul’s Cathedral charges £18 for admission, which is about $28 American (£1 = $1.52 at the current exchange rate).  Even at that price it’s always packed with tourists.  Just down the street, the City of London Guildhall is free, yet it was almost empty… Continue Reading

The Museum of London: 450,000 Years of History in a Single Afternoon

The Museum of London: 450,000 Years of History in a Single Afternoon

The Museum of London is a wonderful institution covering 450,000 years of London’s history.  It’s located in the oldest part of London, not far from St. Paul’s and the Guildhall, which I’ve mentioned in earlier posts.  You’ll pass some interesting historic buildings on the pleasant walk from St. Paul’s Tube station.  Suddenly the street curves slightly, and you’ll see the museum… Continue Reading

Benjamin Franklin and Me

Benjamin Franklin and Me

Today was my first day as a volunteer at Benjamin Franklin House.  I’ll be helping out here twice a week for the next three months.  Franklin was sent to London in 1757 to mediate disputes between the colonies and the British government.  He ended up spending almost 16 years in London, and rented rooms at 36 Craven… Continue Reading

You Don’t Have to be a Queen to Live in Fulham Palace

You Don’t Have to be a Queen to Live in Fulham Palace

This week I visited two historic houses, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  On Tuesday I visited Fulham Palace with some of the other volunteers from Benjamin Franklin House.  It was part of an exchange – kind of like a sorority and fraternity exchange, but with a lot less drinking.  The Fulham Palace volunteers will be touring… Continue Reading

Into the East End

Into the East End

Today I took a trip into the heart of London’s East End.  I walked over to Nelson Dock, which is a few blocks from my house, and took the ferry across the Thames.  We landed at Canary Wharf in the heart of the London Docklands.  I passed a pub called the Blacksmith’s Arms on my way to the… Continue Reading

Hanging Out In Rotherhithe

Hanging Out In Rotherhithe

I’m living in a house in Teak Close on the south side of the Thames.  You won’t find Teak Close on the average tourist’s map of London.  Southeast London tends to fall off the edge of most of them.  If you do find it, you’ll see that it’s near the Rotherhithe Overground station.  It turns out this whole area is… Continue Reading

A Lazy Day in Londontown

A Lazy Day in Londontown

I had a lazy day in Londontown today.  I did laundry and put my feet up so I’ll be ready for my big trip to Bath tomorrow.  Washing laundry is not to be taken lightly at Teak Close.  Doing two small loads can literally take most of the day.  The average cycle on the washing machine… Continue Reading

Jane Austen Country

Jane Austen Country

I ventured out of London today for a day trip to Bath, famous for Jane Austen and for its 2,000 year-old Roman baths.  I went with London Walks, which is well-known for its wide range of London walking tours, including its popular Jack the Ripper walk.  Many people don’t realize that it also organizes occasional day trips… Continue Reading

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali: Festival of Lights

After my shift at Benjamin Franklin House, I headed over to Trafalgar Square for the Diwali Festival.  Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival of lights signifying the spiritual victory of light over darkness.  Holiday traditions include cleaning and decorating homes and offices, lighting lamps and candles, family prayers, fireworks, feasting (with lots of sweets), and… Continue Reading

Swept Along on the Tide of a Thames Cruise

Swept Along on the Tide of a Thames Cruise

Today I took a three-hour Thames cruise from Westminster Pier to the Thames River Barrier and back.  I’m glad I waited until I’d been in London for a few weeks before taking the cruise.  Now that I have a better understanding of the city’s layout, I could really appreciate what I was seeing. We sailed past some of the most iconic… Continue Reading

A Dose of Benedict Cumberbatch Makes the Day Great

A Dose of Benedict Cumberbatch Makes the Day Great

Tonight I had the good fortune to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican.  For those who aren’t familiar with Cumberbatch, he is best known to American audiences for playing Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock.  He also played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, and was the voice of Smaug in the Hobbit movies.… Continue Reading

Higher Education – Cambridge-style

Higher Education – Cambridge-style

Cambridge is the quintessential English university town, and the destination for my second day trip out of London.  Once again, I went with London Walks.  We met at King’s Cross Station for the journey to Cambridge.  Harry Potter and his classmates caught the Hogwarts Express here at Platform 9¾. A coach (better known to Americans as a… Continue Reading

Eat Like a King at Fortnum & Mason

Eat Like a King at Fortnum & Mason

I walked from Trafalgar Square to Piccadilly Circus after I finished my shift at Benjamin Franklin House this afternoon.  My destination was the flagship branch of Waterstones bookstores, then Fortnum & Mason.  Waterstones is located in the former Simpsons of Piccadilly, a smallish department store that served as the model for Grace Brothers in the long-running Britcom… Continue Reading

The British Museum: Cradle of Enlightenment

The British Museum: Cradle of Enlightenment

The British Museum is one of the most popular attractions in London.  It’s often packed, but today I discovered that visiting on a Friday afternoon is a much more civilized experience.  The school groups and crowds are gone.  The pace is more relaxed.  Since the museum is open until 8:30 on Fridays, you don’t have to… Continue Reading

Rugby Fever

Rugby Fever

I didn’t know much about rugby when I got to London.  I’ve picked up a few tips over the past month because the quadrennial Rugby World Cup is taking place here and it’s causing rugby fever all over the country. The 20 participating teams have played more than 40 matches across England and Wales since… Continue Reading

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