London: Day 2

After allowing ourselves a little time to adjust the first day, we hit the ground running:

1. Churchill War Rooms 


We’ve heard the war rooms are even cooler if you watch Skyfall right before going. For some reason I remembered this having a grand entrance, so it took us a few minutes to find the opening to the bunkers. Also, book online ahead of time to skip the line. I don’t get why people still wait in lines.


Doing some serious name research.

2. British Library 


One of our favorite experiences of the whole trip! You walk into a normal, public library (free!) and then off to the left is this room full of amazing documents all right next to each other.  A few of our favorites: A Gutenberg Bible, original drafts of The Beatle’s lyrics, Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings and scientific observations, the Magna Carta, and a draft of Handle’s Messiah. Oh, and Anne Boylin’s handwriting is better than Mary Queen of Scotts,

3. Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross 


Apparently a few years ago you could just walk up to the wall and take a picture. Now there is a huge line and a ridiculous fee. This shot was taken from afar and we ended up turning around and heading to lunch. Also, I rubbed my eye the wrong way and nearly lost a contact. So our king’s cross experience mainly consisted of frantically asking people where I could buy contact solution. There are so many Harry Potter sights around London, this one can definitely be skipped.

4. The Globe: Taming of the Shrew the-globe


We finished off the day at The Globe Theatre, but I couldn’t end the post with it because it was such a terrible experience. The Globe itself is pretty cool. Jane’s mother warned us that the last row are the only seats with a back, and I’m glad we listened to her. The interpretation of the play was terrible. In hind sight, I wish we’d walked out during half time. I was especially disappointed because I genuinely like Shakespeare and Spencer hasn’t had much positive exposure to it. This play didn’t help. Lesson learned: do your research and stick to more familiar plays.

5.  The British Museum 


Our wonderful tour guide.


Oh hey, a piece of one of the seven wonders of the world.


Rumor has it J.K. Rowling drew inspiration from the Lewis Chessmen.

When my family lived in Greece we often took visitors up to the Parthenon. I can remember passive-aggressive signs all over the place saying, “If the British would give us back x, then you would be able to see it here where it rightfully belongs.” The Greeks are dramatic, so I didn’t think too much about it until this trip to the British Museum. Now I realize that you really don’t need to go to Greece to see a large portion of the Parthenon. It is safely stored right here, and probably in much better condition than if it was still on the Acropolis. In my opinion, the British Museum is one of the best museums in the world because of the shear depth of its exhibits. It is also free, which I definitely appreciate after growing up on the Smithsonian. But the Greek exhibit had me wondering how a lot of these artifacts from around the world ended up in this particular museum. Winning and imperialism at its finest? Politics aside, my feet are thankful all this history is under one roof. 

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  • Rebekah

    Yay! Another post about London! So exciting. It makes me a little heartsick actually, but it is great to see you guys visiting so many of the best places and only by day 2! That’s too bad about the experience at the globe. I was sick the day that they reserved for our group to all go see a performance there, so I didn’t have the opportunity to see a play performed inside the globe (it was closed for winter only 4 days later when we got back from Paris), but I heard from the others (who all had to be groundlings!) that the environment was kind of a cool experience. I am glad you loved the British Library. It’s one of my favorite things too. There is seriously a reason they call them “the treasures,” right?! I can’t wait for more posts!


      Agreed about the library. Thanks for giving us all those good tips! I haven’t posted about it yet, but your suggestion to go to a market was on point. Not something we would have thought of without you and we loved it.

  • Olivia Swenson

    Brian and I are headed to London (his first time!) in mid-December so I’m loving all these tips!! Also, after just going to Athens and seeing their beautiful new Acropolis museum, I have to say I wish the Brits would return what Lord Elgin took two hundred years ago–though I can see why it would be so amazing to have all that world history under one [reliable] roof. Maybe I’ll change my mind when we go 🙂