London, England Review – A Very Popular Holiday Destination

Two years ago, just before the London Olympics, my husband and I had a short visit and enjoyed seeing and doing many things.  This year, we stopped in London for two days and found a city filled with energy and people and lots and lots to do.  We also noticed people in black attire wearing bowler hats in many of the places we went.  They were identified by a large “I” and were available to help lost visitors find their way.  We were glad to see one a get help which we needed to find our hotel.

 

We noticed that the streets were filled with tourists, enjoying themselves in a very orderly manner.  I was interested to learn that following the hugely successful London 2012 Olympic Games, and Diamond Jubilee, London has experienced a boom in visitors, with over 16 million international visitors in one year for the first time in history, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

 

We have been to London many times and have had the chance to see many museums and places of historic interest.  For this short visit, I found the suggestions from www.visitlondon.com to be very helpful.  On earlier trips we had the time to be amazed by the British Museum, the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace, the Royal Gallery and the Crypts at Saint Martin in the Field and more.

 

 

There were new and unexpected discoveries waiting for us on this visit. Our hotel was near Green Park.  While waiting to get into our room, we wandered around the area, eventually found a charming old pub and then got slightly lost.  It was a good kind of lost, however, because we found ourselves on Bond Street, wide-eyed as we looked at the vast, amazing array of designer stores and expensive car dealerships.

 

The next day we followed the suggestion of Visit London and had lunch at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a really wonderful, very old pub with great food and an especially charming waiter.  We did a double take at the sign that said, “Rebuilt in 1667”.

 

A list of royalty from Charles II to Elizabeth II is associated with this pub.  In addition, writers such as Dr. Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens and others literary lions are recorded in their archives.  You can find out more here: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese I don’t remember being on Fleet Street before but the visit to the pub put us there, a street famous for newspapers and books.

 

From the Green Park stop on the Piccadilly line on the underground, we wandered through the park filled with visitors and took a peek at Buckingham Palace.  Coming back toward our hotel we stopped in at the Ritz, a hotel that serves “tea” all day in very elegant surroundings.  Walking along Piccadilly Street we were intrigued when we saw The Whisky Shop (70 Piccadilly, London, W1J 8HP).  Having lived in Scotland at one time, we were interested in exploring the single malt scotches available. Stepping inside, we noted sampling taking place and asked about the new product, Haig Club.  Rob told us a bit about the new product.  It is a single grain whisky from Diageo and the distillery is in Fife.  My husband agreed that it is very smooth.  We also enjoyed reminiscing with Rob about places we had visited in Scotland.

 

We also made another discovery on this visit.  A location near the Piccadilly Line is very helpful.  Our hotel  was about two blocks from the Green Park stop and we could easily take this line to Heathrow Airport.  There were lifts that allowed us to take our luggage all the way to the train.  We arrived in the airport in about the same amount of time that a taxi takes (and a lot less expensive).

 

We had lovely weather and two great days to absorb the sights, sounds, and tastes of the great city of London.

 

Photos:  Barbara Keer unless otherwise noted.

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