Laura McKenzie's Traveler – London

Published by Darron Toy on

can you guess where I found a beautiful country with incredible history and lots of fun things to do I'm hanging with the Pearly Kings and Queens so welcome to Laura Mackenzie's travelers what have you and look Big Ben hi I'm Laura McKenzie and welcome to London one of my all-time favorite cities okay now here's a trivia question for you Big Ben is it a the clock be the Bell see the tower be the Bell you were right okay I got a lot more here in London to show you and I promise no more trivia questions so if you're ready let's get started with over 600 square miles of urban jungle and over nine million people London can easily knock the socks off a first-time visitor with all the sights sounds and smells of 30-plus cultures conspiring to assault your senses and awaken your appetite I find it helps to break London down into easier to digest neighborhood sized portions so let's hop on board a double-decker bus or hail one of London's famous cabbies and we'll hit the ground running first stop camden market weekends or winda hit this market geared to teens and tweens looking for bargains you want t-shirts dresses scarves and bags you can find it here you want tarot reading psychic readings you can find that here tattoos want a good piece of pizza find that too seek and ye shall find that's my motto and who doesn't love those street performers yep I'm working on it all-in-all the Camden Market is a neighbourhood where the locals definitely tread or should I say cruise on the edge of st. James Park is Trafalgar Square home to some gorgeous fountains a monument to Lord Nelson more fountains the National Gallery housing one of Europe's largest collections of paintings by the great masters and fountains did I mention the fountains a great place to cool your heels or even kick them up a bit until recently Trafalgar squares most infamous residents were the hundreds of pigeons that got underfoot but the new mayor put an end to that the old tradition of pigeon feeding was replaced with a rather unusual form of pest control phase American bird very if you know what you're doing very easy to trying but we use them over here just to get piggies down you know how do I get rid of too many babies because it really give you a headache yeah I've heard of a chicken hawk but a pigeon hawk for birds of a different feather head on over to Covent Garden this locale made famous in the play my fair lady is London's answer to New York's Greenwich Village there is no shortage of things to see and do and eat and of course the shopping is fantastic for more unusual finds music lovers will find a lot to enjoy at Covent Garden everything from performances of the famed Royal Opera House to impromptu open-air areas and for the kids they'll be bouncing off the walls with fun okay maybe not the walls but they'll have a blast just the same for shopaholics like me Notting Hill is the place to go for a weekend shopping spree the famous Saturday morning antiques market on Portobello Road is where you'll find scabs of free love treasure is displayed on outdoor tables just waiting for someone to give them a new home buy me buy me they all seem to say as you walk by how can you resist this is the largest ethnic weekend market in London if you want Indian Jamaican West Indian arts crafts whatever you can find it here if you're willing to do a little bit of haggling and fight the crowds who knows you could find treasure bargain bargain haggle haggle if it doesn't have a roof over it it can be plucked from the table cheaper okay moving along I'm getting hungry must be time to head on over to Chinatown where's my rickshaw once a rundown area between Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square Gerrard Street has been transformed into a colorful thriving neighborhood that caters to the Chinese community and locals and tourists alike descend on Chinatown for its delicious restaurants and cheap souvenirs next we head off to a neighborhood that looks more like Times Square than merry old England time to hop on a double-decker bus to Piccadilly Circus Piccadilly Circus today is known for the famous winged angel in the traffic circle it's London's most touristy square and it's particularly popular with a younger crowd music stores fast food and traffic not to mention the infamous Trocadero a huge tourist mecca but the bumper cars and bowling alley inside are great for kids on a rainy day full length Shakespeare play too much for you ha try this show on precise and sports fans dreams come true at lily-white famous Sports store let's be adventurous and take the tube for our last neighborhood destination well music fans everywhere will recognize the crosswalk behind me it's the famous Abbey Road crosswalk the symbol of the London music scene during the heyday of the Beatles people still come to get that famous shot good photo-op Laura Mackenzie's traveler we'll be right back welcome back to Laura Mackenzie's traveler from London you know all that pomp and circumstance the crowns that Thrones the jewels that's what I love about London royalty it's such an integral part of the living history here so much to explore but where do you start Buckingham Palace of course originally purchased in 1762 by King George the 3rd for a Queen's House Buckingham Palace has been rebuilt and added on to several times over the years with its Corinthian columns and gilded gates this ornate Palace has been the official royal residence since Queen Victoria moved in in 1837 guards on foot and horseback have been keeping watch over the sovereigns since 1660 the changing of the guard or guard mounting as it's officially called is full of that pomp and circumstance I like and obviously so do millions of other tourists Buckingham Palace may be the official royal residence but the Queen's favorite place to call home is Windsor Castle located just 40 minutes outside of London in the berkshire countryside Windsor Castle is the largest continuously inhabited castle in the world this place is so great I just heard somebody say wow this looks like a movie set is it real does anybody live here yes it's real and yes somebody lives here first built by William the Conqueror in 1066 the original structure was built from timber with earth fortifications he chose the site high above the River Thames and on the edge of a Saxon hunting ground because it was only a day's march from the Tower of London Windsor was originally intended to guard the Western Approaches to the capital the castle was later rebuilt in stone with Henry ii adding the Round Tower and the original stone outer wall st. George's Chapel was started in 1475 by Edward the fourth and completed some fifty years later by Henry the 8th who's buried inside the chapel along with nine other monarchs the chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of the Order of the Garter Britain's highest order of chivalry and ranks among the finest examples of late medieval architecture in the United Kingdom the castle has remained mostly unchanged since the early 19th century except for the restoration work that occurred following the devastating fire in 1992 for 900 years Windsor Castle has been home to the British monarchy and from the looks of those stone walls I guess it's gonna be around for another 900 years as well the castle is located right in the centre of town so plan some extra time to stroll down the cobblestone streets of New Windsor Wow a great castle and now a great shopping street is this a good place or what the shopping here is much more relaxed than in London outdoor cafes are nestled between the historic Georgian and Victorian homes and shops a great place to take a break come on you can tell me this is exactly what you expected to see in England isn't it I knew it old-world charm and classic hospitality combined in Windsor creating a country village that just says welcome William Shakespeare is said to have written the Merry Wives of Windsor here looking for that special royal family souvenir this is the place Windsor is about a 45 minute drive from central London or a half hour on the train so it's easy to take a trip into London for the day you want to do something really English stop into a pub everybody comes in for conversation a pint of beer and hug grab now that is great you can get a ploughman's lunch you can get a meat pie so terribly British you know what every one of these pups has a story a priest be Peter and a solicitor walk into a pub no not those kinds of stories these pubs tell the history of England pubs are where great novels were written great laws were conceived and tested great rivalries were fought and great reunions won a place to celebrate reflect or grab a bite of pub grub as the Brits say place up pub crawl at the top of your tourist to-do list so next time you're in England or something a bit more cultural visit the Brompton Oratory and the Royal Albert Hall built between 1880 and 1884 the Brompton Oratory is the Church of a community of priests called oratory ins good speakers I'd imagine it's the second largest Catholic Church in London as one of the world's leading entertainment venues Royal Albert Hall has hosted over 150,000 performances since its opening concert in 1871 and it's home to the wildly popular BBC Proms and the Prince's Trust Concert Kensington Palace was also a royal home just several monarchs and their families including everyone's favorite royal Diana the Princess of Wales the late princesses private secretary shared some of her memories of working at dancing – in Palace the palace behind us visitors can go in but where did Princess Diana live where were her apartments and where did you work well if I show you if we turn around here just to the left of those gates there's a wing that you can't see behind the tree and her office was underneath her apartments were on the first floor there was a beautiful layout and the apartments are stunning there it was an amazing place the lounge was fantastic with a piano in for the princess to sit and play and your office was right below below yes we were right next door to the kitchens but we were very beautifully decorated clearly or very lucky a public playground is being named for Princess Diana in the gardens of Kensington Palace and the palace itself has some of the rooms open for Royal boyars like myself to have a look around Laura Mackenzie's traveler we'll be right back welcome back to Laura Mackenzie's traveler from London if you only have one day to spend in London and you ask me what should I see I'd have to say the Tower of London from the bee feeders to the bloody tower to the crown jewels it's the history of England behind those walls built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century the tower has hosted many famous guests behind these walls some of whom didn't live to tell the tale Sir Walter Raleigh Sir William Wallace Lady Jane Grey to name a few and don't forget those two infamous wives of Henry the eighth who lost their heads over him the three million guests who visit the tower these days get to leave with their heads intact and filled with some amazing stories because the yeoman warders or beefeaters always have a legend or a ghost story to tell well the Ravens have always been in the tower nesting in the trees later on in the turrets blow Jindal cause as you say Malthus told us that should the Ravens leave the grounds of the tower and the White Tower the center the heart of this place our Majesties oldest palace and fortress would crumble to dust but more importantly the monarchy of England would cease to be so it will not surprise you by royal decree in 1660 was laid down by king charles ii that we must always keep ravens here within the grounds of the tower and to this day we keep sakes but if it's the spooky stories that give you the shivers come for the reservation only key ceremony at closing when they lock all the doors it will give you goosebumps London probably has more landmarks and fun things to do per square mile than any other European city so how do you choose you don't you just go everywhere and don't miss the Palace of Westminster former royal residents and home to parliament majestically overlooking the River Thames it's a combination of original medieval and Gothic Revival structures built in the 1800s one of Parliament's two towers big ben with its 14 foot long minute hand is the most recognizable sight in all of England during World War two a bomb destroyed part of Parliament but the clock tower was unharmed and Big Ben continued to strike away the hours a welcome reassurance of hope to all who heard its distinctive sound ah the London Bridge wrong it's the Tower Bridge one of the largest and most sophisticated draw bridges in the world the Tower Bridge is probably the most misidentified landmark as well originally built in the late 1800s to relieve London Bridge of it's snarling traffic jams a hundred and fifty thousand vehicles cross the Tower Bridge every day and by the way the London Bridge was shipped to Arizona as a tourist attraction they thought they were getting the Tower Bridge oops perhaps the best way to get an insight into the social and political history of London is a quick tour of its many cathedrals tales of kings and queens power and passion are told through the many stained-glass windows gothic arches and spirals and stones centuries that adorn these often controversial landmarks from the humble facade of st. Bartholomew's Church the restrained elegance of st. Paul's Cathedral where Princess Di was married to the excesses of st. Stephen walbrook and southward cathedrals these monuments are Testaments to the traditions typical of their times the granddaddy of them all is Westminster Abbey whose legendary history is surpassed only by its beauty okay history class out a session let's hit the park there is plenty of action available here if people watching is more your speed you can always grab a pint and soak up a few rays please your time in London ah it's a dog's life where to stay where to stay bed-and-breakfast full-service hotel English charm or high-tech and trendy well before you result – eenie meenie miney moe the most important thing to consider well next to price of course is location originally built by the second Duke of Buckingham beginning in 1666 as a country retreat Clifden house is one of England's finest country houses and has been a center of influence wealth and political power for over 300 years clifden has welcomed almost every British monarch since George the first and is the former home of Lady Astor such notables as George Bernard Shaw President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were among the overnight guests now an internationally reknowned five-star hotel clifton house invites you to follow in the footsteps of its former famous guests and relax and play in its luxurious surroundings whether you're checked into one of the original bedrooms like the lady astor suite or one of the newly converted rooms in the stable block you're going to find the most luxurious and comfortable accommodations this side of the thames there is no shortage of things to do while staying at Clifton you can stroll the well-maintained grounds for hours but my favorite is taking a lazy cruise on the Thames you can book the Seussian for drinks lunch even a three-course meal Cheers what a life I know I certainly had a great time during my stay at England's finest home away from home it was an experience of a lifetime and I can't wait to come back and do it all over again what's the best way to see museums on vacation museum passes our terrific way to save money but are also a great way to avoid queues to avoid lines and in certain parts of the world in Europe especially you can spend an hour an hour and a half waiting in line just to get into a museum even if it's free so a museum pass will allow you to bypass the crowds get into a fast queue and also save money on multiple museum visits another thing to remember is even with a pass you might want to consider going very early in the morning or very late in the day flora McKenzie's traveler will be right back welcome back to Laura Mackenzie's traveler from London okay let me see if I understand how they do this in Britain now Clinton is a country house not to be confused with a country cottage which is much smaller or a country chateau which is a country house in France so that has no relevancy here or a castle which has a drawbridge in a moat or a palace which is for the royalty okay I think I got it I hope you enjoyed seeing some of England with me be sure to join me again next time from a brand new place somewhere else around the world until then I'm Lora Mackenzie bye bye

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