London: Tips to make sure you enjoy your tea

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Deep Pockets. England is expensive and the U.S. Dollar is weak in relation to the English Pound. The best way to plan is to expect to pay double for everything you usually do on vacation. Even the touristy churches cost $20 to $30 per person for entry.

Find Your Pub. There are pubs at just about every corner in London. Most serve delicious fish fries and offer a slew of beers to choose from.  English pubs each have their own charm and style.  In the summer months, several pubs offer outdoor seating which offers great “people watching.”  

Travel The Tube.  London has an extensive subway system, nicknamed The Tube, which is the most efficient subway I have ever seen.  I never waited more than five minutes for a train.  Week-long tube passes are available for about $40, which is much cheaper than cab fares.  

***image2***Free Art Museums. Since you are paying $50 for lunch for two and at least $75 for dinner for two, you can keep your credit card inside your wallet when visiting several of London’s art museums that are free except for special exhibits. You can see all the great originals from Monet, Picasso, Warhol, Dali and Degas.  

Friendly People.  The English are extremely polite and friendly. They say nice things when they bump into you like, “Sorry Luv” or “No worries.”  And of course they all love to debate over the American and English vocabulary differences (a divided highway vs. a dual carriage motorway.)  However, don’t let your guard down − you are still in a large city with pickpockets just like any big city.  

See Shows.  I saw Blue Man Group and Les Miserables on my visit. Both shows were excellent and much cheaper than the same shows in Las Vegas and New York.

***image3***Take Pictures.  London has several world-famous buildings in a small area. The millennium-built British Airways London Eye Observation Wheel that tops out at 443 feet high is a great way to take panoramic photos of the city, especially Big Ben.  But be prepared – London Eye tickets are $30 per person for the 30 minute ride.

Visit Stonehenge.  No trip to London is complete without visiting the mysterious Stonehenge site. Unfortunately the Tube does not go this far out of the city. There are several bus tours that take tourists to Stonehenge and you can combine other sights with the trip like Windsor Castle, the Roman Baths and Salisbury. 

1. British guard at Buckingham Palace.
2. The Tower Bridge in London.
3. Stonehenge site (about an hour bus trip from London).