When you visit London there are dozens of things to do that just about everybody does. Visit Buckingham Palace, St.Paul’s Cathedral, and The Tower of London. Just opposite the Tower you can watch Tower Bridge being raised as large ships pass underneath. Visit all the museums. See the art galleries. Go shopping in Bond Street, Oxford Street, and in Knightsbridge. Those are the sorts of things that everyone does, and that people will tell you that you “must” do.
However, there are a lot of other things that you can do when visiting the city that most tourists never see. Everyone knows that there is an underground train service, but did you know that there is another one? It’s the Mail Rail and for eighty years it shuttled letters and parcels across the city until it was closed in 2003. However, it has now been reopened as part of the Postal Museum and you can hop on board and see a piece of history.
Go to Covent Garden and you can get on a classic Routemaster bus at the London Transport Museum. There is a fleet of miniature versions for the kids to play on.
Lots of people visit London Zoo in Regents Park, but did you know that you can book a room there and sleep right next door to the lions? Yes, you can. Children from 7 – 11 get a torchlight tour of the zoo at night.
While you are in Regents Park, take a trip up to the top of Primrose Hill next door. It’s a great place to people-watch, with friendly dog walkers and high-class cafes. When the sun goes down you can see London bathed in an amazing orange glow.
Take a trip to Hampton Court Palace and you can see – guess what? King Charles II’s very own toilet!
In Richmond Park there are deer, in Clissold Park there are goats, in Holland Park there are peacocks, while in St James’s Park there are – pelicans! They have been there since 1664 (not the same ones, of course) when the Russian ambassador brought them as a gift, and you can watch them gobbling down a fish or the odd pigeon.
Apart from your night sleeping next to the lions in Regents Park you will need somewhere to stay, and the best bet these days is one of the London short stay apartments. There are quite a lot of these available and they are so much better than a hotel bedroom. You get twice the space and all of the luxuries you would in a hotel for considerably less expense, and you have a place you can call your own and come and go as you please.