L is for London

Welcome back, to the letter L of this year's A-Z challenge! 

After yesterday's South African Safari we are doing a city trip today. L is for London, England. 

By the way, if you're anything like me, you may get confused at times. What exactly is the difference between England, Great Britain and United Kingdom again? 

England – a country within the UK.
Great Britain – an island situated off the north west coast of Europe.
UK – a sovereign state that includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
British Isles – a collection of over 6,000 islands, of which Great Britain is the largest.

Welcome to London! What are we doing today, should we go to the movies, pardon, the cinema? 

Quickly, tell me some movies that play in London?

Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, About a Boy, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

OK, that was great. Now tell me some movies that play in London without Hugh Grant in the male leading role?

Sliding Doors, Bend it like Beckham, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, A Fish called Wanda, 1984 and pretty much any James Bond.

So, you have a couple of days, and you want to see London? Great! Here's a list, and in order to keep it somewhat short (haha), I didn't enumerate the museums, you're welcome:
  • Hide park’s famous Speaker’s Corner is still occupied by debates, protests, and performance artists every week.
  • Westminster is considered the political hub of London and is home to the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous Big Ben. 
  • Big Ben is the name of the bell housed within the iconic clock tower, and it still chimes every hour.
  • One of the most enduring symbols of Monarchy in the United Kingdom is the Crown Jewels and no visit to London should be undertaken without a visit to see this most stunning of collections at the Tower of London.
  • A trip to London is incomplete without strolling through Green Park to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. The palace has been home to the British Royal Family since 1837. It features 775 rooms and the largest private garden in London. Some of the palace is open to visitors so you can see a little piece of the royal lifestyle. 
  • From outside, watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard. This procedure happens a few times every day and is a great opportunity to witness a historic tradition and the utmost discipline of the Royal Guard – who are all wearing the iconic London bearskin.
  • Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble faced triumphal arch. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near the site of what is today the three-bayed, central projection of the palace containing the well known balcony
  • Camden Market is eclectic and diverse, featuring street food from international cuisines, and lots of stalls selling trinkets and unique artwork to take home.
  • A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic London Eye. Originally constructed to celebrate the millennium, the Eye is a giant ferris wheel offering gorgeous views across the city. At night, the wheel is lit up in seasonal colors and is the centerpiece of London’s annual New Year’s fireworks display.
  • St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican church its creation was started in 604 by architect Sir Christopher Wren, who designed a further 50 churches. While being a popular tourist attraction, it is still used as a church today.
  • London’s Chinatown can be found around Gerrard Street, sandwiched between Soho and Leicester Square. With its Chinese lanterns and eye-catching red arches, it’s difficult to miss this vibrant neighborhood.
  • In addition to bars and clubs, Soho, the center of the city’s LGBTQ community, has a number of theaters, jazz bars and restaurants to explore, making it a cultural hotspot. Its close proximity to Leicester Square means it’s also a great place to go for a few drinks after a play or stage show.
  • Walk in the footsteps of Hollywood stars by paying a visit to Leicester Square. The square is most famous for hosting film premieres to some of the biggest blockbusters. In fact, the square has been a London hotspot since 1670 and an entertainment center since the 19th century.
  • The Thames is the lifeblood of London, bringing industry to the city for centuries. It is England’s longest river, leading into the North Sea at its end. It has been the base for settlements since prehistoric times, and was a strategic importance to the Romans and English Kings, as well as during both World Wars.
  • One of the cultural staples of London is Baker Street, best known as the street that Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective Sherlock Holmes lived on.
  • Today you can find a Sherlock Holmes museum near the Underground station, especially popular after the BBC revival ‘Sherlock’.
  • Oxford Street is not only London’s top spot for shopping but is Europe’s busiest shopping street. It has 300 shops and receives over 500,000 visitors every day.
  • Harrods is one of London’s most famous department stores, known particularly for serving the elite and the super-rich. Since opening in 1824, Harrods’ patrons have included Oscar Wilde, Laurence Olivier and the Royal Family.
  • King’s Cross is one of the city’s busiest locations with a train station that has been open since 1852 serving much of the country. Recent renovations have given a sleek, modern look to the station – try to find the hidden tunnel with walls that light up with art. But for many people around the world, King’s Cross is known best for something else: the station that Harry Potter uses to journey to Hogwarts. Now you can visit Platform 9 ¾ in real life, in King’s Cross railway station.
  • London is an ideal city for art lovers with so many galleries to visit, featuring the best in classic and contemporary art. Most of the city’s galleries are free to visitors, including the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery has something for everyone with work by da Vinci, Turner, van Gogh and Rembrandt on display.
  • Piccadilly Circus is instantly recognizable, a square filled with bright lights and big electronic screens. Piccadilly Circus has been a busy London spot since the 17th century when it was a commercial hub.
  • Madame Tussauds is just around the corner, the internationally-famous wax museum where you can pose with your favorite celebrities.
  • Notting Hill is an affluent district located north of Kensington within the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and partly within the City of Westminster. Notting Hill is known for being a cosmopolitan neighborhood, hosting the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello Road Market
  • Shoreditch is one of the trendiest areas of London having recently undergone extensive regeneration. It is now one of the hottest nightlife spots in the city and one of the coolest places to stay in London. Packed full of bars and eateries, it’s the perfect place to spend a day and an evening.
  • The BFI – or British Film Institute – is a must-see for film lovers. The BFI is situated on the ever-popular Southbank and is the perfect spot to relax after a stroll along the waterfront taking in the culture and atmosphere of this vibrant part of the city.
What if you're traveling with a 2.5 year old? 

Forget the list. 

It's not going to happen. After feeling let down at Paddington Station - "whe'e is Paddington, whe'e is the bea', I want to meet the bea'!" he lost all faith in this city.

Rent a car and drive southbound to Hampshire, purchase tickets for Paulton Park, home to the world’s first Peppa Pig World with themed rides, a large indoor Playzone and even Muddy Puddles to jump and play in! 

Back in the city, ride the fascinating red bus with the flags all day long!

Only get off for food and pee breaks, snap your pictures as you go!

Before heading home, insist to visit Stonehenge. Have your toddler take a picture.

Take another one yourself, for good measure.

Plan to come back once he's older and appreciates all the great stuff London has to offer!

I really enjoyed looking into South African and Canadian English, so let's see what differences there are in British English:

And of course what Americans call Chips are Crisps in England!

A biscuit for an American would be soft, leavened bread that in England is simply a roll. Or not. Wait a minute: Bap? Batch? Bridie..???


  • I don't have to take the elevator to get to the first floor apartment --> Actually, you might want to take the lift to reach the second floor flat!
  • He put the bags in the trunk of his car and drove to the gas station --> He put the luggage in the boot of his car and drove to the petrol station.
  • We had car trouble and stopped at the shoulder with our hazards on, then we used our cell phone to call for a tow truck --> We had car trouble and stopped at the verge with our emergency blinkers on. Then we used our mobile phone to call for a breakdown van.
  • During the afternoon she only wore a tank top, but as it got cooler she threw on her sweater --> During the afternoon she only wore a vest, but as it got cooler she threw on her jumper.
  • We need to get to the liquor store to puy some booze for our bachelor party --> We need to get to the Offie (Off-License) to get some spirits for our stag night.
  • I went to the drugstore for some acetaminophen --> I went to the chemist for some paracetamol.
  • I managed to get a ticket to the soccer game from a a scalper --> I managed to get a ticket to the football game from a ticket tout.
  • The truck driver went to the john and got a can of Coke at the truck stop -->  The lorry driver went to the loo and got a tin of Coke at the transport cafe. 

Not just any ped x-ing, mind you. Abbey Road!

I could go on and on, I think it's really fun, but I'll let you go about your day if you promise to be back tomorrow for M is for Miami, yay!

Have you been to England? Do you have a favorite place or activity? Please share. Also let me know your top Beatles song. Mine is probably twist and shout. Or a hard day's night. Or...