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London is a city that one can experience in full, no matter your budget. With its vast array of museums and restaurants that represent cuisine from all corners of the Earth, you will never be bored! It doesn’t matter if this is your first or 100th trip to London, no two are alike, which is why this capital is always a must-see for traveling students.
These are the tourist attractions that you have heard about, read about in your high-school history class or seen in movies. Take the best Instagram selfie ever at the top of the London Eye. This giant Ferris wheel gives you an excellent view of Big Ben, the Thames River and much of historic London. Admission to ride the London Eye is not cheap at £24, but it’s worth it if you want to get the best view of London. The spooky and possibly haunted Tower of London (student admission is £16.40) is lovely to visit for any history buff. This site is full of opposites: you can see where Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, and Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned, yet also the majestic range of the royal family’s crown jewels.
Depending on the time of year that you visit London, you may have the chance to view the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, which is well worth the wait and fighting the crowds to watch. Take note of which flag is flying above the palace: if the union flag is flying, then the queen is not home; however, if the royal flag is flying then the queen is home. Another lovely royal place to visit while in London is Kensington Garden. Home to Kensington Palace, where William and Kate occasionally live, the garden is vast and well-kept, making it a fabulous spot for a picnic or a small breather if the weather is pleasant. While walking around the garden, be sure to look for the famous Peter Pan statue.
London is known for not having the most agreeable weather. Therefore, it is smart to have a sightseeing backup plan if the weather decides to take a turn for the worst. The many free museums that London has to offer almost make you wish for bad weather.
• The British Museum, one of the oldest museums in the world, is fascinating to walk through. There you can view the Rosetta Stone or artifacts from the Sutton Hoo burial site. If you need a break or would like just to feel super British, you can book a 1.5-hour long Afternoon Tea at the museum for only £19.50.
• The National Gallery is located right off Trafalgar Square, and you can get lost for hours in years of wonderful artwork from Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Vermeer and Rembrandt.
• The Victoria and Albert Museum is another free museum London has to offer and it may be its most famous. It was named after Queen Victoria and King Albert, who laid the groundwork for the museum. Nicknamed "The V & A," this museum has around 150 galleries spread across seven floors. Since the museum is free to enter, it’s the perfect spot to just hang out or simply enjoy the exhibits you'd most like to see.
If there’s one British experience to have while staying in London, it’s the ever so classic "High Tea." You may think that high tea must come with a high price tag, but with some planning and searching, you can find a very reasonably priced place to enjoy England’s tea-time ritual.
After exploring the palace and its gardens, pop over to The Orangery at Kensington Palace for a lovely afternoon tea experience. You would think that a building that once belonged to the royal family would be outrageously expensive. However, it only costs roughly £28 ($39) and when you consider the extensive menu, location and overall experience they provide, it could be seen as an investment in a wonderful trip. Be advised that if you’d like a chance of spotting Princess Charlotte and Prince George, the Orangery is undergoing some renovations during the winter of 2018, so check their website for more information.
However, not all of us have deep pockets, and if this applies to you, I would recommend The Wallace Restaurant, whose afternoon tea starts at £6.50 ($9). This tea house is more relaxed than others, so feel free to wear what their website calls “casual smart” attire. To book a table, go to their website.
Finally, if you have a flair for fashion and art, then you should look into having high tea at The Orangery at The Fan Museum. Not only does your experience include an unforgettable tea time, but also a very interesting museum showcasing fans from all over the globe spanning over 3,000 years. Even if fan making doesn’t interest you now, everyone will eventually find their “favorite fan” to discuss over tea. Afternoon tea at the Fan Museum costs £8 ($11) plus the admission of the museum (£4/$3 or £3/$2 for students), and unlike the other restaurants, they operate on a walk-in basis only.
Hej! I am an American grad student studying and living in Sweden. Being a grad student, I have perfected the act of budget traveling. I have a fierce passion for cute dogs, film festivals, coffee and traveling. Join me as I work towards my personal goal of visiting all 28 EU countries before I graduate in June 2019! Feel free to pop over to my personal blog, Little Mouse. Big World, to read more about my travels while balancing grad school life.
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