This year BIS students chose this amazing city as a destination for their annual study tour. It is said that there’s so much to see and do in London, and that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. We’ve discovered it to be so very true. What a lot of history all in one place! Lovely to stroll around and see all the things we’ve only seen in history books. It all comes to life before our eyes.
There was something for everyone: Tower of London, Henry VIII, Ann Boleyn, Crown Jewels, what more to say? Big Ben which is by far the most known symbol of London: elegant, impressive, imposing. British museum – amazing place. We saw the Mummies and the Rosetta Stone. So much to see and do in this place, loads of interesting displays of ‘borrowed’ heritage from around the world.
Westminster Abbey and the Poet’s Corner – the burial place of the nation’s greatest playwrights. We saw graves and memorials to Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens (who was apparently buried here against his wishes – on the orders of Queen Victoria). Famous scientists like Isaac Newton, James Maxwell, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday. There were grand tablets to commemorate Jane Austin and the Bronte Sisters, William Shakespeare and Robert Burns.
The Globe theatre was another treat situated right on the banks of the Thames, rebuilt as best they could, to give it a real feeling of “Ye Olde England”.
We visited the Tate Modern, the National Gallery and Natural History Museum and found them all fascinating.
London Dungeon was a unique experience. They frightened us, poured water at us, and we met the most sinister characters from their past, from the serial killer Jack the Ripper, the barber Sweeney Todd and the regal Bloody Mary. A lot of excitement and screaming.
Another place we enjoyed was Madam Tussauds which was full of celebrity waxworks. Those were being surrounded and hung on, hugged and kissed. I do have to smile though… And when the girls spotted the figure of Justin Bieber, I thought I was going to have to revive them. Our guide Tony said “I wonder how they would act if they saw the real thing!”
One whole day was dedicated to the university city of Cambridge. It was as if we went back into the past. The beautiful Cam River and all those colleges; HRH The Prince of Wales graduated from Trinity, and we visited their library.
We also had a lot of fun shopping. Especially in the world famous department store Harrods. Its motto is simple “Omnia, omnibus, ubique” – “Everything for everyone, everywhere.” The interior is worth the going alone. We spent a lot of time in the Egyptian Hall, with gold-leaf columns. There is also a famous tiled ceiling in the first-floor food hall – even the toilets are worth a visit. Seriously! Harrods has very strict rules on dress, and porters – known as the ‘Green Men’ – kick out everyone inappropriately dressed. Not to mention that children under the age of 16 are not allowed unless accompanied by an adult. So I entered with the flock of six young ladies eager to explore the store. No one bought anything since everything was too expensive. Later we went to the best shopping streets and spent all our money in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Portobello Road.
Finally, we forgot everything we’ve heard about bland, mushy British food—the restaurants in London are fabulous.
We all had a wonderful time. The only complaint was that the trip was too short.
Study Tour Leader