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Exploring England Expertly

Don't feel like waiting in lines and spending more time staring at other tourists than enjoying your trip? Try these suggestions to get around and see London in a new light.

When visiting London, the most exciting thing to do is to enjoy the people. Let's be honest, in such a large, bustling city, most tourists don't actually get to see Buckingham Palace or Big Ben, and if they do, it's for three seconds before the rush of people behind them pushes them out of the way. My advice? Enjoy the stock photos available on Google of each landmark and then go spend your time in London actually engaging in the culture. Go to the local pub, see a show at the theater, do the things that real Londoners do, or maybe even enjoy the lesser known tourist sites, but don't go to the tourist traps with the millions of other visitors. So, here's a list of things to do and places to go for those more adventurous and willing to be more than another tourist.

Eating & Drinking Like a Londoner

See that busy pub at the end of the street? Chances are it's busy for a reason. So give it a try! There's no reason to continually eat at McDonald's or Burger King or your hotel just because they're known to you. Go out and adventure. You'll be surprised what you can find.

If you're a fan of literary works, The Sherlock Holmes should be on your list of stops. It's a small pub offering food and drink based on the series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and offering Holmes-themed souvenirs while playing original Holmes movies on the pub's multiple TV screens. 

Theater or Theatre?

Looking for something to fill a night out in London but unsure of where to go? Head down to the theater district and check out a show at one of the numerous theaters. With so many theaters, you're bound to find a show for everyone in your party to enjoy.

Feeling like being a true Londoner? Check out Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Royal Theater, which was where the play first premiered in 1986.

Like the newer plays? Try Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre if you're in the mood for a long sit. The play runs for 5 hours and 15 minutes overall but can be broken into 2 parts if you want to pace yourself. It's also a great introduction for youngsters into the world of theater, as it will showcase a storyline and a world that many of them already understand.

Tours Worth the Wait... or With No Wait

Why take the boring tours of bustling Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey and wait in line for hours, when you could take something more exciting and more easily available?

Try the Jack the Ripper Tour if you're into the horror and unsolved historic crimes of London's 1888 terrorization. Jack the Ripper murdered at least 5 people, although some historians make the count higher by giving him credit for other unsolved, similar cases of the time. These tours will take your group around the city, so you get to see the sights, but in a way that few others can say they have.

Feeling like a little kid? Head little ways out of the city to the Warner Bros. studio to immerse yourself in the Harry Potter experience. See the sets, props, and costumes used throughout the series and even get to take a ride on a broom and on the Hogwarts Express. While this is a popular tourist destination, it is large enough that you can spend a few hours here without worrying about missing out when someone pushes you out of the way. 

Have a small group, and if you don't feel like sitting on one of the crowded, noisy bus tours, try a Black Cab tour and travel the city in style.

Book Hunting

It may seem strange to go book shopping when you're on vacation, but London is filled with unique bookshops that can make your day worthwhile. Just remember to pace yourself so that you have enough room in your suitcase on the way home.

Daunt Books has multiple locations throughout London. Each store looks like a magical library with wooden, ceiling-high shelves, and any book imaginable is probably in stock. 

Foyles is a six-story bookstore that has each floor divided into categories. Looking for Children's Literature, head down to the basement floor. History and Psychology are on floor five. Or maybe some music and video from floor four. After a long day of shopping, grab a bite at the café on floor six to unwind before lugging your purchases back to your hotel.

If none of these ideas seem your speed, here's a video on 50 things to do during your visit to London

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