Attention travelers: It’s time to stop having mediocre trips and start having exceptional travel experiences. Take London – it’s a must-see destination full of history, shopping, culture, cuisine, and so much more that is on everyone’s list. But most travelers are experiencing London the wrong way. We share five of the most common mistakes and how our friends at NoteWorthy help Brownell Travelers experience London the right way below:
1. Waiting in Line for Churchill’s War Rooms
You’ve spent time and energy planning a trip, endured an international flight, taken vacation time…so why wouldn’t you want to spend hours standing in a seemingly never-ending line?
Oh, you don’t? Us, too.
A tour of Churchill’s War Rooms is one of the most popular activities – and for good reason! Whether or not you’re a World War II buff, the history is fascinating and it truly feels like you’re going back in time. But with any top site, there comes the inevitable long lines to get in…or maybe the line isn’t unavoidable! Through our travel partners at NoteWorthy, you skip the queue and go straight in to one of the most fascinating sites in London. Even better, you get to go behind the glass and even can sit in Churchill’s chair!
2. Standing six people deep trying to watch Changing of the Guard
Watching the Changing of the Guard is a quintessential London experience – and that means it is on everyone’s must-do list. Crowds gather long before the event, so that means you either have to secure your spot early or be 7-feet tall to see over the crowd. And since no one wants to waste time standing around and most of us are well below the 7-foot mark, it seems we’re in a bit of a pickle.
Have no fear, NoteWorthy is here!
They have exclusive access to watching the Changing of the Guard from the Parade Grounds inside the Wellington Barracks (emphasis on inside…no peering through a gate here!). You can witness officers inspecting the New Guard, listen to the band warm up, and observe them march out of the gates toward Buckingham Palace. (You can also see the massive crowds outside of the gates trying to get a glimpse of what you’re seeing up close and personal!)
3. Straining to get a glimpse of the Crown Jewels
Picture yourself standing on a conveyor belt. On your left you have a family of five – a surly teenage boy sulking with his arms crossed grumbled snide remarks, an eager elementary aged girl asking question after question, a shrieking three-year-old that looks like he could make a break for it at any moment (good thing he’s got a child leash on), a mom barking instructions to get a photo, and a dad who looks like he’s ready for the next pub.
To your right, you’ve got a group of middle aged tourists who have no regard for personal space. (They’re no longer on your right but slowly encircling you at this point.) And in front of you, for a fleeting moment, the Crown Jewels.
Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, right?
Wrong. As many as 19,000 tourists visit the Crown Jewels every day but you’re no ordinary tourist – you’re a smart, savvy Brownell traveler. Instead, you go to the Tower of London after it is closed to the public. The Curator takes you to each display case explaining the history and significance of each piece. No moving sidewalk. No screeching children. No invasion of personal space.
Still not good enough? How about a private dinner in the White Tower?
Still need more? Complete your evening with the Ceremony of the Keys, a little known ceremony that takes place every night in the Tower of London since the 14th century. The Chief Yeoman Warder along with a military escort secure the main gates of the Tower and take keys to the Queen’s House.
Sounds like an evening fit for
a king you!
4. Only seeing the sanctuary at St. Paul’s Cathedral
One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, St. Paul’s Cathedral was the sight of Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding, the Queen’s Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees, and much more. When you stand in the awe-inspiring sanctuary you aren’t just standing in a beautiful building; you’re standing in the midst of history. And there’s so much more to see beyond the sanctuary…if only you could go behind the velvet ropes.
Oh wait…you can!
Leave the crowds behind and head up the famous Geometric Staircase (you may recognize it from Harry Potter). At the top, you can enjoy an incredible bird’s eye view for the Cathedral as your guide explains the history and architecture of the building.
5. Wandering the streets of London
I know, I know, we’ve written post after post about taking time to explore a destination on foot rather than racing from tour to tour. And we’re still all about that. But simply walking past historical buildings, snapping a pic, and moving on does not an authentic experience make. Even worse, you could be missing some really fascinating information.
That’s where NoteWorthy’s exceptional guides come into play. These aren’t the flag-toting, crowd-corralling, fact-spewing guides you may be imagining – these are London’s very best guides/storytellers who will hold your attention and leave you eager to learn more.
Now that you’ve gotten a taste of what NoteWorthy can do in London (PS – they do tours and experiences all over the United Kingdom!), do yourself a favor and experience London the right way.