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There’s certainly no shortage of learning in this city
London has many stories to tell and interesting areas streaming with history which are superb to visit if you want to explore the past life of the city. If you’re looking to be educated on your trip, set aside time to visit this variety of notable attractions.
Step back in time and visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre when you’re in London – which can be made even more memorable if you cleverly time your visit with a Shakespearian play. Just a few feet away from where the original theatre once stood, the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre regularly puts on performances as they would’ve been shown to those watching back in the 1600’s. A trip to this open-air theatre really is a must for anyone wanting to expand their historic knowledge, it’s also ideal for anyone who has even a remote interest in theatre.
The first globe was built by Shakespeare’s company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and was officially opened in 1599. It was a roaring success until 1613 when small cannons, rest assured part of the performance, were fired which resulted in burning wadding and setting fire to the thatch roof. The same company then built a second theatre on the brick foundations of the first, the exact same shape and size and with a new-and-improved tiled roof instead of a thatched one. Eventually, in 1644, the Puritans demolished it to make way for tenement houses on the site but thankfully, many hundreds of years later, the third theatre we know and admire today was built as a replica close to the originals.
The Shakespeare’s Globe Trust undertook huge amounts of research to ensure the theatre was built as accurately as possible, even using the same kind of wood as the original builders - green oak. Visitors travel far and wide to gape at the amphitheatre and get a sense of Elizabethan era as it would’ve been when Shakespeare himself spearheaded the first structure. Watching a performance at the Globe is an experience unlike any other, it’s a far cry from viewing modern Shakespeare on-screen, so don’t miss out on a guided tour around this awe-inspiring architectural wonder.
My husband and I had a lot of fun during a tour of the Globe Theatre and would suggest it to anyone looking to engage in a little part of art history.
Discover exciting award-winning exhibitions, iconic objects and awe-inspiring stories of incredible scientific achievement when you visit London’s Science Museum, first founded in 1857. It can be found in South Kensington and is open daily from 10am-6:30pm; the best part is that entry is free (donations are welcome). The museum boasts as the home of human ingenuity proven by its world-class collection displaying scientific, technological and medical achievements from all across the globe.
It’s not hard to understand why this is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe – over 15,000 items are on display here including world-famous objects such as the Apollo 10 command capsule and Watson and Crick’s DNA model. Interactive galleries are a favourite amongst visitors as you witness scientific principle and contemporary science debates brought to life in front your very eyes. Experience what it’s like to fly with the Red Arrows and venture into space on an Apollo space mission inside 3D and 4D simulators, not before heading to the IMAX 3D cinema to watch a film on a screen taller than four double-decker buses.
Regular displays will fascinate an audience of any age; head up to floor three and explore Launchpad, a particular favourite with children as it features fun hands on science activities. Some exhibits you do have to pay for such as the IMAX cinema and the simulators, but it is certainly worth the money and will keep all guests, regardless of age, entertained. It’s recommended you visit more than once because the collection, which spans history right back to the 1700s, is so huge you need to ensure plenty of time to explore every floor and exhibit.
Travel through the city’s gruesome past as you scare yourself silly exploring the gory secrets hidden amidst the streets on the Southbank. London Dungeon is an immersive walk-through tour which is fully interactive and begins with guests being plunged into darkness, setting the scene for all the creepy goings-on. Step back in time as you learn about the Medieval, Georgian and Victorian periods of London including all the ghastly details surrounding diseases, serial killers and cruel capital punishment methods.
Special effects, live actors and rides are used to demonstrate the true horrors of the city, a fast-moving boat ride and Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel Labyrinth are two favourites amongst visitors. History buffs will find plenty of interest in meeting infamous criminals Guy Fawkes, Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper to learn all about their past grisly crimes. The tour itself is frighteningly funny as the actors do a good job in combating scary stories with amusing anecdotes and playful innuendos.
Give in to the fun and put your gadgets away because it’s strictly no mobile phone or camera territory when you enter. Inside, there are 19 live shows educating visitors about various historic events such as the Great Fire of London in 1666, Guy Fawkes attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 and the infamous Plague Doctor. Don’t be surprised when you smell unpleasant aromas - which are a result of a mass amount of scientific research undertaken to ensure the journey is as accurate as possible. The final stop of the tour is in a realistic Victorian boozer where you’ll be served your first drink on the house; listen to music hall tunes sung by the feisty landlady before buying a souvenir to remember your insightful and thrilling adventure.
Make time in your agenda to visit Daunt Books, a book store founded in 1990 by James Daunt which oozes true Edwardian elegance. Situated on Marylebone High Street in the busy capital city, the shop was originally built for antiquarian booksellers but now features a vast collection spanning from books about cookery to art to history and everything in-between. Since it’s opening many years ago, Daunt Books have seen an increase of stores across London but its flagship still remains and welcomes a large number of visitors every day.
Long oak galleries and huge skylights bring in natural light and decorate the interior of the building which makes it a delight to browse. Inside, you’ll discover it specialises in travel as the shelves are stacked geographically – this is highly satisfying. Book lovers will find themselves returning time after time, persuaded to revisit its beautiful balconies and graceful décor. The incredibly well-stocked bookshelves feature delicate patterns giving it a feeling so homely you’ll forget you’re browsing a shop. Take a seat downstairs, where you’ll find more curated displays of books organised by country, and spend some time reading your new purchases. It’s not hard to see why it’s featured at number 45 in TimeOut’s list of the best 100 shops in London!
The smell of the place as you walk in is just fantastic, so evocative, and their selection is just amazing. If I had limitless funds, I'd be their best customer!