Category Archives: sightseeing

Shakespeare’s Globe and the London Bridge Experience: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Still Day One, and more sight-seeing around London!

Shakespeare’s Globe

 

My initial reaction to The Globe, venue for the original performances of Shakespeare’s plays, was surprise that it was still standing. Then I found out that in fact it has been rebuilt which, while disappointing, makes more sense. In any case, I have added The Globe to my list of must-sees.

The Globe is currently used for theatre performances! It also houses an exhibition exploring the life of Shakespeare and his contemporary London in addition to the theatre itself.


The London Bridge Experience


I read somewhere that this was one of the best tourist experiences in London, and so I thought we should definitely go, and now I find myself reconsidering…



The London Bridge Experience explores London’s ‘gruesome history’, and purports to take you back in time with the Romans, the Vikings and even an odd pickpocket or two. The bit about Queen Boudicca certainly sounds interesting, and while I’m absolutely interested in William Wallace I wonder how suitable his fate is for small children… Well, the London Bridge Experience looks a little creepy, but while they don’t allow children on the optional London Tours tour (which I am definitely not interested in) they don’t exclude or warn them off the London Bridge Experience, so maybe it will be OK…

The Experience also covers Viking King Olaf’s rule, the shops of old London Bridge, the Great Fire of London, Jack the Ripper and Hell’s Portal. It certainly looks like an action-packed 45 minutes!

About Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne


Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Tell her where you think she should visit!


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Landing in London: Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne



In 2016 I’m returning to Scotland, but I’m in planning phase right now, and I love it. So come along with me as we tour Scotland before I actually even leave the country!

Day One

We’ve arrived!

Kind of.

It’s a long way to anywhere from Sydney, Australia, and Scotland isn’t one of those places you can get a direct flight. In fact, you’d end up on three separate flights – two international and one domestic – if you try to fly there from Sydney.

Ever switched from an international flight to a domestic flight? If not, I don’t recommend trying it. There’s not usually much time between flights (especially if your last international leg runs late as ours from Venice to London did in 2008) and you’ll have to clear customs, collect your baggage and – wait for it – check back in to the domestic terminal. When we did it there were in excess of 100 numerical gates, each with sub-gates A through E, and we ran from one end of the terminal to the other. We had just enough time to stop at an ATM for some local currency, grab a muffin at the gate for a very late lunch, and for my husband to declare the British Starbucks coffee ‘undrinkable’ (bearing in mind that the Australian version is barely drinkable by Aussie standards).

Let’s not do that again…

So if we’re not flying to Scotland from London, our options are drive or train. You can get a train from London direct to Edinburgh, but there’s some places in the Scottish Borders I’d like to see, and we’d miss them if we went straight to Edinburgh. Escaping London by car is reportably nightmarish, and our travelling party consists of four adults and two children aged 6 and 3, which means two cars. So we’ve decided to catch the train to York, stay there overnight, and continue on by car to Scotland.

But not today.

Because can you really be in London and leave without seeing any of it? Plus, who wants to go and immediately board a train after coming off a 24 hour flight?

My husband was initially resistant to the idea of sightseeing in London, but as my enthusiasm grew, he realised there are places in London he’d like to see. Big Ben, he told me. The London Eye. Buckingham Palace, I insist. The Tower of London! Shakespeare’s Globe! Westminster Abbey, the Royal Mews, Madame Tussauds…

The list goes on.

But don’t forget we have just stepped off that 24 hour flight.

On the other hand it’s 7am in the morning, the hotel room isn’t ready, and we have to do something. We touched down in Rome at 7am in 2008 and then did a 5 hour walking tour of the forum in the afternoon! I am prepared! Possibly the kids won’t be though… OK, maybe less walking is better.

Hello hop on hop off bus. The one in Dublin was excellent, and I’m hoping London’s is as good. So here’s the places we’ll be hoping to see in our 2 days in London before embarking to York:

  • The Tower of London
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Shakespeare’s Globe theatre
  • The London Bridge Experience
  • The Royal Mews (I thought a mews was where you kept falcons for hawking, but apparently it’s a stable…)
  • Buckingham Palace (although it will probably still be closed to visitors when we are there)
  • Madame Tussauds
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • The London Eye
  • Big Ben

Windsor Castle turned out to be too far out of our way for a visit with small kids in tow, so we’ll be giving it a miss.

What we don’t see today we might see tomorrow before check-out – then it’s onwards to York on a train around lunch-time. 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it. 

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this. 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!