When I asked my 15 year old daughter where in Europe she’d like to go for a break, she didn’t hesitate a millisecond before delivering an answer: London
I wasn’t surprised by her choice. Not really. The British capital has been a trendy, cool and interesting destination long before I was a teen. And that’s a while back…
The combination of affordable discounted hotels, classic B&Bs and a world-class range of cultural and entertainment venues, including cafés, restaurants and pubs – as well as countless streets, squares and malls that cater to a variety of shopping needs – is part of what has allowed London to maintain its long-standing position as one of Europe’s preferred tourist destinations. Even for teens.
The city’s colorful sights and sounds are in itself a great reason to visit. And with good walking shoes and a physical or virtual map in hand, most of everything worth seeing is within reasonable walking distance.
Of course, you can always combine a few hours of street trekking with some traditional sightseeing by climbing onboard one of the iconic double decker red buses. An umbrella is always handy to bring along – regardless of how you travel.
However you choose to do London, rest assured that it really looks just like it does in the many popular movies played out here; Bridget Jones Diary, V for Vendetta, A Fish Called Wanda, Shakespeare in Love, Snatch, Notting Hill, The Crying Game, Match Point and The Queen.
Before our trip, I asked my daughter to do a little research, just so we’d have a short list of things she wanted to do and see. And I was amazed at how effortlessly she produced it.
We left some room for spontaneity, which turned out to be a key ingredient for our trip. Keeping strictly to our itinerary wouldn’t of left us with much of a holiday vibe. But we still managed to experience several places on her ambitious list.
• Musical: Wicked
– a long-running spin-off from the classic Hollywood film, Wizard of Oz
• Markets: Camden Passage and London Fields Saturday Market
– both offer a wide range of antiques, retro fashion and oddities. Lots of food to be enjoyed here, too.
• Museum: London’s Fashion and Textile Museum and the Science Museum
– Science Museum has an ambitious, almost overwhelming range of topics, admission is free while the Fashion and Textile Museum charges £10/adult and £6/student, but offers a more absorbable variety for the family’s young fashionistas.
• Neighborhoods: Notting Hill and Soho
– The posh and the gritty but just two of London’s many distinct neighborhoods.
• Attractions: London Eye ferris wheel and the 360 degree rooftop view at Tate Modern’s Switch House
– Both great vantage points to grab a selfie at or snapchat from. While the rooftop view is free, the ferris wheel is almost absurdly pricey – but can be pre-booked online to avoid tiresome queuing.