In June of 2017 I traveled to England, with a group of High-School students to explore British Literature and Culture. I traveled to Oxford, Stratford, Bath, Warwick, Canterbury, London, etcI. was surprised by how over-rated many tourist attractions seemed. Personally, I do not like places which are heavily populated with tourists. In 2016 London, England was the 2nd most commonly visited place in the world, which means that many of the tourist attractions are much too crowded to thoroughly enjoy. Below I have compiled the information I wished someone would have told me before my trip.
5 Tips to make the most out of your money and avoid the crowds
• Lunches at iconic Pubs:
Lunch is not a common meal in England, and therefore iconic pubs and restaurants are much less crowded around noon, than if you try to go in the evening. Establishments such as The Eagle and The Child and The Lamb and the Flag (where the Inklings used to meet); The Garrick Inn (established in Stratford Upon Avon in 1718); The Turf (established in 1381); and the Randolph Hotel (where C.S. Lewis met his wife) are all easy to get into to eat at lunch time, which is an amazing way to sight see, and experience the British Culture.
• Museums vs. Attractions:
Britain is home to amazing works of Art and Cultural artifacts. It is also home to many tourist attractions which will cost you more than they are worth. Realizing the difference is often difficult, but from my experience free museum are often the best attractions. The British Museum in London is one of the top 5 museums in the world housing the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Sculptures, Assyrian Balawat Gates, and thousands of other priceless artifacts. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford holds beautiful collections of Greek, Renaissance, Romantic, and Impressionist art work. Both of these museums and relatively uncrowded as opposed to Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare’s Houses which are small, crowded, and expensive.
Almost every Anglican Church or Cathedral will have a nightly Evensong, which is open and free to the public. These services are a beautiful way to experience the culture and architecture of England, fulfilling its historic purpose. In many churches that you would pay for tours of, the congregations are dwindling and are happy to have more attendees. Choirs make use of the natural acoustics in the sanctuary to create an ethereal affect. This is much more enjoyable than pushing through swarms of tourists or paying for tours in places such as Canterbury Cathedral and Church of the Holy Trinity.
• Go to the Globe and be a groundling
The Globe is one of the most renowned theatres in the world, and anyone can get same day tickets for only 5 pounds, as a groundling. Groundlings can stand with their elbows on the stage and have the best view of the play in the theatre. It is the experience of a life time, and is less touristy than other Shakespeare attractions in the UK.
• Have a prepared back pack/bag
Every traveler knows that tourist towns tend to sell everything at extremely overpriced rates. They also know that in times of need you are more likely to buy goods for unfair prices. Therefore, always bring an extra pair of clothes, granola bars, and some tissues in your bag, just in case something was to happen while you are out on the town. This is especially important when you are actually traveling, in case of lost bags or unexpected accidents.
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