Making England Worth the Cost

After soaking in the magic and mystery of Scotland, Mac and I continued south to England. I was nervous about this part of our trip. After all, the dollar is notoriously weak against the pound; I knew it was going to be really expensive. Also, as counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s actually harder to plan a memorable trip to a country that’s really similar to your own. You have to work twice as hard to seek out the exotic and the impressive. Luckily, with a lot of research and some great recommendations from friends, we landed on 10 experiences that made our time in England not only worth the time but also worth the expense. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Hiking in the Lake District

The weather wasn’t gorgeous most days, but the slow drizzle added to the ambiance in the Lake District (northwestern England). We stayed in an inn that was frequented in the 1800s by none other than the famous British poet William Wordsworth. Of course, we had to download some of his poetry and read it aloud. And we channeled the olden days by hiking to classical music. In this hidden corner of the world, it seemed just right.



2. Checking out the British “street furniture”

There was nothing intellectual or deep about this favorite of ours; we just had a great time popping into the telephone booths we came across. Nowadays, some of the booths are being used as internet hotspots—it’s great to see them retrofitted instead of taken down.


3. Enjoying afternoon tea

Our first afternoon tea (below) was quite simple; it was just tea and a scone. By the time we made it to London, we had worked our way up to bonafide afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. It was a highlight of our whole trip—for hours, we ate little sandwiches and cakes and drank pot after pot of tea. It felt quite fancy and decadent.


4. Following in the footsteps of the Beatles

We knew we had to learn more about the greatest rock group in history and Liverpool was the perfect place to do it. From going on a Fab4 cab tour that visited all of the famous Beatles sites to hanging out in the Cavern Club where the Beatles used to regularly play, we got the dose of British rock that we were looking for.


5. Visiting Sherwood Forest

This one was a must-see for Mac. So we spent an afternoon exploring the forest, collecting acorns from the surprisingly large trees and finding out how Sherwood Forest is being protected from modern robbers (developers).


6. Discovering the mysteries of Stonehenge

If there’s one absolute must-do in England, it’s visiting Stonehenge. We were worried that the stone formation would in fact be small and disappointing (kind of like the Mona Lisa) but we were pleasantly surprised. Stonehenge was just as awe inspiring as the Discovery Channel promised it would be.


7. Being groundlings at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

You don’t have to shell out a lot of money in London to have a great theater experience. For 5 pounds (about $7.50) you can be a groundling at Shakespeare’s original Globe Theater. That means you stand on the ground level, next to the stage (yep, you don’t have seats) and only feet from the actors. We loved the Shakespeare play we saw, Measure for Measure, and Mac even got hauled off by the actors and incorporated into the very beginning of the show. It’s not often that good entertainment is cheap, but in this case it is. 


8. Taking in the iconic London Tower Bridge

When it comes to beautiful bridges, the London Tower Bridge definitely holds its own. Our favorite place to admire it: on the lively canal in front of the Tower of London Museum. (It’s also a great place to people watch.)


9. Seeing the British WWII war rooms

I had to take Mac to my favorite museum in the whole world, the war rooms at the Imperial War Museum/Winston Churchill Museum. There, you can see the actual bunker where Churchill directed Britain’s WWII strategy. Most everything in the museum is original, from the cabinet room to Churchill’s bedroom (Little known facts: Churchill took a nap every afternoon and bathed twice a day.). With a little bit of imagination, you can feel like you’re in 1940s London.


10. Marveling at the elaborately dressed royal guards

I’d love to say we were above having a good laugh at the headpeices, but we weren’t. It was probably good that we found something to laugh at, because the huge crowds meant we really had to angle to see anything at all. Here’s our advice for seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace: arrive at least an hour and a half early.


From funny headpieces to fancy tea, it turns out there’s a lot about England that’s exotic—and well worth the price of admission.


  1. Thank you two for another delightful tour! It’s such a joy reading your blog and looking at the pictures. Looking forward to your next installment!

  2. So happy to see another blog so quickly! Loved the pix of Mack in the phone booth ~ reminds me of the movie “Waking Ned Devine”!! As far as another leg of the journey goes, I have a big rec. from a favorite patient of mine from Thailand!
    He rec.s seeing Phuket if you don’t mind commercialism and if you want a bit quieter more authentic yet gorgeous beach area, check out Krabi Island. Tootles! Aunt Shoon

    • Great! We’re already planning on going to Krabi. We’ll have to think about adding Phuket. Thanks Sharon!

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