This list of must-do London experiences is my “do-over list” because I’ve been to London three times through the years and feel I’ve experienced a lot of the highlights of this world-class city. I mean, I proposed to my wife of now 15 years on the banks of the River Thames in London. In sports terms I’d call that my London walk off. The thing is that came on my first day ever in London way back in 1998. Needless to say, I’ve had some great experiences in London since then, many of which I would put on any must-do London experiences list. But I have plenty of what-if moments. Here are a few.
Attend the FA Cup Final
Actually, it would be really cool to attend any game at Wembley Stadium. On our last visit in 2012 we had an offer to attend a lower division playoff match with my wife’s uncle, but the timing didn’t work out with when we’d be in the city from the north of England. That year my son and I did attend a Premier League match at White Hart Lane. Seeing a London Derby between my favorite team, Tottenham, and Fulham was amazing. But seeing a Cup final in Wembley, now that would be brilliant.
Stay in a Hotel
That might sound strange but since my wife has family in London we’ve stayed with her aunt and uncle two of our three visits. That’s been great for us, but we do have to get on the Underground for a 45-minute ride. I think it would be fun to stay in a hotel in the heart of the action. I did say two of the three visits. Well, on that first visit back in 1998 we drove into the city with my future in-laws. We drove around for a couple of hours just looking for a hotel. We found one, but we had to share a bathroom with everyone else on the floor. If we could have looked online at the time, I’m sure we could have found plenty of hotel options. But in the days before smartphones, well, it just wasn’t in the cards.
Visit the Churchill War Rooms
I’m a big history buff, particularly World War II history. On our most recent visit I had hoped to get in a quick visit to the Cabinet War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum. It would have been fascinating to visit these underground bunkers that were the heart of the British command during the war while the streets of London were being terrorized by Nazi bombs. I just couldn’t make it work.
What would have made that visit even more special is I had it planned for a Sunday, two days before we were set to visit the D-Day beaches of Normandy, France. It just wasn’t meant to be this time.
Yes, I’ve visited my share of pubs throughout Great Britain. But I haven’t had the opportunity to just sit and linger in pubs in London. I’ve stopped in here and there at a couple of pubs in East London, but never for more than a beer. Next time, I want to visit one of the pubs near White Hart Lane just before a Tottenham match and be a part of the bedlam of the local fans. My son and I know most of the songs already.
See a Concert in Hyde Park
Back on that first visit to London in 1998 I walked through Hyde Park, stopping by Speakers Corner to see if I could hear someone screaming about something or another (I don’t remember if I heard any enlightening information). Thanks to YouTube, I’ve had the pleasure to witness a number of concerts in the famous London park, from the Rolling Stones in 1969 to U2 to REM. One of my favorites is the Foo Fighters show a few years. Those guys rock and I imagine it would be pretty cool to see them in London.
Visit the British Museum
We’ve visited the Tate and Tate Modern, but in three visits to London I haven’t been to the massive British Museum. There is so much in this museum I know it would take way too much time to visit. But we have hit so many of the highlights of the city through the years (the Tates, Changing of the Guard, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, House of Parliament) that now it’s time to hit the British Museum.