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Featured Destination: Twenty Four Hours In.....London!!

{Editor's Note: When traveling to a particular city or country, the amount of museums, galleries, festivals, and historical sites can leave you feeling overwhelmed. My destination features include my favorite spots, exhibits, and things to see, and all opinions are my own.}

When my friends travel, I usually get a call or text or email at some point that says "I have 24 hours in _________-what should I do/see?  Let me start by saying that there's no way to see every awesome thing that a city has to offer in 24 hours. Absolutely impossible. BUT if you only have a day (or less) in the amazing city of London, allow me to offer up some suggestions.

London is one of my favorite cities. We rarely go back to the same place twice, but London is one of those exceptions to the rule. For one, there's so much cool stuff to see-especially if you're a history nut like me. The first time that we went to London, we ended up only having about 12 hours. We had taken the Eurostar in from Paris for a day trip. I booked a black taxi tour through  Black Taxi Tours of London Since we were arriving into St. Pancras Station, we arranged to be picked up at a hotel about a block away. Our driver was Michael Bloom, and he was awesome. If yo want to see as much as possible in a short time, this is the way to go. We got to see all of the highlights-on both sides of town.

Sadly, this is the only photo that we have of our kick ass tour guide :(

We knew that we wanted to explore the Tower of London, so we just let him know, and we ended the tour there. Bonus: It saved us a cab! 

1. The Tower of London

My personal favorite site to visit in the city-hands down. I put this at the top of my list because if you only have time to do one thing, make it this. You could spend several days exploring and still not see it all. Are you a fan of the Tudors or Plantaganets? This is a must see. The towers date to varying years, as the tower was expanded many times over the years, but work on it was started in 1080 by William the Conquerer. The princes in the tower? This is the place! You can visit the spot where Anne Boleyn (and many others) lost her head. You can see some of the spectacular crown jewels, watch the changing of the guard, take a guided tour given by a Yeoman Warder (better known as the beefeaters), look for the famous ravens, wander the white tower, and so much more.

You can visit the crown jewels exhibit inside here!

This was labeled as the weapon that beheaded Anne Boleyn-except that it isn't! While it is a Tudor era weapon, Anne Boleyn actually lost her head to a long sword.

What was traditionally known as "The Queen's Apartments"

The down side? It on the total opposite of town from where most of the main attractions are-and cabs can be expensive. It's worth the trip if you can make it though!

2. Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London

In a word..spectacular.  I made reservations for my best friend's 29th birthday since we happened to be in London that day. The first thing that you should know is that if this is something that you'd like to do, book your reservation ASAP at Ritz London Tea Reservations . Days often book up, sometimes months in advance!

Photo courtesy of The Ritz London

The magnificent Palm Court-Photo courtesy of The Ritz London

Dress to impress! The Ritz has a strict dress code-jacket and tie for the boy-no jeans or sportswear. Prices start at 47 British Pounds Sterling per person, and there are optional add-on's such as champagne or cake. Being that we were celebrating, I ended up splurging for the cake-because who knows if we'll ever make it back!

Chocolate mousse cake was to die for!!!

In addition to the tea, it includes an assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh baked scones (with clotted cream & jam), and amazing pastries and cakes.

Live a little, and splurge on this. Seriously, you owe it to yourself.

3. Westminster Abbey

Like the tower of London, this is another one of those places where you could spend several days and still not see everything. They are very strict with regards to taking photos inside, and there are very few areas that you're allowed.

The abbey dates back over 1000 years, and has been the coronation church since 1066. Seventeen monarchs (and MANY others) call this their final resting place.  Wander around and see their spectacular tombs and ornate effigies. 

That's all for now - I'll be back with more on London soon! 

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