London: "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

I confess to being a bit of an Anglofile. I think saying something is “lovely” sounds much better than “nice.” Going on holiday is more appealing than a vacation. And nothing is more relaxing than a cup of Earl Grey in the garden.

Shouldn’t we all call our yards gardens?

The Olympics reminded me of all the reasons I love England. I had opportunity to live in England for a summer as a college student and work for a church an hour south of London. I have been back twice since and am quite happy to say I know exactly what it means to “mind the gap” and to enjoy a full English breakfast.

Here are a few of my favorite spots, in no particular order:

St. Paul's Cathedral. Not only does the cathedral offer amazing architecture and history — you’ve probably seen the famous photo of it during Word War II’s blitz, it is also a terrific place to get a workout. Also, as will become apparent from this blog, I love heights. Seeing London from St. Paul’s Stone Gallery, which encircles the outside of the cathedral’s famous dome, is a one-of-a-kind experience. But be warned: Those who are claustrophobic or not in great health should not brave the 378 steps.

There’s also the 259 steps to The Whispering Gallery where you can whisper from afar into the curve of the dome and a friend can hear you on the opposite end. Finally, it’s the backdrop for the “Feed the Birds” song in Mary Poppins. Tuppence…tuppence… Did you enjoy the Mary Poppins visit during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics?

Hampstead Heath. Just north of central London, this 790-acre natural habitat is filled with walking trails, rolling meadows, woodlands and ponds. This tranquil spot was also home to the poet John Keats and you can visit the place where he composed verse in the early 1800s.

The British Museum. You can see some of the world's greatest antiquities in the British Museum and some incredible art too. Some must-sees include the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and sculptures from the Parthenon.

The London Eye. The view of London from this spectacular Ferris wheel really is as fantastic as you might imagine. The London Eye was built to celebrate the new millennium and has become and important part of the city's landscape, as you’ve probably seen in Olympics coverage. As it slowly turns, you can take in many of the most famous of London's landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Wimbledon and the Tower Bridge. In fact, you can see as far as 25 miles — to Windsor Castle on clear day.

Windsor and Windsor Castle. Though it is outside of London, you must make the short trek there to take in some of England's loveliest scenery. Not only are the castle and grounds breathtaking, but so are the walks along the river and around Eton College, where much of England's nobility has attended university. You may have seen Eton during the Olympics rowing competitions. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend punting on the Thames.

Now it’s your turn, Anglophiles. If you’ve been to London, what’s your favorite spot?

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Donna Dunn has been cheering for Team USA, but confesses to owning a tea towel declaring “God save the Queen”!