Visit Salisbury Cathedral in England – 7 Reasons To Go Now

visit salisbury cathedral

visit salisbury cathedral

Lovers of history should plan to visit Salisbury Cathedral in England at least once.  Embodying 759 years of history, mechanical genius, and one of the most important documents of medieval England makes it one of the best cathedrals in the UK.  It boasts the tallest spire in Britain, the world’s oldest working clock, and the best preserved original copy of the Magna Carta of 1215.  It’s also recognized as having the largest cathedral cloisters as well as the largest cathedral close in all of Britain. As an active place of worship, services are still conducted, but it also hosts concerts, workshops, and various art exhibits.  There are some amazing things to do in Salisbury, and a visit to Salisbury Cathedral is definitely one of them.



History of Salisbury Cathedral

After the Battle of Hastings, King William I (William the Conqueror) used the existing church of Old Sarum in Salisbury as his base of operations.  Situated on a hill and surrounded by an almost impenetrable wall, William felt it was the most fortified place to be at the time. (Image courtesy of Flikr.)

visit salisbury cathedral

Ruins of Old Sarum

Through the years, military and religious disagreements led to the royal decree of relocating the church. In 1220, Old Sarum was dismantled and reassembled on its current location in Salisbury. 

After only 38 years, reconstruction of the main body of Salisbury Cathedral was completed by 1258.

visit salisbury cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

The cloisters, chapter house, tower, and spire were built later but maintained the Gothic style of building.

Since most cathedrals took lifetimes to finish, Salisbury Cathedral holds the record for being completed in record time.

The cost of building Salisbury Cathedral was absorbed by vicars, canons, Bishops, and other wealthy patrons including King Henry III.



It has the World’s Oldest Working Clock

visit salisbury cathedral

World’s oldest working clock in Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

Built around 1386, this mechanical wonder has been dubbed as the world’s oldest working clock. 

The original creators of the clock are unknown. It’s highly suspected (yet unproven) that it may be the product of three horologists: Johannes and Williemus Vriemand, and Johannes Jietuijt.  It’s believed they ventured to England at the personal invitation of King Edward III.

Having been built for the sole purpose of chiming every hour to alert the Bishops of prayer times, the clock has no face. 

The gears are housed in a wrought iron frame with no other coverings. It requires to be wound by hand once a day and will run for just over 24 hours before stopping. 

When Colonel Edmund Ludlow took control of the tower in 1645, it was attacked by Royalists trying to oust Ludlow by setting fire to the tower.  Ludlow eventually chose to surrender rather than go up in flames with the tower.  All that remained was a burnt shell.

The charred tower was later pulled down in 1792.  The original clock was taken to the Cathedral tower and remained in use there until 1884.  At that time, it was removed and a new clock installed.

The original clock was forgotten until 1929. Soon after, it was relocated to the North Transept in 1931. Covered in dust and rust, it no longer functioned.  But in 1956, it was brought to life again.  It was painstakingly restored to its original luster by John Smith & Co, T. R. Robinson, and R.P. Howgrave-Graham.

Today, it’s on permanent display and ticks away the hours much as it did over 600 years ago. (Image courtesy of Flikr)


I see no advantage in these new clocks. They run no faster than the ones made 100 years ago – Henry Ford.


See the Tallest Spire in Britain

visit salisbury cathedral

Tallest spire in England and Britain – Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England, UK

Fifty years after the Cathedral was completed, the spire was added. In addition to having the world’s oldest working clock as a claim to fame, it also boasts the tallest spire in England. .

Combining the height of the tower and spire, it measures 404 feet, making it the tallest spire in Britain (not just England). Piercing the skyline, it’s instantly recognizable from afar and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Booking a Tower Tour takes visitors on an adventure of climbing the 332 steps of the winding spiral staircase that leads to the base of the iconic Salisbury spire.

The original medieval interior then leads guests to four balconies with a vantage point 225 feet above ground.  The views of the city of Salisbury, Old Sarum, and the breathtaking countryside are amazing.

Entrance into Salisbury Cathedral is free, but there is a fee if you’d like to book a tour of the tower.  Tours last for 1.5 hours, children are welcome, and usually take place once a day.


An instinctive taste teaches me to build their churches with spire steeples which point as with a silent finger to the sky and stars – Samuel Taylor Coleridge



See the Font of Living Water

visit salisbury cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral Font by William Pyre

British water sculptor William Pye creates fascinating pieces of art such as the famous Salisbury Cathedral Font.  

Installed in 2008, the cruciform sculpture was created to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Cathedral’s consecration. 

It’s the largest working font in all of Britain’s cathedrals, and it’s the only one that contains flowing water.

A symbol of baptism, the “living water” pools serenely in a cross-shaped vessel and gently flows out of each of the four sides.

The beauty of the stained glass windows and high medieval arches are reflected in the mirror-like surface. Pye blends the stillness of the water’s surface with the movement of the underlying water as it cascades through the four spouts into inconspicuous grating embedded in the floor. 

On the side is an etching that says, “I have called you by name, you are mine.”


See a Piece of the Virgin Mary

Rumor has it that among the many relics stored in the Cathedral is a piece of fabric believed to have once been part of the cloak belonging to the Virgin Mary. 


It’s Home to the Magna Carta

visit salisbury cathedral

Magna Carta on Display in Salisbury Cathedral

The Magna Carta became the most important document in the history of England because it put an end to the unlimited power held by the British monarch.

The Magna Carta has been used as an example for many countries constitutions, including America. 

The Fifth Amendment states, “Nor shall any persons be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

Sound familiar?  This idea was taken from Clause 39 of the Magna Carta.

Written in June of 1215 and signed by King John (brother to Richard the Lionheart and son of Eleanor of Aquitaine), it became Europe’s first written constitution.

It provided a set of boundaries regarding the King’s rule of his people. It outlines the protection of church rights, illegal imprisonment, and the promise of swift justice.

Four copies were made, and Salisbury Cathedral serves as the home to the best preserved copy. 

Visitors can see it on display in the Chapter House inside the Cathedral.  The British Library houses two copies, and the Lincoln Cathedral displays the other copy.

Unfortunately, it cannot be photographed, only viewed.  


Famous Burials in Salisbury Cathedral

Well-known historical figures remain immortal when their burial sites are visited year after year.  Their decorative and extraordinary marble tombs provide a glimpse into the occupant’s lifestyle in a bygone era. 

The oldest tomb in Salisbury Cathedral belongs to Bishop Osmund of Old Sarum.  Buried at the original church, Old Sarum, his tomb was moved when the Cathedral relocated to its current location.

While mainly used for the Bishops of Salisbury,

visit salisbury cathedral

William Longespee, first person entombed in Salisbury Cathedral in 1250

tombs of other famous figures reside here, such as:

  • Lady Catherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, sister of Lady Jane Grey
  • William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, illegitimate son of King Henry II making him half-brother to Richard the Lionheart and King John (he was first person to be interred in Salisbury Cathedral in 1250) (Photo courtesy of Flikr)
  • Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, first Englishwoman recognized as a poet
  • Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the UK (1970 – 1974), the most recent burial
  • Sir John De Comtacute
  • Sir Edward Seymour 


Things to Do In Salisbury, the Town

After you enjoy a visit Salisbury Cathedral, check out the town attractions.  History is around every corner. 

visit salisbury cathedral

Execution site of the Duke of Buckingham in 1483

In the lane facing the Cathedral green, stop for a view of a forgotten graveyard where victims of the Black Plague were entered in a mass burial spot called a plague pit.

Market Square witnessed the execution of the Duke of Buckingham in 1483. Accused of treason for rebelling against King Richard III, he was also a suspect in the disappearance of the two young princes in the Tower.

A plague outside of Debehams Department Store commemorates the site. (Image courtesy of Flikr.)

The River Avon is one of four rivers that run through Salisbury.  Trees, flowers, pigeons, and flowing water provide a serene place for tourists to stretch their legs.  Or relax on a bench and enjoy a snack.


Bodies were left in empty houses, and there was no one to give them a Christian burial – Samuel Pepys.


visit salisbury cathedral

Fisherton Street Clock Tower n Salisbury, England

If time permits, explore a few of these places:

  • United Reformed Church (est. 1879)
  • Old Mill Hotel and Restaurant (Wiltshire’s first paper mill and dates back to the year 1500)
  • Fisherton Street Clock Tower (built using masonry from a prison that previously occupied the area in 1492) (image courtesy of Flikr)
  • Sarum College (once the Bishop’s Palace)
  • Thomas Church of Canterbury (has the largest chancel painting in England entitled “Doom”)
  • Open Air Market (every Tuesday and Saturday)


 Nearby Things to Do In Salisbury

Shopping, boutiques, book stores, and restaurants abound in Salisbury. But if want to see more of the surrounding countryside, there is plenty.

Eight miles north of the town of Salisbury, the massive upright rocks of Stonehenge stand their ground and have bewildered archeologists for thousands of years.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this spectacular monument. It’s only a 20 minute drive.

visit salisbury cathedral

There are no accidents, only unsolved mysteries – Sandra Kring

Other nearby ancient monuments are Avebury, King’s Barrow, and Woodhenge. 

Bring a camera, some comfortable shoes, and enjoy exploring the area.


Why Should I Visit Salisbury Cathedral?

Known as the best cathedral in the UK, tourists from around the globe stand in awe of this place. The world’s oldest working clock.  The Magna Carta. The tallest spire in Britain.  The Salisbury Cathedral font.  These are just a few reasons to visit Salisbury Cathedral.  

But even if amazing antiquated medieval churches aren’t your forte, you’ll find tons of other things to do in Salisbury. Famous burial sites.  A plague pit.  Nearby Stonehenge. Execution sites. And shopping. Lots of shopping.

The town of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England, is bursting with history and beauty.  Stop by this charming city in the countryside for a few hours or, better yet a day or two.  It’s brimming with British culture, mystery, and charm that you may not find anywhere else.


Have you been able to visit Salisbury Cathedral? Post a comment below and tell us about it.


Ditch the hotel and live like royalty on your next vacation.  Here are 5 Best Castle Hotels in Scotland that you’ll love to check out.


5 Best Castle Hotels in Scotland You’ll Love

 best castle hotels in scotland
The best places to visit in Scotland are the castles. One of the best things to do in Scotland is stay in a castle.  Scotland is bursting with castle hotels that are ready to treat the common folk like royalty.  These beautiful creations beckon tourists to sample their history, architecture, and romance.  Scotland castle hotels offer guests the opportunity to vacation like kings while staying on a hotel budget. Let’s take a look at some of the best castle hotels in Scotland that will take your breath away. 

Dalhousie Castle Hotel

Seven miles south of Edinburgh on the River Esk, this 13th century fortress transports guests to a time of intrigue and mystery.  It’s the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland.  Themed bedrooms are in keeping with the Scottish Highland history of Robert the Bruce, William Wallace (Braveheart), and more.  The dining area is in an ancient barrel-vaulted dungeon aptly named The Dungeon Restaurant. Or enjoy pristine panoramic views with your royal afternoon tea from the topside bistro. The hidden Library Bar offers Scottish whiskey and French Champagne.  You’ll be surrounded by history while enjoying the modern luxury of a pool, hydro spa, sauna, steam bath, and Wi-Fi. Bring your bathing suit and prepare to indulge.  As if dungeons and hidden rooms weren’t enough, guests at this castle hotel can also try their hands at Falconry.

Melville Castle Hotelbest castle hotels in scotland

This lovely castle hotel in Scotland is swimming in romantic and tragic history.  Only six miles outside of Edinburgh, it offers a charming alternative to a stoic hotel in the city. 
Queen Mary of Scotland, Queen Victoria, and King George IV (among others) visited while on holiday.   The 32 bedroom suites boast 18th century elegance with its high ceilings and period furniture. Wake up hungry, and enjoy a full Scottish continental breakfast each morning.
Keep a camera handy to capture the stunning views from this castle hotel that force you to relax and enjoy your Scottish holiday.  Weddings, birthdays, and other venues can be booked as well. Get married and sprint to the classic grand four-poster suite for a honeymoon to remember. 

Greywalls Castle Hotel

Pack your golf bag and enjoy a golfer’s holiday. Built in 1901, this is one of the top castle hotels in Scotland that caters to golfers.  Designed as a holiday home for the golf-loving Hon. Alfred Lyttleton, it rests on the outer edges of Muirfield, one of Scotland’s most famous golf courses. Most of the 23 bedrooms overlook the Firth of Forth, Muirfield, or Lammermuir Hills.
While it’s not a self-catering castle, you can book a stay in the Colonel’s House – a lovely four-bedroom cottage set just beyond the castle gates.  If you stay in a castle hotel in Scotland like Greywalls, you’ll enjoy fully orchestrated meals in the formal dining room. Chez Roux gives you a taste of fine dining but a lighter alternative is the all-day dining in The Lounges for more informal meals.  Located only 30 minutes outside the capital, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Edinburgh in case golf isn’t your forte.  Edinburgh Castle (open all year), shopping on Princes Street, a picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden, and HMY Britannia (the Queen’s yacht) beckon visitors to experience the heart of Scotland.   

Stobo Castle Hotelbest castle hotels in scotland

Located about an hour south of Edinburgh, this could be one of the best castle hotels in Scotland.  Tranquility, miles of countryside, and a calming loch give you a chance to recharge and enjoy the beauty of Scotland.  
At Stobo, you can stay in a historical castle hotel while enjoying modern spa treatments, a fitness room, and hair studio.  Men and women can indulge in the steam room, Swedish sauna, hot tubs, swimming pool, and hydro spa.  Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit.  The Ladies Health Suite caters to the female well-being including expectant mothers.  
Bedrooms range from ultra-luxurious to a more standard décor.  The complimentary slippers are a sweet perk of staying here.  Put on your sneakers or boots and hike one of the many trails, enjoy a walk by the loch, refill your Zen at the Japanese Water Gardens, tackle the tennis courts, or go mountain biking in the surrounding Highland hills.  Explore the history of this stunning castle hotel and its wild countryside in the day; enjoy modern amenities of a relaxing spa in the evening.

 The Witchery by the Castlebest castle hotels in scotland

For the truly decadent Scottish holiday, this castle hotel is one of the best places to visit in Scotland.  Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, its name is derived from the multitudes of women who were burned at the stake as witches during the 16th and 17th centuries.
It was built in 1595 and looks like much the same as it did then.  The nine lavish bedrooms scream opulence and old-world taste with their gilded ceilings and tapestries.  Antique candlesticks, gilded leather screens, and rich red upholstery take you back to the reign of James VI.  Did I mention that each room comes with a complimentary bottle of Champagne?  A full Scottish breakfast awaits each morning in the castle’s original dining room.  Put on your tux or little black dress and descend the stone staircase to The Secret Garden where fine dining is mixed with a touch of mystery.  French windows, painted ceiling, ancient oak paneling, and colorful tapestries add to the aura of mystic. 
A Scotland castle hotel like this one may be a bit pricey, but if you want to stay in a castle then this is definitely worth it.
The best places to visit in Scotland are the castles.  History, tragedy, romance, and intrigue fester in their stone walls.  There’s no better way to be part of it all than being able to stay in a castle hotel.  Whether you’re searching for simplicity or decadent luxury, Scotland castle hotels won’t disappoint.  Forego the stuffy and boring hotel rooms.  For the same price, or a bit more, you can live like royalty in one of the many full service or self-catering castle hotels in Scotland.  I know I’ll be adding the Witchery by the Castle to my travel bucket list.
Have you stayed in a castle hotel in Scotland?  Leave a comment and share your experience below.
Read my article about What to do in London for two days and see how much fun you can have in one short weekend in England!

What to do in London for two days – Things to Do in London, England

what to do in london for two days

what to do in london for two days

Discover what to do in London for two days that will make you fall in love with the city, culture, and people.


As one of the top-ranking cities visited by tourists, there are thousands of things to do in London, England.  Experiencing them all would probably take years.  The typical traveler needs a more compact agenda.  Tourists don’t know what to do in London in two days or less.  With hundreds of years of history, it’s impossible not to appreciate the grandeur and excitement London offers.  But what if you’re pressed for time or only have a weekend in London before heading out? If you’re wondering about what to do in London for two days, here are my top suggestions.



Big Ben, House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey

As the top places to visit in London, England, these landmarks reside almost side by side.  Visiting them is convenient without being time consuming.  Of all the things to do in London, these three iconic landmarks are the most visited because they’re easy to find and in the heart of the city.



Count the Minutes with Big Ben and ToBig Ben what to do in London for two daysur the House of Parliament

We’re all familiar with Big Ben, the giant clock on the top of Elizabeth Tower next door to the House of Parliament.  Originally named The Great Bell (referring to the giant bell inside the clock tower), the nickname of Big Ben was given based on its makers: Sir Benjamin Hall and Ben Caunt.  Nowadays, we refer to the entire tower and clock as Big Ben.


Taking a tour of the House of Parliament involves climbing 334 steps to the top of Big Ben where you get a behind-the-scenes look at the clock mechanism. While there, you’ll hear this massive clock strike the hour. Since Big Ben is the third largest clock in the entire world, it’s quite the experience.


If you have an agenda of what to do in London for two days, add this to the top of the list.  It’s a quick stop and a perfect photo opportunity.


Weddings and Funerals at Westminster Abbey

what to do in london for two days westminster abbeyWest Minster Abbey is around the corner from the House of Parliament and Big Ben.   Steeped in more than a thousand years of history and intrigue, it’s considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world. This was one of my favorite places to visit in London because I adore Queen Mary of Scotland and Queen Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII).

Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen) is buried here.  So is her cousin and rival, Queen Mary of Scotland, and Queen Victoria.  Princess Diana’s funeral service was held here in 1997.

Since the year 1066, every royal of England has had their coronation here including William the Conqueror, Anne Boleyn, and the current Queen Elizabeth II.

Sixteen royal weddings have taken place here including the current Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

I was fortunate enough to attend mass here while I was on vacation.  I only had one weekend in London, but I made visiting Westminster Abbey a priority.  Unable to get there before closing time, I was able to attend the last mass of the day.  It was free admission, and I soaked up everything that I saw.

Out of all the touristy things to do in London, this was my favorite. Not just because it was free, but because it was steeped in hundreds of years of history.  And I was able – for a short while – to be part of it.



London Eye

Across the bridge from Big Ben is the London Eye.  On the South Bank of the River Thames sits this gigantic ferris wheel.  The tallest in Europe, passengers enjoy the 360-degree views of the city from a comfy air-conditioned capsule.  Get your camera and a selfie stick ready.

London Eye what to do in London for two days

Take a seat and enjoy the view through the crystal clear walls, or feel free to walk around.  It moves 26cm every 10 seconds. The entire trip will last about 30 minutes and pricing starts off at $50 per person. If you only have a weekend in London, it’s an ideal way to see the entire city in less than an hour.  It doesn’t stop and go like regular ferris wheels. Once boarded, it makes a smooth continuous rotation.

Night rides offer a stunning view.  Seeing the city lit up at night from 443 feet in the air is a view you can’t get anywhere else. Getting a bird’s eye view of all the wonderful places to visit in London is a great way to go sightseeing while standing still.



Buckingham Palace

The childhood home of Queen Victoria is a short distance away from Big Ben and West Minster Abbey.  Buy a ticket and live like a royal for an hour or two.  Buckingham Palace is a sight to behold with its beauty and grandeur which is why it’s one of the highly rated things to do in London, England.

buckingham palace what to do in London for two days

Tour the State Rooms that glitter with gold, pick up a souvenir at the Palace Gift Shop, and have tea and crumpets at the Garden Café.  The history of this magnificent palace is illuminated by a professional guide.  You can also get up close and personal with the treasures in the Royal Collection.

If you’re there on the right day, be sure to watch the Changing of the Guard.  I was flabbergasted during these 45 minutes of orchestrated British pageantry. Five infantry regiments have the sole purpose of protecting the Sovereign, and they are truly a sight to see.  The ceremony runs all year, so be sure to work it into your weekend in London.



 St. Paul’s Cathedralwhat to do in London for two days st. pauls cathedral

Dedicated to the apostle Paul, this church has seen its share of history.  It has hosted a slew of services including the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Queen Victoria’s jubilee, funerals for Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.


This was on my list of things to do in London because I am a die-hard fan of Princess Diana.  It’s an amazing experience to walk down the same aisle that she did when she was a bride.  The intricate details and incredible architectural design is nothing like I’ve seen before.  It’s still an operating church, holding mass, so it’s free to enter.  After service, walk around and see the stunning artwork and statues.  Photos can be taken but only after the service.




Tours, Tours, and More Walking Tours of London!

With tourists comes the need for guided tours.  I took several while I was in this wonderful city because I was pressed for time and didn’t want to bother trying to find things myself. Not knowing what to do in London for two days is frustrating, but a well-versed tour guide makes enjoying yourself much easier.

Jack the Ripper terrorized Whitechapel district in 1888.  The town has changed since then but not much.  The Jack the Ripper tour takes you on a two-hour walking journey to investigate the crime scenes as you follow an expert guide.  Wear comfortable shoes, grab a hot drink, and enjoy playing detective in London’s East End. I took this tour with my mom.  It was interesting, fun, and we all had a drink at a local pub afterward to share our theories of Jack’s true identity. This book is a great way to prep for your adventure.

Can the world get enough of Harry Potter and his magic?  If not, you may enjoy this walking tour of London from Harry’s point of view.  It’s geared towards muggles and their obsession with the books, movie sites, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of England’s greatest wizard.   The Tour of Muggles is 2.5 hours and includes a ride on the subway (tube).  Grab your wand (this one is awesome!) and practice your spells as you head out to discover a hidden world of enchantment.  Lots of photo opps along the way so get your phone or camera ready.

With so many places to visit in London, England, a walking tour is sometimes the best way to go.  They last an hour or two and take you to places you probably couldn’t find on your own. For more walking tours of London, try for an array of city, ghost, food, royal, pub, castle, and photo walks.  There’s even a Beatles walk for music lovers.


See a Show in London’s West End

The West End is to London what Broadway is to Manhattan.  All the best musicals and plays are held here.  Top names in Hollywood perform here including Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Matthew Perry, and Kenneth Branagn. Dinner and show packages make for a perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing.

If you want to see a show in London, visit one of these theatres:

  • Adelphi Theatre
  • Playhouse Theatre
  • Trafalgar Studios
  • Cambridge Theatre
  • Apollo Theatre
  • Noel Coward Theatre
  • Dominion Theatre
  • Kings Cross Theatre


London Bridge Is Falling Down, So Go See the Tower Bridge

Completed in 1894, it connects the north and south banks of the river Thames.  Its name is derived from its proximity to the Tower of London.  If walking across it seems boring, take a guided tour to explore one of the Victorian era’s magnificent creations.

what to do in london for two days

It lights up at night and becomes a spectacular image over the evening river waters.   Use the high level walkways to see fascinating panoramic views of the city.  Glass floor panels allow pedestrians to see London life below them from 137 feet (42 meters) above the Thames.



See a Play in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Of all the things to do in London, going to the Globe should be one of them.  While the West End has modern entertainment, the Globe transports you back to the days of wooden playhouses and open seating.  Across from the Tower Bridge, it’s too close to pass up the opportunity to see Shakespeare in action.

If your weekend in London is getting too full and catching a show at the Globe can’t happen, discovery tours are available.  Tour the theatre and see where the magic happens.  You can still discover the history of the world’s most famous playwright without staying for the show.



Trafalgar Square Photo Opp with Lionstrafalgar square what to do in london for two days

No trip is complete without taking a photo of yourself with these iconic bronze lions at Trafalgar Square.  Everyone loves their picture taken with these immense statues.  Climb aboard and smile!  Whitehall (and its Jack the Ripper Tours) is not far from here and can be seen in the distance.

Similar to Times Square in NYC, you’ll find galleries, museums, cafes, and more.  The National Gallery museum, Nelson’s Column (protected by the lions), and the Café on the Square are nestled in the folds of this beautiful pedestrian-friendly area.  There are even public restrooms.

Memorial statues date back to the early 1800s to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  Several fountains house mermaids, dolphins, and King Triton. An enormous Christmas tree is lit in the center of the Square, similar to that in Rockefeller Center.


Best Way to Travel in London is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Buses, taxis, and the tube are great ways to travel in London.  London sightseeing bus tours are even better.  They offer a 24- and 48-hour unlimited hop-on and hop-off options.  It takes you to all the important places to visit in London as you enjoy the ride.

With 80 stops and several walking tours of London included in the ticket price, you can’t run out of things to do in London.  Cheaper than a taxi.  Easier than the subway.

Even if you don’t have a plan, taking a bus tour means you won’t run out of ideas of what to do in London for two days.



Final Thoughts

Thinking of what to do in London for two days can be mind boggling.  With so many things to do in London, they can’t all be done in one visit.  Having a good plan in place makes seeing your top interests doable.

I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for the London Tour Bus. It makes enjoying the city sights much easier.  Experience the culture and see a show in London.  Better yet, grab a seat at the Globe for a night of true Shakespearean entertainment.

If you only have a weekend in London, make the most of it.  Purchase tickets online as early as possible. Take advantage of the walking tours of London to give you a more personalized and intimate encounter with one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Great Britain.

Do you have any suggestions on what to do in London for two days or less?  What are your favorite things to do in London?  Leave a comment below!


Want to know more about London vacation? Read 5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London.

<what to do in London for two days>

12 Things to Put on a Bucket List | Cool Things to Do Before You Die

things to put on a bucket list

 things to put on a bucket list

Twelve Things To Put On A Bucket List Because They Are Totally Cool Things To Do Before You Die


How do you make a bucket list if you don’t know what it is?  Let’s discover the simplest bucket list definition: interesting, fun, and cool things to do before you die.  Anything you’d like to do sometime in your life that you wouldn’t normally do makes perfect bucket list ideas.  Think of things that are out of reach of your daily life, things that you say, “I wish I had time and money to do that.”  Those are the things to put on a bucket list.   If time, money, or fear prevents you from doing something, add it to your list.  Then make the effort to figure out a way to meet that goal.   No matter how old you are, how much you have/have not accomplished, economic status, or limitations you have, if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, get it on the list.


Lost time is never found again. –Ben Franklin


What’s the point of having things to put on a bucket list?

When I was in my twenties, someone who was very dear to me died.  What made that situation so difficult for me was that there were so many things that person talked about doing, but never did.  No time, no money, etc. Someday, I’m gonna do that.


A few months later, I realized I have no idea of how many somedays I have left.  I started making a list of things I wanted to do before my death. I was a single parent making minimum wage. Can we say “difficult”?  Since extra money was non-existent, I came up with some bucket list ideas that are free.  I began with things that were cheap, then inexpensive, then on to things that cost a bit more, and so one.  A scrap of paper on the fridge was my elegant list. But it reminded me every time I went in the kitchen that I had a goal I should be working on.


The top 12 things to put on your bucket list.


1. Play with baby lions, tigers, and wolves – oh, my!things to put on a bucket list

Simba doesn’t have to be out of reach.  At the T.I.G.E.R.S. safari in Myrtle Beach, you can fully interact with these little fur balls under the watchful eyes of their trainers. They are full of energy and ready to play.  Feed an elephant, play ball with a monkey, and learn how animals are an integral part of our existence.  Snacks and drinks are provided throughout the tour.  Following close behind are several photographers snapping photos of you.  Photos CDs are sold separately. It was one of the more expensive things to put on a bucket list, but it’s an experience that can never be replicated.


2. Swim with sharks and stingrays

things to put on a bucket listAfter watching the movie “Jaws” as a child, I was terrified of sharks.  Getting over a fear was one of my bucket list ideas for a long time.  Earlier this year, I discovered the Stingray Experience at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Start out with a behind-the-scene tour, put on your bathing suit, change into your wet suit (provided by Ripley’s), climb in the stingray pool with your tour guide, and enjoy! Don your mask and snorkel (also provided, or bring your own) and swim with these magnificent docile creature! A photographer stands nearby taking lots of professional photos (included in the ticket price). Notice the shark in the background of the picture here?



The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  [Mark Twain]



3. Visit Niagara Falls

things to put on a bucket list

Niagara Falls facing the Rainbow Bridge leading into Canada

Last year I was finally able to check this off my bucket list.  I went in June when it was warm and sunny while missing the peak tourist season. The Falls were amazing.  Photo opportunities abound so keep your camera (or phone with camera like mine) close by. The Maid of the Mist boat tour takes you into the bay for a close up look at this beautiful site.  Restaurants, shopping, and a year round haunted house are within walking distance.  A trolley took us around the grounds for a look at the entire area which is well worth the couple bucks I spent for the tickets.




4. Eat fish and chips in England.

things to put on a bucket listTo Americans, this is a fried fish (usually cod) and French fries.  I tried it when I was in London, and it was super tasty.  Maybe it was the atmosphere and all the Brits walking around.  Maybe it was the astonishing view of downtown London.  Maybe it was the sexy accent of our waiter.  Whatever it was, it was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. The best places to eat fish and chips in London are Poppy’s Fish and Chips, The Golden Hind, or the North Sea Fish Restaurant.



5. Rent a rowboat in Central Park

Movie buff? This is a great bucket list idea for you.  How many movies have you seen where the actors on rowing romantically around a lake in the middle of NYC? That’s the Ramble and Lake in Central Park where you can rent a boat or ice skate.  It’s not free, but not too expensive, either. It’s a peaceful escape in the heart of Manhattan.  I recommend rowing to the middle of the Lake, stand up, and serenade your wife/husband.


 6. Go to Shakespeare’s grave

The greatest playwright in history was baptized and buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. The author of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, and countless others, his resting place is quite beautiful.  His wife, Anne Hathaway, is buried next to him. This is one of the best things to put on a bucket list if you love literature, plays, poems, or romantic tragedies.


AND CURSED BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES. – Shakespeare’s epitaph



7. Tour the Louvre

things to put on a bucket listAnother astounding bucket list idea for history lovers, the Louvre is the place to see at least once in your life.  Smile at the Mona Lisa, gaze at Rembrandt’s and Leonardo Da Vinci’s art, and admire Napoleon III’s apartment.  I recommend a selfie stick in order to get decent photos of yourself with all of these magnificent treasures.  Get a selfie with the Venus Di Milo, the most famous classical sculpture in the world.  Stand between the Winged Bulls of Mesopotamia. The Louvre was a palace before it was a museum. Walk the halls and pretend you’re King for a day. There’s a lot more to the Louvre than you’d think.



8. Meet a real life Scottish hunk in Scotland

things to put on a bucket listGoing to Scotland is one of the coolest things to do before you die.   I found a great deal online, packed my bag, grabbed my camera, and headed to Europe.  I ate haggis, watched Scottish dancers twirl in their kilts, and got kissed by a Scotsman on the cheek.  The Scots are wonderful people! And did I mention that they’re oh-so-handsome? The ones I met sure were.  Edinburgh is the city to see in Scotland and the castle of Queen Mary of Scots is unbelievable.  We took an evening tour of the city and the underground of Edinburgh.  It’s creepy, historically interesting, and so cool to do with a local Scottish guide. A great romance novel book with a sexy  Scottish Highlander that I really enjoyed after my trip to Scotland is A Highlander’s Home. 



9. Kiss your lover (or someone else) in front of the Eiffel Towerthings to put on a bucket list

(then have a real Parisian brunch)

Preferably it should be someone you know and who wants to kiss you back.  Or, just stand in front of it and have your picture taken which is what I did.  The Tower is the most notable landmark in Paris. Have brunch at the 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant located inside the Tower itself.  It’s pricey, but so very worth the experience.  This is a bucket list idea, right? If you’re going to Paris, do it right.




10. Ski in Lake Tahoe

There’s a reason the Olympics were held in Squaw Valley.  The skiing is outstanding.  The views, the scenery, the snow, the atmosphere is unequaled anywhere else.  You can rent all of your gear at the shops at the base of the mountains. I suggest wearing thermal underwear.  Take a cable car to the top, hop off, have your photo taken by a friend (like I did), and zoom down the slope.  You’ll never forget the wind in your face, the slick feeling of snow under your feet, or the world whizzing past you as you glide down some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.



Every man dies, but not every man really lives.  [Sir William Wallace]



11. Volunteer at a farm sanctuary like this one in New York Statethings to put on a bucket list

If saving wildlife is your passion or you just adore animals, this is a great thing to put on a bucket list. It’s free, fun, and you’re showing love to an animal that probably lived a pretty horrible life before being rescued.  You can even stay on the grounds in a tiny house or cottage for a very modest price. While the traveling to get here may not be free, the sanctuary is.  This is one of those bucket list ideas that are free to do for the entire family, and a great way to connect with nature.


12. Kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland

things to put on a bucket list

Blarney Castle, Ireland

Kissing this Stone of Eloquence, as it’s sometimes called, is still on my list.  It’s a great thing to put on your bucket list because: (1) it gets you to Ireland, and (2) you’re touching a piece of history that’s been around for hundreds of years.  The block of stone is an actual piece of the wall in Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland.  The myth says that the person who kisses the stone will be given the “gift of gab”, meaning you’ll become a master wordsmith and can charm the pants off of anyone you choose.  The location of the stone requires you to hold the iron railings as you bend over backwards.  It takes some effort to position yourself in order to do this, but your companions will love watching.  Pucker up, and kiss the stone.


 Final Thoughts

Life only comes around once.  Live it to the fullest instead of wishing you had when it’s too late.  There are so many cool things to do before you die.  With an endless amount of different things to put on a bucket list, you could have more adventures than you ever thought possible.  If money is an issue, start off with bucket list ideas that are free.  Ask you friends and family for funny bucket list ideas that they’d like to participate in.  Whatever type of bucket list you make, just make it.  Start doing things that you’ve always wanted to do.


Do you have more things to put on a bucket list? Leave a comment below and share your ideas!


Adding Europe as one of the things to put on your bucket list? Read my article on 5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Paris. 

Or, if you enjoy the more macabre and unusual, read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.

5 Strange and Unusual Things To Do in London

London England Westminster

Indulge in these five strange and unusual things to do in London, England, to make your vacation unforgettable.


You’ve made it to London!  As one of the most recognized cities in the world, London has a lot to offer travelers.  So many sights to see and experiences to have, it can be overwhelming. Let’s forget about the standard sightseeing for a moment.  For my holiday, I wanted a more unique vacation. That meant finding strange and unusual things to do in London, England.  No gory super scary stuff.   I just wanted to find some strange and unusual things to do in London rather than stand in front of Big Ben like everyone else.

So I did my research and decided exactly what to do in London for a day that’s totally off the beaten path.


Strange and unusual things to do in London

Watch naked boys read

Books and birthday suits come together in a titillating combination when you Watch Naked Boys Read.  This could be the best thing to see in London on your vacation. Literature is read aloud by – you guessed it – real live naked men.

Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Photo by Zbigniew Tomasz Kotkiewicz

Literature meets lovers of the male physique.  Hear passages of your favorite text read by live men standing on stage wearing nothing but a smile.  The audience is required to be fully dressed as you admire the variety of male flesh on display for all to see.

It’s a touring event that hosts in different areas.  There are no rehearsals.  It’s an honest-to-goodness on-the-spot reading of poems, monologues, and other curated texts.  Check their events calendar for dates and locations to visit this sexy library of talent.






Sherlock Holmes Museum

When I traveled to London a few years ago, I searched the area around my hotel and found this. I had to put it on my list of cool and unusual things to do in London.   Everyone knows about the great Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson.

But did you know that at 221b Baker Street, you can step back in time and visit the house where Sherlock and Watson solved their greatest mysteries?  It’s quaint, charming, and so cool to turn back the clock and imagine yourself examining clues and solving those unsolvable mysteries.

It’s probably the world’s most famous address, and showcases the recreated living area that Sherlock and Watson occupied.  Sherlock’s famous violin and book collection of beekeeping are delicately placed near Watson’s notes he jotted down before dashing out to gather more clues.

A welcoming gift shop is next door for souvenir purchases.  The museum is open every day except Christmas.  Don’t forget your camera.  Posted at the front door is a police detective who gladly stands tall if you’d like to snap a photo with him.   Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

 After the museum, enjoy a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Ave.  The upstairs has been converted to a life-size replica of the rooms that Sherlock and Holmes shared around 1894.  The details are amazing and go into more depth than the museum.

If you’re wondering what to do in London in a day and feel like playing detective, I recommend combining the two to get the true Sherlock Holmes experience.


Weird and unusual things to do in London

Made from the Dead Taxidermy Workshop

Try your hand in a taxidermy workshop and stuff your dead animal under the guidance of Tonja Grung.  Choose a course you’d like to take – Mouse anthropomorphic, Black Plague, Corvidae family bird head, or bird taxidermy course.  Bring some friends (six or more) and get a 10% discount.

While it seems strange, it’s also a truly unique thing to do in London.  The Mouse anthropomorphic course, for example, is four hours long and takes you through the entire process.  strange and unusual things to do in london

Start with a complimentary dead mouse, learn how to skin it, tan it, and mount it.  Props such as miniature clothing and accessories are available to bring your mouse to life, so to say.

Refreshments are served as you work.  You leave with your very own mounted Stuart Little and a complimentary beginners taxidermy kit.

If you enjoy it, add to your taxidermy kit.


Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

It’s scary. It’s creepy.  It’s one of the most fun things to do in London at night. You’re locked in a room with a group of 11 people and a zombie who’s chained to a wall.  Your job is to find the key to unlock the door and escape before the zombie gets free.  Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Through a series of clues and riddles, you have to perform under pressure to gain your freedom and protect your brain from the hungry zombie.  As time ticks by, the chain restraining the zombie loosens.

You have only 60 short minutes to locate clues, solve riddles, and obtain the key that unlocks the door standing between you and survival before the undead zombie reaches you.


Take the Muggles Tour (Harry Potter)

I mentioned this tour in one of my other blog posts, but it deserves another because it’s getting five-star ratings as one of the best London attractions for families. This tour brings the books to life and throws muggles into the heart of the world of wizardry.

Only 20 muggles per tour, so grab your wand,(amazon link)  and book early.  A 2.5 hour tour, you blast your way through the Harry Potter series to visit the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic, No. 12 Grimmauld Place, and multiple locations where death eaters terrorized, well, everyone.  This tour wasn’t around when I visited London, but it is definitely on my to-do list.Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

Another Harry Potter tour you can check into in case the Muggles Tour is sold out is the Harry Potter London Landmarks Tour .  While it goes to a few of the same locations that the Muggle Tour does, it takes you to a few places the Muggle’s misses. Strange and Unusual Things to do in London

During the 2.5 hour adventure, you’ll board the “Hogwart’s Express” at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. Thus begins your journey to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Stop at Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and Leadenhall market to name a few.

Brush up on all the Harry Potter facts, adventures, and important places so you’re prepared for the tour.  Find the complete book set here.




No matter how much time you have, there’s always a variety of unusual things to do in London.  Leave the standard tourist spots behind.  Grab your camera and SD card.  Find the strange and unusual things to do in London that set your vacation apart from the rest.  Play detective for a day, stuff a dead animal, or trying to regulate your breathing as you watch a hunk read Little Women.  Throw normality to the wind and enjoy some strange and unusual things to do in London that make you smile for years to come.


Have you been to London and done weird stuff? Share your comments below and tell us all about it!

Need more of the unusual?  Read 5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London, England.



5 Unusual and Creepy Things to Do in London England

London England Westminster

London England Westminster

Traveling to a new city is an exciting adventure.  The sights, the sounds, the people, and the culture are wonderfully different and exhilarating at the same time.  Sure, the typical tourist things are fun to do.  Buy a magnet of the London Bridge, purchase a coffee cup with the British flag, or order an overpriced latte at café.

But there are so many more adventurous things to do in London.  I knew there would be weird and unique things to do in London that would make my vacation so much better if I could just find out what they were.  I did, and I’m sharing it with you.  So ditch the typical tourist destinations. Put on some comfy sneakers. Now get ready to experience some unusual and creepy things to do in London that will make your vacation something to remember.


Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #1

Take a Jack the Ripper Tour

London was the birthplace of the first major serial killer to be documented in mainstream history.  This tour is a spectacular way to retrace the steps of Jack and stand in the very spots where he committed the atrocious crimes that made him famous.  It’s a two-hour walking tour that covers a couple miles of street so wear good walking shoes.

Jack the Ripper London England History buffs, like me, will enjoy the knowledgeable story-telling tour guides who take you through modern London while transporting you back in time to the year 1888 in the White Chapel district of Victorian London.

The tour meets every night at the Aldgate East Underground Station.  This is the very center of where Jack the Ripper began his career as a serial killer.  You begin at the residence of the very first murder and follow Jack’s crimes in chronological order.  Your guide walks with you in the very footsteps of Scotland Yard as they remained one step behind Jack the Ripper.

If you’re on a family vacation with the kids, you may want to plan this excursion without them. Murder, prostitutes, a murderer who never got caught….not exactly sweet dreams for the little ones.  But this is one of the most fun things to do in London for adults if you enjoy intrigue, mayhem, and murder mysteries.

Tours are limited so book online to secure your place.


Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #2

The Tower of London

One of the absolute must sees in London, England, is the foreboding and beautiful Tower of London.  Home to every royal family since they took the throne, King Henry Tudor VIII made it one of the most interesting places to see in London.

Tower of London Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn Memorial and Execution Site

A short distance away is Tower Green.  This is where Henry beheaded his wives, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey, and many others who displeased him.  The scaffold is no longer there but a beautiful glass monument commemorates the exact spot where they lost their heads.



St. Peter ad Vincula behind Anne Boleyn Memorial

Right behind the monument is the quaint and serene St Peter ad Vincula that was used by the royal family.  Among those entombed are Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Jane Grey, Catherine Howard, Lady Rochford, Thomas More, John Fisher and Edward Seymour.  It’s open to the public via a Yoemen’s Warder Tour.  The Yoemens are dressed as they did in the days of Henry VIII. They’re knowledgeable and very friendly.  I chatted with them and even convinced them to take a photo with me.


 If you’ve ever heard of the two princes in the Tower who were murdered by their uncle King Richard III, this is where they disappeared.  The boys were never found.  Some say you can still hear them playing in the Tower.


Tower of London

The Tower is open for tours so you can visit the actual cells where prisoners were kept.  Their graffiti is still etched in the stone walls and clearly visible.  The rooms are dark and damp, but I enjoyed the feel of hundreds of years of history surrounding me. It was a strange feeling knowing I stood in the same spots that queens, princes, nobility, and traitors had stood as they awaited their fate.


Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #3

The Soho’s Murder Mile Tour

Out of all the unusual and creepy things to do in London, this may top the list.  Trace the footsteps of 18 murderous villains (including five serial killers) with a kill total of 75 victims in the span of one mile.

Soho Murder MileYou’ll see 21 locations where these gruesome murders took place on this two-hour walking expedition.  Even though murder sites are not the most pleasant things to visit in London (for some people), they are full of history and a great way to see the unexplored parts of the city that tourists usually miss.

Dress for the weather, wear comfortable walking shoes, and always have an umbrella since London weather can be tricky.  Take all the photos you want.  The guide goes into fully gruesome details based on accurate facts obtained from official records.

While not suitable for children, curious adults and twisted teenagers are welcome on the tour.


Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #4

The Central London Ghost Walk

Forget the typical ho-hum boring ghost walk.  This walking tour should be one of those adventurous things to do in London that’s at the top of your list.  Quiet back streets, haunted pubs, and dark alleyways await you on this tour.

William Wallace Memorial

William Wallace Memorial

The Central London Ghost Walk guides you to Smithfield, one stop among many.

You’ll stand in the very spot that William Wallace, aka Braveheart, was tortured and executed in 1305.  A plaque on the wall of St. Bartholomew’s Church commemorates his life, bravery, and death.

After examining Wallace’s execution site at St. Bartholomew’s Church, slip inside for a moment.  It’s a good place to visit in London if you enjoy a bit of macabre history and medieval architecture.  It is the oldest church in London, dating back to the 12th century. And it’s said that the spirits of those interned here appear to walk among the living as they please.  It has also been the setting for movies such as Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner, Shakespeare in Love, Sherlock Holmes, The Other Boleyn Girl, and Elizabeth, the Golden Age.

Mary Tudor Bloody Mary London England

Queen Mary Tudor

The tour also takes you to the place where Queen Mary Tudor, the eldest daughter of King Henry VIII, earned her nickname Bloody Mary.

In an attempt to restore Catholicism as the reigning religion in England, she ordered over 200 Protestants to be burned alive.  It’s said you can still hear her victims screaming from the pain of the flames devouring them.



Unusual and Creepy Thing to Do #5

The Harry Potter Muggle Tour

Ok, so this isn’t so creepy, but it is a bit unusual.  It’s not often you see adults waving wands and casting spells on the streets of London.  That’s why wizards and muggles alike will love this tour.  It’s been rated as one of the most fun things to do in London for adults and children.

Couples, singles, and families are all welcome.  You’ll visit the real locations that Harry, Ron, and Hermoine used to shoot your favorite movie scenes.

Harry Potter Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Tours begin at the London Bridge tube station (subway stations in American English), and ends near the Leicester Square station.  The 2.5-hour tour combines exploring the city on foot as well as hopping on the subway to get to the other part of the tour.

Sites you’ll see include :

  • No. 12 Grimmauld Place
  • the place where Harry and his friends use polyjuice to enter the Ministry
  • Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley
  • a few locations where death eaters did Lord Voldemort’s bidding to wreak havoc
  • and the actual bridges that the Order of the Phoenix members flew over and under on their way to Grimmauld Place.

This is a new tour so purchase tickets beforehand to secure your place.  Grab your Harry Potter Wizard Accessory Kit, and keep an eye out for Dumbledore and Doby.  Get your camera ready.  You never know who – or what – you may find on this tour.


There are a million must sees in London, England.  But no one can see them all during their annual vacation.  So why not make this holiday different from the rest?  If you want an experience that’s out of the norm, these five unusual and creepy things to do in London definitely deliver.  Ghosts, serial killers, shadowy alleyways, murderers and their victims, and execution sites are waiting for you.  Try one or all of them.  Bring a friend, your camera, and let the creepiness begin.