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Things to do in London, England as an American. British Landmarks to see, historic castles, and our favorite British restaurants and foods we tried during our visit.

Things to do in London: Our First Visit to England

Our 12-year-old son had the amazing opportunity to participate in a 3-week study abroad program in England with his school. We decided to plan a week-long visit during his study abroad program because Paul has never traveled to Europe, and our younger son is just interested in anything his big brother is doing. I’ve been to Europe a few times (a long time ago with similar school programs) and to other countries, but I’ve never been to England.

While there, we tried our best to be model tourists and visit as many places as possible. Even though the weather was gloomy and the time difference was a drag, we had a blast exploring London and even venturing out into the countryside. I’ve also never seen so many prawn-flavored things in my life, lol!

red photo booths in London

We had our first Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Victoria and they put out quite the spread!  I’m now kind of obsessed with the magic that is clotted cream

Afternoon tea

Pictured above: an array of Afternoon Teas, including our visit to an Italian café where “tea” was a delicious cappuccino.

Crown Jewels Stonehenge

We took day trips on our own to the historic former prison grounds at the Tower of London (I wish we could have spent more time there!), rode the London Eye, and visited Buckingham Palace.  

Buckingham Palace

We didn’t rent a car, so we also booked several day trips with a bus tour company so we could see more places in a short amount of time. Our 10-year-old also really appreciated riding a bus in between stops versus walking on the days we explored on our own! 

We took 3 separate day trips: The Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s birthplace), Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle, and Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge.


Every castle we went to was simply jaw-dropping. The architecture is so detailed, it’s crazy to think about how they built these structures back then, and they’re still standing today. 

We visited Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which is located in a charming area with a variety of street vendors to check out. We visited Stonehenge just to check it off the obligatory-places-to-visit list, even though our English friends told us “it’s just a bunch of rocks” (p.s. they were right!). The Roman Baths were pretty amazing, but overall I think Paul’s favorite English find was Hotel Chocolat. Now that he’s discovered European chocolate, I don’t think he’ll go back!

Shakespeare and bath

Visiting England was an amazing experience and we are hoping to plan another European adventure soon!

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