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Walk the same hallways as Henry VIII, get up and dance with Billy Elliott

February 2011

The best way to get the feel of a city is to walk it. The best way to get the feel of London is to take one of the dozens of London Walks.

Their walks are the gold standard, and they have an astonishing variety of routes and superbly entertaining guides. We’ve done many themed walks: Beatles, Canals, Legal & Illegal London, the Old Jewish Quarter and the City, but their list goes on and on, to Harry Potter, Secret London, Dickensian & Roman London, Pub walks and the ever-popular Jack the Ripper tour led by the leading authority on Jack, a former curator of the Police Crime Museum.

Strolling Windsor Castle is like strolling through history.

If you are going to stuff a lot of sights in a short time, pick up a London Pass. We loved our tour of Windsor Castle, where you can’t believe you’re walking the same hallways as Henry VIII or looking in the bedroom where Louis XVI slept. You could tour Eton College nearby or use the pass to visit Princess Diana’s Kensington Palace, Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, Queen’s Gallery, Shakespeare’s Globe, Westminster Abbey and, of course, the Tower of London. Sandra was in awe spending time in the Benjamin Franklin House, where he lived while carrying out diplomacy for the colonies (and perhaps keeping a few ladies too!).

After all that touring, you are going to have to stop for a spot of tea. London’s first waist-friendly (and scrumptious) version of afternoon tea, called Afternoon De-Light, is poured at the Metropolitan, 19 Old Park Lane. You can indulge with their healthy interpretations of classics. They cook with low fat crème fraîche, fresh fruit purées, replace sugar or use olive oil instead of butter to create cupcakes, fruit scones, and “no-bread sandwiches” at the famous Met Bar & Lobby Lounge, 2-6 pm Monday to Saturday.

The best way to get to know a city like London is to walk it. Photos courtesy of Stan Poser and Sandra Phillips

Allow at least one evening for the West End, the Broadway of London. We were lucky to score a couple of tickets to Billy Elliott The Musical, the feel-good story of a young lad who avoids his boxing lessons and stumbles into a ballet class, where he discovers his passion. You can find inexpensive seats at the half-price (or so) ticket booths dotting Leicester Square.

You won’t have to fly all the way to London, however, if you want to see this 10-time Tony Award-winner (including Best Musical); this month, February, Billy Elliot The Musical will be in Toronto at the Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria St.,416- 872 1212.

London Walks,; London Pass,; Afternoon De-Light,



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