Abbey Road Studios
We had 3 days in London. Not anywhere near enough to see everything you really should see, but we made the best of it, I think. One of the first things I absolutely had to see was Abbey Road Studios in Westminster. For anyone who doesn’t know the significance, this is probably the most famous recording studio in the world. It’s the place where The Beatles recorded most all of their albums, and a place made famous by their 1969 album Abbey Road, the cover of which showed the members of the band walking across the crosswalk in front of the studios. Many other famous musicians have recorded here, but it is The Beatles that are forever associated with this place. A pilgrimage here is at the top of the Bucket List for any Beatles fan, and it has become tradition to write a message to the band on the wall outside the studios. I was shocked that this was allowed, and had to question some folks, who assured me that the wall was painted over every few months, and that it was in fact allowed.
I have loved The Beatles since I was a child, and my middle son in particular was pretty much obsessed with them from the time he began walking and talking. He could tell you the band members, who played what, and knew so many Beatles tunes I myself was amazed. He watched Beatles cartoons (remember those?) and insisted his room be decorated with Beatles merchandise. He was so thrilled when we brought back some souvenirs from the gift shop on site.
And you simply cannot leave here until you’ve done this:
A fun thing to do in London that’s a bit off the beaten path is Leake Street and its magnificent street art. Under the platforms of Waterloo Station is Graffiti Tunnel. In 2008 street artist Banksy held the Cans Festival (get it?) here, inviting a number of famous street artists to decorate a section of wall with their work, without fear of being arrested. Once open to traffic, it is now a pedestrian tunnel only.
My husband loves Sherlock Holmes. The famous fictional detective lived at 221b Baker Street, London. This address is the home of the Sherlock Holmes Museum. It was also interesting to note that the Sherlock Holmes statue was located on Marylebone Street, just outside of the Baker Street tube station and not on Baker Street itself.
Off To Hogwarts
Next we were off to Kings Cross Station to catch the next train to Hogwarts! If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter books or have seen any of the movies, you know that Platform 9 3/4 is a magical place. Students board the Hogwarts Express by going straight through the wall between Platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross Station, London. There was a long line resembling the ones at Disney that we are used to back home and we didn’t have time to actually pose at the platform, so we posed off to the side in front.
We thought it was really cool that they would have this there, right in the middle of the busy train station. Next to the platform is a Harry Potter store where you can purchase all sorts of related souvenirs. This was a rather fun day of sightseeing and urban hiking throughout the city. Our health monitors showed we walked just short of 15 miles that day! Not bad!
We topped off the evening with a play at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. A fan of The Wizard Of Oz since childhood, I’d been wanting to see Wicked for some time. It’s the back story of the two witches in the movie, Glinda and Elphaba. The Art Deco style theater was built in 1929 and is located across from Victoria Station in London’s West End (cue Pet Shop Boys).
The production was wonderful. I highly recommend checking it out. It had everything–love, good and evil, friendship, music and life lessons. There was even a dragon! I loved it and would love to see it again. There was so much going on that I’m sure I could see it again and notice something different each time. You’ll never see the Wicked Witch of the West the same again!