6 Activities for History Buffs During a Long Weekend in London

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6 Activities for History Buffs During a Long Weekend in London

Every history buff should visit London at least once. For one thing, it is a perfect place to go for a short break. So much history runs through the city that there is more to see and do in just the Square Mile than can be accomplished in a single visit, and that does not include the rest of London. London is definitely a great place to go for a long, relaxing, history-filled weekend. In fact, any history buff can pick a theme for a long weekend and find enough activities in London to stay busy several times over.

For many visitors, a long weekend is the perfect amount of time, long enough that they can enjoy all the activities they want, but short enough that there is no danger of historical overload. What makes London truly perfect for any history buff is that not only does the city have its own history, but there is so much history of other places that can also be seen on a visit to London.

Brief History of London

According to all the current evidence, human settlement in what is now London dates back to Roman times. Londinium, as the Romans called it, was founded around the year 50 AD and destroyed by the Iceni not more than a decade later. However, the site was too important to the Romans, and they quickly rebuilt. London was made the capital by the middle of the second century, a role the city has never really relinquished. It faced some competition, particularly from Winchester, in Saxon times, but from the Conquest on, it has remained the undisputed capital.

That is not to say that the next millennium was nothing but growth piled on success. London lost half its population to the Black Death in the fourteenth century and suffered through both the Great Plague and Great Fire in 1666. Over the following centuries, it grew to become the largest city in the world in the nineteenth century, and it remains one of the most important cities in the world to this day.

1. Visit the Tower

For those who have not yet seen it, the Tower of London is a must-see. It is not only a World Heritage site, but it is also famous in both history and literature. Originally built as a fortress by William the Conqueror, the Tower has become so much more than that. Behind the grim exterior, the Crown Jewels are safely tucked away, and beefeaters regale listeners with stories of the Tower's bloody history. It is open every day, making it a perfect beginning or ending to any long weekend.

2. Go to the British Museum

Visitors to the British Museum can turn a trip to London into an exploration of the history of the entire world, not just the city or even the country. History buffs can take in everything from Britain's own history to some of the most famous artefacts in existence. It houses the Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone and many other famous artefacts. The only problem that may result from a visit to the British Museum is that it can be overwhelming, especially to first-time visitors. Some visitors may want to spend an entire long weekend exploring its halls, and they would probably still find something to draw them back for future excursions. Best of all, the museum offers free admission.

3. Visit Hyde Park

The beauty of visiting Hyde Park, or Kensington Gardens for those who come from the other direction, is that it takes a person outdoors into the fresh air, and this can be nice after a morning in a museum. It is a great way to get some exercise, if the weather permits, and still keep in touch with the city's storied history. Once visitors cross into Kensington Gardens, they can see the Albert Memorial. This stop is a great way for a person to recharge internal batteries, whether he or she is a history buff or just visiting London with one.

4. Take a Trip to the Globe

This is perfect for those who want to combine a love of history and literature with a visit to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. While it is not the original theatre, this replica houses both a museum honouring Shakespearean times and a performance venue. Visitors can enjoy an authentic production, down to the hard benches for those who do not want to stand for the performances. It is a great way for a history buff to be steeped in the experience of London's history by seeing a play staged just as it would have been centuries ago. This way any fan of the Bard can see what history left behind and also feel the experience of living history and drawing the past into their own personal present.

5. Visit Churchill's War Rooms

Not all history buffs are fascinated by looking centuries into the past. Some prefer more recent history, and London has plenty of that, as well. One standout location for those interested in the Second World War is the museum built around Churchill's War Rooms. This museum takes visitors to the darkest days of the war, so they can put themselves in the place of Churchill and his ministers as they faced perhaps the greatest threat this country has ever seen. History buffs can gain a better appreciation of not only what they faced, but how Churchill and his cabinet saw the threat at the time. It is a perfect window into history.

6. Lose a Day in the National Gallery

The National Gallery provides a home to one of the finest collections of art in the world. The huge collection provides any history buff with a connection to the past by letting him or her see it through the very eyes of the people who lived it. It shows the modern visitor not only what the people of the past saw, but also how they saw it. The National Gallery is a window into the human mind, not simply a labyrinth of pictures on walls. Labyrinth is the right word, though, as the gallery is large enough that it needs a colour-coded guidebook so that visitors can find their way around.

Cost of a Long Weekend in London

Staying in a top London hotel can be expensive, which means budget-minded history buffs may want to focus on less expensive activities for their holidays. While some of these museums and activities do have admission charges, there are others that are completely free. The following table can help visitors plan their expenses before their trips.

Activity

Admission Charge

Tower of London

Yes

British Museum

Free

Hyde Park

Free

Shakespeare's Globe

Yes

Churchill's War Rooms

Yes

National Gallery

Free

By combining free and paid activities, it is easy for any history buff to find enough activities to fill a long weekend without destroying a modest budget. Many of these sites are great for family outings, as well.

Buying Necessities for a Long Weekend in London on eBay

If you are a history buff looking to spend a long weekend in London, eBay is a great place to acquire the items you need, including accommodations and transportation, at a cost that fits virtually any budget. All you have to do is type what you want into the search box on any eBay page and watch the results come up. Then, once you have your initial results, you can use the filters on the page to narrow the results down to just the ones you want to consider. You can filter by price, seller location, and many other options. You can also use eBay's sort function to make sure you have the results that matter most to you at the top of your screen.

Once you have found listings for what you need, the next step is to decide which of eBay's many reputable sellers you want to consider for purchases. The best place to start with that is on their profile pages, where you can see their feedback and history. You can also see if they offer any special deals, such as bundling accommodations with transportation.

Conclusion

Every history buff should visit London, even if they can only make time to visit for a long weekend. The city is full of history, both its own and that of the rest of the world, so there is something for everyone. Those interested in art can visit the National Gallery, while those who prefer the words of the Bard can go to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The British Museum provides a comprehensive view of the history of the entire world, while the Tower of London provides a look at British history. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens offer that much-needed touch of the outdoors and fresh air for history buffs who do not want to spend the entire long weekend indoors.

Free options are available for those who want to enjoy long weekends on a very limited budget. Other venues have modest admission fees for history buffs who are willing to spend a little more over the course of the weekend. Hotel accommodations and other tickets can be obtained through local travel agents, or travellers can handle all the planning themselves by utilising sites like eBay.

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