Ready to experience Britain with me? We'll explore England, Scotland and Wales. I didn't make it to Northern Ireland, but almost had a 'Wild Night' with one of my favorite musicians from there.
Traveling is one of my passions, but unfortunately before the 'passion' part starts, you gotta deal with the airport and the long plane ride.
Not a bad flight at all! The next morning we're in London! Here I am in front of the Chelsea Football Club (yup, they mean soccer)
Here's the stadium. Jimmy Page, Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Sienna Miller and many other celebrities have been spotted cheering for Chelsea here.
Here's one of the many street performers at Covent Garden. He's juggling swords, eating an apple and riding a unicycle at the same time!
They let you drink booze in the streets. Long live Britain!
Here's the first of several great shows we saw in the West End. Cabaret is excellent. And there's lots of nudity too!
This is the Prince Albert statue in Hyde Park.
It's right across the street from Royal Albert Hall.
Van Morrison played here when we were in London. I didn't have tickets, but a couple of my listeners did! Dan Cilo and his guest went to this show!
Here's Westminster Abbey, where many famous people are buried including Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens.
Gotta love the British phone booths.
Here's my Mom trying to call in a request!
If you look closely through the trees you'll see a white home. This is where Prince Charles and Camilla live.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
They start by marching down 'The Mall'
The gardens in front of Buckingham Palace are gorgeous!
Here I am with my Mom by the gardens in front of Buckingham Palace.
A better shot of Buckingham Palace with the gardens.
This statue is in front of Buckingham Palace. If you climb the stairs at the base of the statue you can get a better view of the Changing of the Guard.
All these guys are military.
The street artists in London are the best!
The fountain at Trafalgar Square is a great place to people watch.
The National Gallery is at Trafalgar Square. It's free to get in.
My mom and I met up with Arlene and Bob from Cleveland. Here we are in front of the National Gallery.
This is not a statue. It's another amazing street performer at Covent Garden.
The Cambridge is the pub we went to before another going to another show.
Show #2: Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theater. It's excellent!
The next morning we drove to the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon. Here's the Shakespeare House and Museum.
I thought Woolworths went out of business! But, you can find the popular five-and-dime store all over Britain.
Statue of Shakespeare
To be or not to be, that is the question
Houseboats at Stratford-upon-Avon
This Cathedral in Coventry was destroyed during World War II.
The outside walls still stand and open air services are still held here.
A new church was built next door to the bombed out Cathedral. This modern building was designed by architect Sir Basil Spence.
Here's one of the greatest Cathedrals in Britain, the amazing Minster in York.
Love these medieval streets!
My dog is named Daisy, so I had to take a picture of this shop.
Can you tell we're a family of dog lovers?
Here's another shot of the front of the Minster in York.
The stained glass windows inside are gorgeous!
You see a lot of Yorkies, Westies and Corgies in England.
We stayed at this cool country estate in Darlington.
Here are some of the people in our tour group. So many different accents...people from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Singapore.
The parlor in the country estate.
I love this grand staircase.
We're leaving the country estate and getting ready for another day of adventure.
This is all that's left of Hadrian's Wall - built by the Roman Emperor to protect Roman England from the northern Barbarians.
Figured I'd get my picture on what's left of the wall.
This shows the origin of the Union Jack flag. The white flag with the red cross is the flag of England. The blue flag with the white diagonal cross is the flag of Scotland. Overlap them and you have the flag of the United Kingdom.
Here's part of Northumberland National Park near the Scottish border.
Yes, we made it to the border.
We crossed the Borderlands and stopped at the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey.
I think we had the perfect day to take this picture of the abbey.
Now we're in Edinburgh.
More medieval streets and cool shops! Plus, I can brush up on my English. :)
This is a real doggie in a window.
I saw this place on the Travel Channel on one of the Samantha Brown specials.
I had to go in and get a deep-fried Mars bar! They sell deep-fried Snickers bars too.
Here's Queen Elizabeth's official art gallery in Scotland.
The Queen's official residence when in Scotland is the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Not exactly as posh as Buckingham Palace, but it will do in a pinch.
Here's the new, modern Parliament building. Many locals think it's ugly.
Tea time on the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the road which connects the Palace of Holyroodhouse with Edinburgh Castle.
Here's part of Edinburgh Castle.
One of the lookout posts at Edinburgh Castle.
Several buidings encompass Edinburgh Castle. Inside this buiding is a war memorial for all the Scottish soldiers who have lost their lives.
There's also a memorial for the service animals. This a dog cemetery.
Regimental mascots and officers' dogs are buried here.
Great view of the city of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle.
This cannon was actually never used in battle. It was bought as a wedding present for one of the kings. I wonder where he was registered...
The crown jewels of Scotland are housed in this building. The jewels are incredible but not nearly as impressive as the crown jewels in the Tower of London.
Here's Derek, our tour guide. He's Scottish and he went to college with Prince Charles! Charles was a junior when Derek was a freshman at Cambridge. Derek says Charles 'has always been an awkward man.'
A bagpiper greets us as we go for our Scottish heritage dinner.
The traditional music and dancing is okay...
Truthfully, I was a bit bored during this show. At least it included unlimited wine!
Statue at Gretna Green, the area in Scotland where young couples would run away from home and get married. It's still a very popular place for weddings.
Here's an outdoor wedding chapel at Gretna Green.
We've crossed the border back into England and the quaint Lake District town of Grasmere.
Here's the cemetery where poet William Wordsworth is buried.
He was born in Grasmere.
It's a beautiful day for an ice cream cone at one on the many outdoor cafes in Grasmere.
Next we head to the waterfront for our boat cruise.
Poet William Wordsworth wrote often of the stunning views in the Lake District.
My mom and I enjoying the view of Lake Windermere, England's largest lake.
After the boat cruise, we board a steam train to continue our journey through the lake district. The burning coal really smells!
We arrive at the small town of Haverthwaite.
Next stop...Liverpool for a Beatles tour!
Here's a life-size statue of John Lennon in front of the Cavern Pub, right across the street from the Cavern Club.
Here's the legendary Cavern Club, where The Beatles first performed on Feb. 21, 1961.
The Grapes is the pub where The Beatles would hang out before and after gigs.
Here I am with my Mom enjoying a pint in the Grapes.
We crossed into Wales and the village of Llangollen. I have no idea what this sign says. Does anyone speak Welsh?
There are beautiful flowers all over Wales.
It seems like every small town we visit has its own fudge factory.
Not sure if this is a mountain goat or lamb.
The views in Wales are stunning.
I never realized the home of Tom Jones and Catherine-Zeta Jones was so rural.
Not only are the people of Wales friendly, but so are the animals!
From Wales, we travel to the medieval city of Chester.
These buidings are in the heart of the city. The arcaded shops are known as the 'Rows.'
This is the Cathedral in Chester.
Burlingtons is a great spot to have lunch and recharge. The sandwiches are excellent!
City Hall in Chester.
Roman ruins in Chester.
This Roman wall stills stands in Chester. You can walk on it.
This is a statue of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the Wedgwood company. The world-famous Wedgewood Pottery Centre is in Barlaston.
Wedgwood is England's finest china company. We toured the Wedgwood factory and actually watched the artisans making the very expensive pieces of porcelain.
We're back in London for our final days of the trip. Why would I take a picture of a McDonald's? This McDonald's on Kensington High Street in London is the McDonald's that Princess Diana took Prince William and Prince Harry to eat.
I love Thai food and London is full of great Thai restaurants like this one, Blue Lagoon on Kensington High Street.
This is Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived after her divorce from Prince Charles.
Kensington Gardens are adjacent to Kensington Palace and Hyde Park.
This is the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
I thought it would be more elaborate. I wanted to visit her grave, but it is only open to the public a few months a year. If you want to see it you should visit in June, July or August.
The world-famous Harrods department store is fun to browse but is very expensive. Take a look inside but save the serious shopping for the more affordable neighborhoods in London.
No trip to London is complete until you take a double-decker bus tour.
The twin towers of Westminster Abbey.
Big Ben. Did you know Big Ben is not the name of the clock, but is the name of the bell inside the clock?
The big wheel is the London Eye. It's only been here along the banks of the Thames since 1999. It was built for the Millenium celebration.
This building is the inspiration for all tiered wedding cakes.
St. Paul's Cathedral, where Princess Diana married Prince Charles.
If you look closely at this sundial, you'll notice Winston Churchill's face at the center. Bizarre!
There's lots of boat traffic on the Thames near Tower Bridge.
This modern building is the Swiss Re Tower. Locals call it 'the gherkin' because it looks like a giant pickle. It was completed in 2004 and won an architecture award.
The Tower of London is where the crown jewels are housed.
In the past the Tower of London has served as a fortress, a royal palace and a prison. It is notorious for its torture chambers and beheadings. Anne Boleyn lost her head here.
This is the front of Buckingham Palace.
Pigeons love Trafalgar Square.
If you look closely at the four lions surrounding Trafalgar Square you'll notice the paws look more like that of a dog. The artist who made these had never seen a lion, so he based the look of the lion's body and paws on his dog.
Tickets for the Elton John musical 'Billy Elliot' are hard to come by (and a bit expensive) but are well worth it! Billy Elliot is the best show I saw while in London.
'Wicked' is another great show. But, the New York production of 'Wicked' is better. Of the four shows I saw on this trip, I would highly recommend 'Billy Elliot' and 'Blood Brothers.'
I took this picture of Big Ben and the Parliament Building from the other side of the River Thames.
Another shot of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Here's the Tower Bridge. Many people think this is the London Bridge. The London Bridge is much less elaborate.
I found a great restaurant in the Camden Town neighborhood that specializes in vegetarian Indian cuisine. Delicious and cheap!
Here's my mom with the Smart Car. I haven't seen many in America yet, but they are quite popular in Britain and throughout Europe.
The Cabinet War Rooms are a must see! Churchill directed the war from this underground city during the WWII air raids. Many people lived and worked underground when Nazi Germany bombed London night after night during the London Blitz (1940-41).
These gardens are across from the Cabinet War Rooms in St. James Park.
This looks like a palace, but it's actually the interior of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
We were lucky enough to be there the one day they were having an open house! It's right near the Cabinet War Rooms.
Can you imagine working in a building this ornate?
The artwork on the domes is exquisite.
This is the front of the Foreign and Commonwealth Building.
Thanks for letting me share my photos from Britain!