I recently came across a website entitled “Welcome to Great Britain: #OMGB Home of Amazing Moments”. I had fun exploring the various videos about different things to see and do in Great Britain. These weren’t traditional recommendations that you would normally come across when you are researching where to go or what to do while in Great Britain. These videos highlighted experiences that take you off the beaten path. As I watched the various videos, I couldn’t help think about some amazing experiences that I have had in London over the years. Two that quickly came to mind were going to a couple of sold out events at Wembley Stadium and watching tennis games on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
Traditional Travel Destinations in London
Generally, when I think of the “must see” places in London that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime, I have a list:
- Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards;
- Tower of London and the Crown Jewels;
- Tate Modern;
- British Museum;
- Victoria and Albert Museum;
- Westminister Abbey;
- Hyde Park;
- St. Paul Cathedrals; and
- Big Ben
Of course, these just scratch the surface of well known and internationally renowned art galleries, museums and parks in London. I could literally spend months visiting galleries and museums, and walking in the beautiful parks scattered throughout London.
Theatre, Restaurants and Shopping
London has an incredible vibrant theatre scene with productions that easily rival those from New York City. It is considered by many to be an international capital for food. In addition, the shopping comfortably competes with any centre in the world for traditional quality and choice, and cutting edge fashion trends.
I have been a tourist in London about a dozen times over the last decade. Still, it is not enough. Whenever I go back, I always return to some of my favourite places, or to well known art galleries or museums with special exhibitions that I don’t want to miss. Then I blink. I have one day left on my visit, and I’m gone again, wondering where the time went and how I missed trying the new restaurant getting the killer reviews, or swinging by my favourite shopping district.
And yet, this website, “Welcome to Great Britain: #OMGB Home of Amazing Moments”, grabbed my attention. The videos highlighted experiences that I didn’t even know existed in London. More interestingly, they made me realize how much more there was to see in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.
However, I would have added videos for two other unique experiences. Those would be:
- Experiencing a sold out event at Wembley Stadium; and
- Going to watch a tennis match on Centre Court at Wimbledon
Wembley Stadium is a football stadium located on the outskirts of London, England. It has a capacity to hold 90,000 people. There, I have had the pleasure of watching a concert by the English boy band Take That in July 2011, and a men’s semi-final soccer game for the 2012 Summer Olympics. For both events, the stadium was filled to capacity.
Wembley Stadium is enormous and imposing. For the Summer Olympics, we arrived early and took our seats which were located about 2/3 of the way up the stands. I felt the enormity of the stadium when I sat, looked down and took in all of the empty seats. It was hard to imagine what it would be like once the stadium filled and we were going to be just one of 90,000 people collectively watching one event.
For the 2011 Take That concert, we were seated in the lower part of Wembley Stadium, near the massive and sprawling stage. We also arrived relatively early and then, watched as not only the stadium seats filled up, but also the stadium floor. It was also an amazing sight to watch.
I have never been in such a large stadium before or since. It was an incredible experience to be apart of both events.
I have been to Wimbledon three times by sheer fortune of knowing someone who has kindly invited me along. Each time, I have sat in Centre Court and watched some of the best tennis players in the world, dressed in their pristine whites, compete on grass in one of the oldest and most prestigious international tennis events. I have had the privilege to see both men and women play, and see a semi final and final game. There is usually a few royals present for most games, but most definitely the final. It’s fun to anticipate who might show up.
There is something magical about simply being at the All England Club (the tennis grounds) in Wimbledon. It feels so inexplicably English. The grounds are spread out, simple and beautifully kept. Although there have been multiple improvements to the site over the last 20 years, I do not feel like much has changed. On the contrary, I feel that I could be walking the grounds for a tennis match from 50 years before. There is a hushed yet excited feel to the surroundings and it seems like everyone is on their best behaviour while there. Needless to say, the people watching is fantastic.
Food and Shopping
A favourite tradition at Wimbledon is to have a glass of Pimms, and strawberries and cream. These have been offered at Wimbledon, and considered a must indulgence, for decades. After the Pimms and strawberries, I recommend spending some time in the gift shop. For a tennis fan, this is our equivalent of being a kid in a candy store. For those that are not, there are still some pretty unique items offered for sale that you can only purchase at the store. There is something for everyone and their budget.
If you have a moment, take a look at the website, “Welcome to Great Britain: #OMGB Home of Amazing Moments”. Whether you have never been to Great Britain, or been there a dozen of times, there is lots of amazing experiences ready to explore there. If you thought that you had seen and done all that was worthwhile in London, or Great Britain, think again! There is so much more to see and do waiting for you!
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