Get in the Mood for London – What to Do When You’re Not Watching the Olympics
In case you haven’t heard, the iconic London Eye has been transformed into a barometer of sorts to measure how the Twitterverse is feeling about the Olympics. EDF Energy, a London Eye sponsor, has come up with an algorithm that will measure positive and negative tweets about the Games. Those feelings will then be reflected by the lights on the London Eye – yellow lights meaning positive, purple meaning negative.
So, this got us thinking … what if the eye goes purple? How will we spend our time in London if the Olympics take a nose dive? Well, regardless of the Eye being mostly yellow or purple, here are some other things to do around the city when you’re not keeping a close eye on the competition.
*Take a 30-minute spin on the aforementioned London Eye for expansive views of the city from an enclosed capsule. The highest point is nearly 440 feet high on this mega Ferris wheel, and from there, you can see for 25 miles around the city, with panoramic views of Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. If you’re in the mood for a splurge, book a private capsule for a romantic evening above London.
*Catch a show in the West End neighborhood, lined with about 40 elegant and historic theaters showing favorite musicals, stirring dramas and often the next big thing. Play a little theater roulette and take a chance at the ticket booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross where you can score half-price and discount tickets for a performance up to a week ahead of time.
*Stay in the Olympic spirit with The London 2012 Festival, taking place until September 9th. Complementing the sporting events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the festival will be the biggest party that the UK has ever seen, with a huge range of events from leading international artists.
Then, check out some of the lesser-known sights in our London Revealed photo gallery.
Explore Britain’s History
*See the British Museum’s more than 13 million-piece collection including the Rosetta Stone – maybe it will help you translate some of the Olympian’s victory speeches.
*Brush up on your sports history with a stop by The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which provides a multidimensional tour of the traditions, triumphs, sights and sounds that have made Wimbledon the most coveted title in tennis, and see the game’s evolution from a garden party pastime to the multi-million dollar professional sport played worldwide today.
* The Museum of London offers an unforgettable journey through the capital’s turbulent past — the Galleries of Modern London exhibition allows visitors to walk the streets of Victorian London, take a stroll in recreated pleasure gardens and marvel at the magnificent Lord Mayor’s Coach.
If all this just isn’t enough, serious history-mongers should check out our rundown of London’s Best Museums.
Eat Like a Londoner
*Tea is such serious business in the UK that there’s a Tea Guild on hand to honor hotels and tearooms for serving the best spot of tea in town, so obviously High Tea is a must. The Palm Court at the Langham Hotel is frequently recognized as the city’s best. With over 30 varieties of tea, delicate crustless sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, toasted crumpets and fancy pastries – who has time for dinner?
*When he isn’t busy screaming at Americans, he’s busy being one of the most celebrated chefs in the city, so make it a point to visit The Restaurant Gordon Ramsay — decorated with 3 Michelin stars for perfection on a plate with French dishes like pressed foie gras with peppered Madeira jelly, smoked duck and peach and almond crumble.
*London’s gastropubs have dispelled any old notions of bland English food, and the Harwood Arms is a stand-out on this foodie scene. Specializing in wild game, local ingredients and classic food-prep styles, the menu is a showcase of hearty and flavorful dishes.
So what’s your prediction for the London Olympics? Will the Eye be mostly yellow or mostly purple?