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  • HI, I'M RICK STEVES, BACK WITH MORE OF THE BEST OF EUROPE.

  • THIS TIME, WE'RE IN LONDON AGAIN.

  • THIS CITY JUST KEEPS ON GETTING BETTER.

  • THANKS FOR JOINING US.

  • LONDON'S QUINTESSENTIALLY ENGLISH, YET COSMOPOLITAN.

  • IT'S A CITY WHERE THE NEW AND MODERN

  • SEEMS TO MINGLE ENTHUSIASTICALLY WITH THE OLD AND TRADITIONAL.

  • I KEEP COMING BACK AND ALWAYS FIND A FRESH TRAVEL EXPERIENCE.

  • WE'LL CHECK OUT THE NEW, LIKE THE MILLENNIUM BRIDGE

  • AND THE BRITISH MUSEUM'S GREAT COURT,

  • AND ADMIRE THE OLD, LIKE A LEONARDO

  • AND FRAGMENTS OF THE PARTHENON.

  • WE'LL RESPECT TRADITION...

  • THE ROYAL FAMILY, THEY LIVED ON THE TOP FLOOR.

  • ...AND DO SOME SHOPPING.

  • AND AFTER A BITE OF TASTY ENGLISH CHEESE,

  • WE'LL HIKE THE NEWLY REVIVED SOUTH BANK OF THE THAMES.

  • LONDON, STRADDLING THE RIVER THAMES, IS VAST,

  • BUT EVERYTHING WE'LL SEE IS WITHIN A FEW MINUTES

  • BY TAXI, BUS OR TUBE.

  • WE'LL CHECK OUT HYDE PARK,

  • THE BRITISH MUSEUM,

  • THE NATIONAL GALLERY

  • AND, OF COURSE, THE TOWER OF LONDON.

  • WE'LL WALK FROM ST. PAUL'S ACROSS THE MILLENNIUM BRIDGE

  • TO VISIT THE TATE MODERN GALLERY

  • AND THE ATTRACTIONS OF LONDON'S SOUTH BANK.

  • LONDON WAS CUTTING EDGE IN THE '60s AND IT'S BACK,

  • IN VOGUE AGAIN FOR FASHION, ARCHITECTURE,

  • THE ARTS AND FOOD.

  • SMOKY PUBS ARE GIVING WAY TO TRENDY OUTDOOR CAFES.

  • LONDON'S CITY HALL SEEMS TO ENDORSE THE WAVE

  • OF CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE WHICH STUDS THE BUSY SKYLINE

  • AND SEEMS TO CLAMOR FOR ATTENTION.

  • STROLLING THROUGH LONDON'S PARKS IS A REMINDER

  • THAT SO MANY PEOPLE CALL LONDON,

  • NOT A WORLD-CLASS SIGHT-SEEING DESTINATION,

  • BUT SIMPLY HOME.

  • THE PARKS, LIKE JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THE CITY,

  • SIT ON A FOUNDATION OF HISTORY.

  • THESE INVITING GREEN SPACES,

  • ONCE THE HUNTING GROUNDS OF KINGS,

  • ARE NOW THE SUNBATHING GROUNDS OF COMMONERS.

  • AND THESE LONDONERS MAY NOT REALIZE THAT THEY VERY WELL

  • COULD BE SPEAKING FRENCH IF IT WASN'T FOR THE HEROICS

  • OF THE MAN WHO LIVED RIGHT HERE.

  • APSLEY HOUSE WAS THE MANSION OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON,

  • WHO BEAT NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO IN 1815.

  • THE DUKE'S GUESTS WERE GREETED BY THE MAN HE DEFEATED,

  • A LARGER-THAN-LIFE, NEARLY NAKED NAPOLEON.

  • THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON WAS ONCE THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN EUROPE.

  • HIS LAVISH LIVING QUARTERS ARE EMBELLISHED

  • BY GIFTS SHOWERED ON HIM BY A GRATEFUL EUROPE,

  • INCLUDING 200 PAINTINGS,

  • STILL DISPLAYED MUCH AS THE ART-LOVING DUKE HUNG THEM.

  • WELLINGTON'S VICTORY OVER NAPOLEON AND THE FRENCH

  • SET THE STAGE FOR BRITAIN'S GLORIOUS VICTORIAN AGE,

  • WHEN IT WAS THE WORLD'S ONLY SUPERPOWER

  • AND THE SUN NEVER SET UPON ITS EMPIRE.

  • THIS WAS THE REIGN OF QUEEN VICTORIA,

  • WHO RULED FROM 1837 TO 1901.

  • THE VICTORIAN AGE WAS AN EXUBERANT TIME.

  • THE NEO-GOTHIC ALBERT MEMORIAL REMINDS LONDON

  • HOW VICTORIA'S BELOVED HUSBAND ALBERT --

  • THE ONLY ONE WHO CALLED HER VICKIE --

  • DID SO MUCH TO PROMOTE TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE

  • DURING THAT INDUSTRIAL BOOM TIME.

  • THE STATUES AT THE BASE HERALD THE GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • OF BRITAIN'S 19th-CENTURY GLORY DAYS.

  • ALBERT DIED IN 1861.

  • HIS WIFE, QUEEN VICTORIA,

  • WAS POSSIBLY THE WORLD'S MOST DETERMINED MOURNER.

  • SHE WORE BLACK FOR THE STANDARD TWO YEARS,

  • AND THEN TACKED ON 38 MORE FOR GOOD MEASURE.

  • TAKING MOURNING TO NEW HEIGHTS,

  • SHE REQUIRED THAT THE CITY'S ONCE-COLORFUL FINIALS

  • BE PAINTED BLACK, AS THEY REMAIN TODAY.

  • THE QUEEN BUILT GRAND MONUMENTS TO HER ALBERT,

  • LIKE THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL.

  • THE IMMENSE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM

  • IS NAMED FOR THE ROYAL COUPLE WHO DID SO MUCH

  • TO SUPPORT THE MANY TRIUMPHS OF THEIR DAY.

  • LIKE LOTS OF LONDON'S TOP ATTRACTIONS, IT'S FREE.

  • THE V&A GREW OUT OF THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851.

  • THIS FIRST WORLD'S FAIR,

  • HOUSED IN A TEMPORARY GLASS AND STEEL PEOPLE'S PALACE,

  • CELEBRATED THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

  • AND THE GREATNESS OF BRITAIN.

  • THE THEME OF THE BRITAIN GALLERIES

  • IS STYLE, TASTE AND DESIGN FROM 1500 THROUGH 1900.

  • FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF ENGLISH FASHION HISTORY

  • ARE CORSETED INTO A SERIES OF EXQUISITE DISPLAY CASES.

  • THIS PAINTING FROM AROUND 1600 IS OF A WOMAN

  • WEARING THIS ACTUAL GARMENT.

  • IT WAS TYPICAL FORMAL DAYWEAR,

  • LINEN AND SILK EMBROIDERED WITH SILVER THREAD.

  • NIGHTCAPS WERE FASHIONABLE AMONG ARISTOCRATIC MEN.

  • THIS TORTOISESHELL AND SILVER TOILETRIES KIT

  • SHOWS THAT IN 1640, CAREFUL GROOMING WAS AS IMPORTANT

  • AS DRESSING MAGNIFICENTLY.

  • IN THE 1670s, SHOES WERE CALLED "STRAIGHTS,"

  • AND THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND LEFT.

  • WHALEBONE AND LACING KEPT TORSOS FLAT AND LONG.

  • FANS WERE TOOLS FOR FLIRTING.

  • IT WAS SAID, WHILE A MAN'S WEAPON WAS A SWORD,

  • A WOMAN'S WEAPON WAS A FAN, AND THE FAN DID MORE DAMAGE.

  • IN THE 1740s, A RICH WOMAN'S COURT DRESS

  • WAS AN EXTRAVAGANT DISPLAY OF WEALTH,

  • EVEN IF IT MEANT SHE ENTERED ROOMS SIDEWAYS.

  • THE HUGE COLLECTION ILLUSTRATES

  • THE FAR REACH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE,

  • FROM ITS EXQUISITE INDIAN ART

  • TO ITS SUMPTUOUS HALL OF CHINESE ARTIFACTS.

  • THE HALL OF CASTS IS FILLED WITH PLASTER COPIES

  • OF EUROPE'S GREATEST STATUARY, MADE FOR THE BENEFIT

  • OF LONDON'S 19TH-CENTURY ART STUDENTS

  • WHO COULDN'T AFFORD A RAIL PASS.

  • STUDENTS COULD COMPARE THE RENAISSANCE GENIUS

  • OF DONATELLO, WHOSE DAVID WAS EUROPE'S FIRST MALE NUDE

  • SINCE ROMAN TIMES, AND THAT OF MICHELANGELO A CENTURY LATER,

  • WITH HIS MORE HEROIC DAVID.

  • AROUND THE BACK YOU'LL FIND THAT THIS DAVID

  • CAME WITH AN ACCESSORY, A CLIP-ON FIG LEAF.

  • AS THIS WAS THE VICTORIAN AGE,

  • WHEN ROYAL LADIES CAME TO VISIT,

  • THEY'D HANG IT ON THE STATUE FOR MODESTY.

  • IF THE DELIGHTS OF THE V&A WHET YOUR SHOPPING APPETITE,

  • LONDON'S VICTORIAN GALLERIES

  • EVOKE SHOPPING IN THE 19th CENTURY.

  • AND ALL OVER LONDON YOU'LL FIND INVITING LITTLE SHOPS

  • FOR WHATEVER TREASURE YOU FANCY.

  • HARRODS IS LONDON'S VAST AND VENERABLE DEPARTMENT STORE.

  • IT'S HUGE -- 300 DEPARTMENTS,

  • A MILLION SQUARE FEET ON SEVEN FLOORS --

  • YET CLASSY.

  • THE FOOD HALLS, WITH THEIR EDWARDIAN-TILED WALLS,

  • DELICIOUS DISPLAYS,

  • TEMPTING EATERIES

  • AND STAFF IN PERIOD COSTUMES, ARE LOTS OF FUN.

  • A SMALL SHRINE INVITES VISITORS TO PAY THEIR RESPECTS

  • TO PRINCESS DIANA AND DODI AL-FAYED,

  • WHOSE FATHER OWNS HARRODS.

  • THE EGYPTIAN ESCALATOR IS A REMINDER

  • THAT MR. AL-FAYED IS FROM EGYPT,

  • AND HE'S SPENT A FORTUNE

  • REVITALIZING THIS HISTORIC DEPARTMENT STORE.

  • RIDING IT, YOU ASCEND INTO HARRODS' SHOPPING WONDERLAND.

  • YOU'LL FIND EVERYTHING

  • FROM SPRAWLING HALLS OF DESIGNER WOMEN'S WEAR

  • TO TRADITIONAL MEN'S WEAR

  • TO A $12,000 MINI-JAGUAR FOR THE KID WHO HAS EVERYTHING.

  • HUGE EUROPEAN CITIES LIKE LONDON ARE MADE MANAGEABLE

  • BY EXCELLENT SUBWAY SYSTEMS.

  • LONDON'S MIGHTY TUBE TAKES US ANYWHERE IN THE CENTER

  • FOR LESS THAN THE COST OF A CUCUMBER SANDWICH AT HARRODS.

  • WE'RE ON OUR WAY TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM.

  • AT THE PEAK OF ITS EMPIRE,

  • WHEN THE UNION JACK FLEW OVER A QUARTER OF THE PLANET,

  • ENGLAND COLLECTED ART AND ARTIFACTS AS FAST

  • AS IT COLLECTED COLONIES.

  • THIS PLACE, THE BRITISH MUSEUM, IS THE SHOWCASE

  • FOR THOSE EXTRAORDINARY TREASURES.

  • ITS CENTERPIECE IS THE GREAT COURT,

  • AN IMPRESSIVE EXAMPLE OF EUROPE'S KNACK

  • FOR PRESERVING OLD ARCHITECTURAL SPACES

  • BY MAKING THEM FRESH, FUNCTIONAL AND INVITING.

  • THE STATELY READING ROOM,

  • A TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE AND HIGH THINKING, WAS THE STUDY HALL

  • FOR OSCAR WILDE, RUDYARD KIPLING AND T.S. ELIOT.

  • KARL MARX RESEARCHED RIGHT HERE WHILE WRITING "DAS KAPITAL."

  • THE BRITISH MUSEUM IS THE CHRONICLE

  • OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION.

  • YOU CAN STUDY THREE GREAT CIVILIZATIONS --

  • EGYPT, ASSYRIA AND GREECE -- IN ONE FASCINATING MORNING.

  • THE EGYPTIAN COLLECTION IS THE GREATEST OUTSIDE OF EGYPT.