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Make Your Way Across the Pond

London is certainly one of the world's hippest and most dynamic cities, filled with the intrigue of the royal family, theaters and pubs galore. But take time to explore the UK's other jewels, such as mysterious Stonehenge, Scotland's whimsical castles and Highlands (the alleged home of the Loch Ness monster), and the fantastical villages of Wales.

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Hyde Park

Hyde Park

Hyde Park maintains its idyllic charm down every path traversing its 350 acres. Because of its vast nature, the royal park offers a wide variety of entertainment options, from playing football, Frisbee and cricket — among other sports — on the open pitches to cruising around the Serpentine Lake on a rowboat. 960 1280

Paul Berliner  

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Just steps away from the famed Tower of London, the Tower Bridge broke ground in early 1886, eventually opening up for use on June 30, 1894. The bridge, that connects the north bank of the River Thames with the south bank, measures in just under 800-feet long. 960 1280

By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL],   

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

Still in use today, this 17th-century work of art known as St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most recognizable sights in all of London. It has played a major role in English history, serving as the funeral site for Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, the wedding site of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and many more memorable events. 960 1280
Historic Pubs

Historic Pubs

Most people know about the historic pub scene in London, and it definitely does not disappoint. No matter where you go, from the Black Friar (pictured above) to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, there is always a cold (or, sometimes, room-temperature) beer waiting for you. 960 1280

Paul Berliner  

Big Ben

Big Ben

Located in the Elizabeth Tower and officially known as the Great Bell, Big Ben is situated on the north end of the Houses of Parliament and was completed in 1859. 960 1280
Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens

Once part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens is now a royal park in itself and is loaded with notable attractions, such as the Albert Memorial (pictured above next to London’s most famous music venue, Royal Albert Hall), as well as "The Arch" by Henry Moore and, of course, Kensington Palace, the residence originally occupied by King William and Queen Mary. 960 1280

Ben Breslerman  

British Museum

British Museum

Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over 2 million years of human history, with more than 13 million pieces in its collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies. 960 1280

By Eric Pouhier (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL],   

London Underground

London Underground

Perhaps the most famous form of public transportation in the world, the London Underground, also known as the Tube, is considered the world’s oldest rapid transit system and traverses all of greater London and its surrounding home counties (including Buckinghamshire, Essex, Surrey and more). 960 1280

By Chris Sampson (LONDON BRIDGE-1 150210 CPS) [CC BY 2.0],   

Theatre District

Theatre District

Situated in the West End, London is one of the most highly regarded cities in the world to see commercial theater. Primarily located on the Strand, Drury Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue, London’s main theater district, also known as "Theatreland," contains over 30 venues. 960 1280
Queen's House

Queen's House

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of this iconic royal residence in Greenwich, London, commissioned for the wife of King James I. Architecturally brilliant, the Queen’s House was the first classical-style building constructed in the UK. 960 1280

By on_dit (Own work) [Public domain],   

Abbey Road

Abbey Road

Taking a photo as you walk across the street in front of Abbey Road Studios is surreal — and a no-brainer for any Beatles fan. 960 1280

By calflier001 (ABBEY ROAD NW LONDON APRIL 2010) [CC BY-SA 2.0],   

London Eye

London Eye

In a city filled with historic landmarks, the London Eye is one of the more recent attractions opened in the year 2000. Standing at over 400 feet tall, the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe, offers up spectacular views of the city. 960 1280

By Diliff (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5],   

Tate Modern Museum

Tate Modern Museum

The Tate Modern is very impressive, including the building that houses the collection, which is a contemporary work of art in itself. The exhibits range from abstract art from the early 20th century to British art dating back to the 1500s to acquisitions from all over the world, including the likes of Dali and Picasso.
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Robin MacDougall/Getty Images  

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Steeped in history, Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British Monarch. Witness the Changing of the Guard or explore one of the 19 state rooms where the monarchy entertains visiting dignitaries. 960 1280

By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL],   

Red Telephone Boxes

Red Telephone Boxes

Although several thousands of them no longer work and have been removed from the streets, these classic red telephone boxes still remain all over the United Kingdom as a nostalgic symbol of days gone by. 960 1280

By calflier001 [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Statue of Eros

Statue of Eros

Considered by some to be one of the more famous works of art in London, the statue of Eros, the Greek god of love, was originally erected as the centerpiece of Piccadilly Circus, eventually being moved to its current location, on the southeastern side of Piccadilly Circus, after World War II. 960 1280

By Love Art Nouveau [CC BY 2.0],   

Borough Market

Borough Market

Just a short walk along the River Thames from the Tate Modern lies one of the best and oldest fresh-food markets in the world, let alone in London. Supplying many of the city’s best restaurants with produce and other assorted treats, Borough Market is a food lover’s heaven. 960 1280

Ben Breslerman  

Downtown Architecture

Downtown Architecture

From 17th-century churches to contemporary structures like the egg-shaped "Gherkin" (pictured above), London blends the old with the new seamlessly, creating an impressive variety of architectural stylings. 960 1280

Carlos Delgado [CC BY-SA 3.0],   

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Located within a short walking distance of Big Ben and the British Parliament building, Westminster Abbey is a historic Gothic-style church formerly known as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter. 960 1280

By MathKnight and Zachi Evenor (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 or CC BY 3.0],   

Residential street in Surrey, England
A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born

Born to 16-year-old Patricia Clapton on March 30, 1945, Eric “Slowhand” Clapton grew up in the English town of Ripley, Surrey. Too young to look after Eric on her own after his 24-year-old soldier father defected back to Canada, Patricia turned to her mother, Rose, and Rose’s second husband, Jack Clapp, to raise her son.

Did You Know? Until age 9, Eric believed that his mother was actually his sister.

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Charles Bowman / Design Pics / Axiom Photographic Agency / Getty Images  

London's West End

London's West End

Intrigued by the blues at an early age after hearing records by B.B. King and Buddy Guy — among others — Eric learned to play guitar as a young teenager, receiving his first instrument at 13. He spent the next couple of years busking around London’s West End and the suburbs of Richmond and Kingston, trying to make a name for himself.

Did You Know? In 2000, Clapton released the certified multiplatinum album Riding With the King with one of his idols, blues legend B.B. King.

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Luis Veiga / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images  

The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds

At age 17, after working alongside his grandfather as a bricklayer, Eric turned his full attention to music, earning his reputation by playing with local bands including the Roosters and Casey Jones & the Engineers. However, it wasn’t until October 1963 that Eric cultivated his style and became known as the best R&B guitar player on the English pub circuit, joining Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja as a member of the Yardbirds.

Did You Know? Eric got the nickname "Slowhand" from the Yardbirds’ manager, because when he would break a string, he would stay on stage to fix it and receive a slow handclap from the crowd.

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CA / Redferns / Getty Images  

Clapton Is God

Clapton Is God

Eric left the Yardbirds after 18 months because of the group’s increasingly commercial sound and joined John Mayall’s band, the Bluesbreakers. It was during this time that he received his second nickname, “God,” after a superfan wrote “Clapton is God” in graffiti on the wall of London’s Islington Tube station.

Did You Know? Eric Clapton has been a part of 9 different bands in his career: the Roosters, Casey Jones & the Engineers, the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and Legends.

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Kimberley Coole / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Eric solidified his position as rock’s premier guitarist, elevating himself to superstar status as part of England’s first successful supergroup, Cream, alongside singer/bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. After touring the US and receiving worldwide acclaim for their albums Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, Cream disbanded because of several factors, primarily the members’ egos. Their final show as a band was on Nov. 26, 1968, at Royal Albert Hall in London. To date, Eric has played 198 shows at the world-famous arena, including a reunion show with the members of Cream 37 years after they called it quits.

Did You Know? The blues and psychedelic-rock style performed by Cream exemplified Eric’s distorted yet heavy guitar sound, which would later be dubbed the “woman tone.”

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Craig Roberts / Britain on View / Getty Images  

'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs'

'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs'

Shortly after becoming close friends with the Beatles’ George Harrison in the late 1960s, Eric Clapton formed the band Derek and the Dominos, bringing in Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock and Carl Radle. It was during this time that Eric fell in love with George’s wife, Pattie Boyd, and created the concept album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Eric eventually shared the song Layla with Pattie, telling her that she was the inspiration and professing his love for her. It wasn’t until 9 years later, after her divorce from George, that the 2 were married and moved into Clapton’s Hurtwood Edge Estate in Ewhurst, England.

Did You Know? George Harrison was the best man at Eric and Pattie’s wedding.

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Top: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images ; Bottom: John Rodgers / Redferns / Getty Images  

Don't Call It a Comeback

Don't Call It a Comeback

Although Eric and Pattie finally married in 1979, his love for her went unrequited for several years beforehand, forcing Eric into seclusion and leading him into a 3-year downward spiral induced by his overuse of heroin. Finally cleaning himself up, Eric returned to the spotlight in 1973, when he played back-to-back concerts, organized by Pete Townshend of the Who, at London’s Rainbow Theatre.

Did You Know? Eric and Pattie’s marriage lasted for just less than 10 years. He married Melia McEnery in 2002, and they have 3 daughters, Julie Rose, Ella Mae and Sophie.

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P. Floyd / Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images  

Live Aid

Live Aid

Known as one of the most iconic shows ever performed by Eric, the short-but-sweet, 4-song Live Aid set — which included White Room, She’s Waiting and Layla — elevated Slowhand’s career to new heights. He took the stage at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985, and found a new audience at the worldwide charity event.

Did You Know? Live Aid was a dual-venue event that took place simultaneously at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London.

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Mike Cameron / Referns / Getty Images  

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In the 1990s, Eric Patrick Clapton was honored twice by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland — in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, and then again in 1993 as a member of Cream. On March 6, 2000, Clapton was once again brought into the fold by the foundation’s committee, as he was inducted to the hall as a solo artist as well.

Did You Know? Eric is the only musician in history to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 3 times.

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Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images  

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

After several years of well-documented substance and alcohol abuse, as well as his courageous effort to get and remain clean, Eric opened Crossroads Centre, a drug-treatment facility on the Caribbean island of Antigua, in 1998 as a safe haven for those experiencing similar addictions. In a very successful attempt to raise funds for the center, Eric held a benefit concert in 1999 at the world-renowned Madison Square Garden in New York City. That event later developed into the Crossroads Guitar Festival.

Did You Know? There have been 5 Crossroads benefit concerts to date, the last occurring in 2013, again at MSG.

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Larry Busacca / Getty Images  

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

At Buckingham Palace in late 2004, Eric Clapton, now one of Britain’s most beloved rock stars, was honored with one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious awards, being made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, for his incredible services to the music industry. Among the vast amounts of praise heaped upon Eric throughout his career, he ranks second on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Did You Know? Eric has won or shared 18 Grammy Awards, including the lifetime-achievement award in 2006.

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Stuart Black / Robert Harding World Imagery / Getty Images  

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