So besides the Harry Potter Studio Tour, here are a few of the other places I've been to. We have classes Monday through Thursday and we usually go somewhere in town to draw and to a park to paint (I'll put my first week's sketches and painting up soon). Aside from that, we usually get the rest of the day to go where we want, explore, etc. and on the weekends we will usually take a group trip to somewhere new.
Our first weekend we went to Portobello Road (anybody have the Bedknobs and Broomsticks song stuck in your head now?), a huge outdoor market on one long street.
For our sketch class we went to Westminster Abbey this week - it's a huge cathedral/church still being used by the Anglican church. I'd have a separate post for it with pictures if they didn't have some stupid rule about not taking photos inside. So instead you'll just have to use your imagination and think of the most glorified mausoleum you possible can, decorated with all sorts of medieval graves and coffins, banners, swords, engravings, statues, sculptures, and surrounded by Gothic architecture. Many members of the royal family are buried inside as well as numerous famous Britons: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin (I stepped on his grave), George Frederick Handel, Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling, Laurence Olivier, and Charles Dickens. There's a monument to Shakespeare as well, but it's not actually where he's buried. We stayed there for the Evensong where the church choir comes and sings/chants during an Anglican prayer service. It's hard to describe the feeling of listening to the "Olde" English prayer chanting while sitting inside a massive cathedral - staring up into the archways and at the stained glass paintings and religious sculpture - it was unreal.
There I am just chilling on the bridge right outside British Parliament and Big Ben
And on Sunday we went to go see the developments on construction for the Olympics that will take place just after we leave (thank goodness...). I'm glad we won't be here when all of that crazy tourism flares up, it's busy enough in London as it is. The tower behind me is some sort of... "art"sy tower they built just for the Olympics. Some people say it's supposed to be the British Eiffel Tower, others say it looks like an awkward roller coaster, and I think it's kind of gimmicky and would maybe have gone with different colors other than red railing. Far to the right (and not seen in the photo) is a huge International Mall that was built pretty much just for the Olympics. It's not bad. But also kind of gimmicky.