In many-faceted London, we ponder royal tombs in Westminster Abbey, learn how to triple the calories of an English scone at teatime, discover treasures in the British Library, enjoy the vibrant evening scene in Soho, uncover Churchill's secret WWII headquarters, join the 9-to-5 crowd in the new London, shop where the queen shops, and straddle the Prime Meridian at Greenwich.
The guards at Buckingham Palace change with much fanfare at around 11:30 almost daily in the summer and every other day for the rest of the year (no band in very wet weather). Call 020/7766-7300 for the day's plan. Afterwards, stroll through nearby St. James's Park (Tube: Victoria, St. James's Park, or Green Park).
Wren's most famous church is the great St. Paul's, its elaborate interior capped by a 365-foot dome, Britain's symbol of resistance (it survived 57 nights of bombing during World War II). Today you can climb the dome for a great city view. The crypt (included with admission) is a world of historic bones and memorials, including Admiral Nelson's tomb and interesting cathedral models (Tube: St. Paul's, tel. 020/7246-8348).
For a multicultural, movable feast, consider eating (or splitting) one course and enjoying a drink at each of these places. Start around 5:30 p.m. to avoid lines, get in on early specials, and find waiters willing to let you split a meal. Prices, while reasonable by London standards, add up. Servings are large enough to share. Arrive at Belgo Centraal in time to split the early-bird dinner special: mussels, fries, and dark Belgian beer. At Yo! Sushi, have beer or sake and a few dishes. Slurp your last course at Wagamama Noodle Bar. Then, for dessert, people-watch at Leicester Square, where the serf's always up.
3 Sumner Place
Here, in just two rooms, are the literary treasures of Western civilization, from early Bibles to the Magna Carta to Shakespeare's Hamlet to Lewis Carol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The British Empire built its greatest monuments out of paper. And it's with literature that England made her lasting contribution to civilization and the arts (Tube: King's Cross, turn right out of station and walk a block to 96 Euston Road, library tel. 020/7412-7332).