A Day In London

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Visiting England is on my bucket list. It’s been there for ages, but I moved it to the top after I began to write Regency romances. I want to walk the streets, visit the squares, shop on Bond Street and pop a squat in Hyde Park. There’s nothing like first-hand knowledge, is there?

Thus far, my research into England and its geography has been through the glorious, wonderous Internet. I have walked the streets of Beer, Devon, using Google Maps. My first book, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was set there, and the church my hero and heroine were married in was styled after one I saw while “walking” the street. The buildings, pubs and topography I discovered through satellite images, and I tried to style my descriptions after the reality while tempering it with history.

My research of London has consisted of Google Maps for the visual of townhouses as they still exist, but also Greenwood’s Map. The streets and mews are marked, as are points of interest. I can see the lay of London in the time my characters lived there. I used Greenwood’s map for the route my villain and heroine used to reach Hyde Park in the final scenes of my second book, IN BED WITH A SPY.

I have also studied the drawings and maps of MOTCO, which contains everything from offices to streets to banks. It’s like heaven on my computer screen! Their database is simply to. die. for.

But, as I said, there is nothing quite so enjoyable as first-hand knowledge. Have you been to England? If so, where do you recommend I go on my bucket trip? (Which will hopefully occur in 2016). If not, what is your number one bucket trip?

Follow Alyssa Alexander:

Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes. Alyssa’s debut release, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, was awarded 4.5 Stars and Top Pick, nominated for 2014 Best First Historical by the Romantic Times and Best First Book in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest. Her second book, IN BED WITH A SPY, released in December 2014 from Berkley, and received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic times. She has been called a “talented newcomer” and “a rising star you won’t want to miss.” You can find Alyssa at all the usual places! Please stop by and say hello! And you can always reach her by email at alyssa@alyssa-alexander.com.

14 Responses

  1. nmayer2015

    I have visited London and England three times. Still, a visit to London and a visit to my oldest child are the only trips I consider worth the effort of going anywhere. Though I was interested in Regency England the last time I visited England, I hadn’t yet refined my interest . I would like to visit places in existence during the Regency and get a better idea of the London of the day. . However one always has to include the V & A costume section .

    • Hi Nancy! I’m putting V & A costumes on my to do list! And I agree, I want to see places that are still in existence, and though I know they will be changed, it will be interesting just to get a feel for it. Though as Barbara said, it’s probably very modern!

  2. allybroadfield

    I’ve been to London once, but it was before I started writing Regencies, and only for three days (I glommed on to DH’s business trip). We saw quite a bit including Windsor Castle, but I really want to go back. I wasn’t there long enough to give you any useful suggestions. I’ve been to St. Petersburg, Russia three times, and absolutely love it. I could go back over and over again, especially during the white nights in the summer. We’re headed to Prague and Budapest soon, and I’m really looking forward to exploring. Some day I want to go to Germany and explore the castle that belonged to my distant relatives.

    • Wow! Ally, you’re well-traveled! I’ve only been to Mexico on vacation, and I’m thinking it’s time to change that.

  3. Barbara Monajem

    I’ve been to London several times and also lived in Oxford for a year as a child. (I loved Oxford.)
    I like visiting London but must say it doesn’t help me visualize Regency London much. In spite of being the same place with most of the same streets and some of the same buildings, it’s far too modern to really work on my imagination that way. Being there helps with the topography some, though… Much as I love London, often the country houses and villages suit me better when it comes to visualizing stories! However, the museums and such in London are definitely awesome.

    I suggest you get a copy of Louise Allen’s Walks Through Regency London. She provides loads of great info, and the book gives you an orderly approach to your rambles. If I had the time while there (I never do), I would definitely go on all the walks she suggests.

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll definitely pick it up. Having never been, I want to see everything I can, though I have a feeling I’ll end up crossing the city a number of times that way!

  4. I’ve visited London and England twice, before I started writing. Absolutely love the city!

  5. Well, I’m in London right now as we speak. I’ll say it’s been great, hopefully Hyde Park looked better then than it does now. Eva told me to visit The Wallace Collection and it’s now one of my favorite museums. Some of the places I liked was Lancaster, Brighton, Oxford, and Bath. But the Highlands of Scotland was just amazing! You definitely need to move this trip up the list.

    • Oh and Eton! I loved exploring that small college/school town. Not that it has anything to do with seeing young boys and men in coat tails but just seeing the buildings and walls that surrounds the school was fascinating.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Ki Pha, I agree re the highlands of Scotland! Absolutely fabulous. 🙂

  6. only through books and movies/tv

  7. I’ve been planning my European tour for years – first stop is London. As soon as I get over my fear of flying, I’m all set. In the mean time, I’m totally going to check out Google maps for my next scene description. That’s an awesome idea.

  8. I’ll never get the DH in a plane, let alone one that flies over an ocean, so I doubt I’ll see it even though it is at the top of my wish list. I have always wanted to see Scotland and Ireland, too. Boohoo to me.