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The Great Court at the British Museum (44.207.636.1555; www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/greatcourt) was formerly a storage area for the British Library. The 1.5-acre space is one of Europe's largest covered squares with a soaring glass and steel roof with no visible supports. Lord Norman Foster, responsible for several of Hong Kong's architectural wonders among other accomplishments, has designed the courtyard to alter the movement of people in and through the museum to allow the public to visit the shops and cafes whether or not they visit the free galleries; the courtyard will remain open every evening after the museum closes. The Great Court houses several education centers, the African Galleries, a new restaurant, and shops. The centerpiece is the famous round reading room, meticulously restored and open to the public for the first time.

Somerset House on the Strand has recently opened more of its 18th-century rooms to the public, including the Hermitage Rooms (www.hermitagerooms.com), which will show rotating exhibits from the Hermitage. Enjoy lunch or dinner in Somerset House itself at the Admiralty Restaurant (44.207.845.4646), the new haute hotspot. The magnificent courtyard features numerous jet fountains as unique performance art.

Well-known British Midland (800-788-0555) offers the Discover Europe Airpass with rates of $109 US within Great Britain and to nearby cities on the continent. A popular newcomer is "go" (www.gofly.com), the low-cost airline from British Airways. Go uses 148-seat, one-class 737-300s. Their London terminal is the uncrowded Stansted Airport (40 minutes to town by Stansted Express train) and offers convenient arrangements with quality car rental and hotel companies.

 

Weather

January 39°F Rainy
February 39°F Cloudy
March 42°F Cloudy
April 46°F Mixed clouds
May 52°F Mixed clouds
June 57°F Mixed clouds
July 60°F Mixed clouds
August 60°F Mixed clouds
September 57°F Cloudy
October 51°F Rainy
November 44°F Rainy
December 41°F Rainy

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