A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tips and tricks

Out of Practice

The new year, and perhaps some new travel, if I can just get started.

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The clock has struck midnight on 2009, and we now enter 2010.

My 2009 didn’t end so well. I never made it to Morocco, nor even a weekend away. Due to an unfortunate family situation, I wound up flying back to Toronto on Boxing Day. In the end, the cancellation of my flight to Morocco was probably for the best, as it freed me up to be able to fly to Toronto instead and be with my extended family at a trying and emotional time. And even though it was due to unfortunate circumstances, it was nice to see all my extended family during the holiday period.

Truth be told, though, I was never really that excited about Morocco. Even sitting at the airport on December 21st, before the weather closed in and the flight board showed delay after delay, I wasn’t that excited about going to Morocco. I found myself anxious about travelling to a new country, and that anxiety was overwhelming any excitement for my trip.


When my flight finally got cancelled and I couldn’t rebook, secretly I found myself relived that I would get to stay home.

Then came the news that brought be back to Toronto. I landed on Boxing Day and checked into a hotel in downtown Toronto. I spent four days visiting with family and friends, returning each night to my hotel.

On my final morning in Toronto, as I packed my bag and prepared to check out and return to London, I was suddenly struck by the urge to head somewhere other than London. Just a quick trip away, but some place exotic. Yeah, that would really hit the spot. A nice trip away someplace... someplace far away.

I realized that my anxiety while waiting for that Morocco flight was because I was completely out of practice. I haven’t been travelling for work since August, instead spending my time working in London. While working in London has been great, and its allowed me to learn a lot about my adopted home and cement some really excellent friendships, it has also lead me to become something of a homebody. I think I’ve been cocooning.

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All that not travelling, and I’ve lost my sea legs. Travel begets travel. Being on the road makes me want to be on the road more. Being at home, and I want to spend more time at home.

So, who knows what 2010 holds. The London based project won’t last forever, and it is probably only a matter of time until I am on the road again. Then I’ll probably get my sea legs back and be excited to travel again.

Travel begets travel. All I need to do is take that first step out of London again.

Posted by GregW 09:32 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

How to Exchange a Canadian Driver's License for UK License

A practical guide to for those Canadians who are taking up residency in the UK on what to expect when going through the process of getting a UK license.

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If you are planning on moving to the UK from Canada for more than a year, and are planning on driving a car, then you will need to exchange your Canadian license (issued by your home province) for a UK one. I’m going through the process of accomplishing that now, and have found that information I find on the process is either confusing or incomplete. With this blog entry, I hope to detail what I have found out about the process, so others may benefit in the future.


That being said, I am sure others can add to the information in the blog. If you have some information to provide, or a correction, please leave it in the comments. I’ll update the blog accordingly.

Where am I in the process? I now have my full UK drivers license including the ability to drive a manual. This involved exchanging my license for an automatic only license, and then taking a practical driving test on a manual car. I now have a license that allows me to drive manual transmission cars.

What Do You Mean “Canadian License?”

I know, I know... There is no such thing. Licenses in Canada are issued by the provincial transportation authority. In my case, I had an Ontario license. However, the DLVA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) in the UK views all licenses issued from the Canadian provinces the same. Therefore, when I talk in this blog about a Canadian license, I just mean a license issued by a provincial transportation authority in Canada.

Driving On Your Canadian License

So you have arrived in the UK, and still have your BC, Ontario or Quebec license in your wallet. Can you drive? How long to do you have to exchange your license?

Can I Drive A Car with a Canadian License?

Yes. You have up to one year where you can drive a car in the UK on a foreign license. The DVLA website says that “you may drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to eight passenger seats, for up to 12 months from the date of coming to GB,” assuming your license is valid for that period. This applies to both Canadians on working visas now resident in the UK and students studying in the UK.

I Have a Large Truck / Bus License from Canada. Can I drive a Truck or Bus?

No. The DVLA website indicates that you must pass a driving test in Great Britain to be able to drive larger vehicle. In fact, you probably need to take a regular car license driving test as well. The DVLA site says, “Driving test candidates are required to pass a motor car (category B) test first before applying for provisional entitlement for larger vehicles.”

What Happens After One Year?

You can’t drive in the UK legally anymore without getting a UK license.

If I’m Not Planning on Driving, Can I Keep My Canadian License?

For the UK’s point of view, yes. You can swap your license any time up to five (5) years after moving to the UK. You are only allowed to drive on your foreign license for the first year, but if you aren’t planning on driving, you can swap them later.

Living in London, I don’t drive much, so didn’t need my license. I was in the UK for a year and a half before I got around to making the swap, and didn’t have any trouble.

From your home provinces point of view, you’ll have to check with them. Based on this website from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, looks like you can keep it until you need to renew it, then perhaps you are out of luck. You could do what I did when my license expired and I was in the UK. I flew home and got my photo done.

Do I Need to Make the Switch to a UK license?

Check out the DVLA’s interactive tool on if you need to swap your Canadian license for a UK one, at Can you exchange your driving licence for one issued in Great Britain (GB)?


Making the Switch

You’ve now determined you want to swap your Canadian license for a UK one.

What Do I Do?

First, you need to get yourself an application form D1. These are available at DVLA offices (find them here) or the Post Office (find them here). If you aren’t handy to a DVLA location or Post Office, I’d ask you what you are doing living in the middle of nowhere. However, in that event, you can order the form online from the DVLA at this website.

You then need to get a passport photo done in colour. These can be done at automated photo booths or in a photography shop. The criteria for the photo can be found on the DVLA website, but any photo that meets the passport guidelines is fine.

You need to provide identification of your identity. Valid forms of ID are listed on this page at the DVLA website, but for most Canadians that means your Canadian passport.

Send the completed form D1, along with your ID, colour photo, Canadian driver’s license and a postal order or cheque for £50 (made out to “DVLA, Swansea”) to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BT.

What if I Don’t Want to Mail in My Forms?

NOTE - Since a switch in websites from DirectGov to GOV.UK, I can no longer find details on the Premium Checking Service. I am not aware if this service is still available, or if it has been discontinued. All information on Premium Checking Service may no longer be accurate.

I’m with you here! Given the rotating Royal Mail strikes that seem to constantly be happening, who wants to trust sending your passport via the post. I used the Premium Checking Service, details of which can be found on this ARCHIVED DVLA page.

If you are using a Canadian passport as your ID, you’ll need to go to one of the four DVLA offices that can check these documents. They are in Glasgow, Nottingham, Wimbledon and Swansea (main reception on Longview Road). Click on the name of the location for their address.

You will need to bring all the same items as listed above, save the cheque or postal order. You can pay via debit or credit card at DVLA locations. There is a small fee (£4) in addition to the license fee, for a total of £54. Small price in my mind to pay for the security of getting your passport back at the end of the encounter.

I went to the office in Wimbledon. I was prepared for a long wait at the DVLA, but actually it was quite quick. I showed up at about 8:45 AM, 15 minutes before opening. There was a queue outside the building, and I joined in about tenth place. Upon entering, though, folks taking care of vehicle licenses and folks getting driver’s licenses were sent to separate locations (drivers licenses are on the 1st floor, with vehicle licensing on the ground floor), so I ended up being fourth in queue. You take a number and wait for your number to be called.

After my number was called, a clerk checked over all my forms to ensure completeness. He then took the forms and told me to go and wait in a second room. After another ten minutes or so, a second clerk called me, verified my forms again, handed me back my passport and took my payment (via debit card).

He gave me a receipt and told me it should take three weeks to get my new UK license.


Do I Need to Get My Photo Signed?

NOTE - Since a switch in websites from DirectGov to GOV.UK, I can no longer find details on the Premium Checking Service. I am not aware if this service is still available, or if it has been discontinued. All information on Premium Checking Service may no longer be accurate.
If you go to the premium checking service, no. The clerk who serves you will verify your identity.

If you are mailing in with your Canadian passport, then no. The DVLA site says that you only need to have your photo signed if you aren’t using the following forms of ID: an up-to-date passport, UK travel document or an EC/EEA identity card (apart from Sweden).

Will I Get My Canadian License Back?

No. The UK will send it back to the relevant authority in Canada.

What if I Need to Drive After Handing in My Canadian License?

NOTE - Since a switch in websites from DirectGov to GOV.UK, I can no longer find details on the Premium Checking Service. I am not aware if this service is still available, or if it has been discontinued. All information on Premium Checking Service may no longer be accurate.
If you get the premium checking service, the receipt that the clerk gives you can be used as proof of being allowed to drive.

If you mail in, I am not sure of the answer. Anyone know the answer?

What if I have a Provisional or Graduated License?

Some provinces now have “graduated licensing” (as an example Ontario).

Can a Canadian exchange a license with less than full driving privileges for a UK one? I don’t know the answer to this, but if you do - please share in the comments and I will update this section.


Your New License

After you exchange it, you should receive your license in the post. Mine took a little under 3 weeks to arrive, even with Royal Mail’s usual slowness, so I was pleased.

What Does My New UK Driver’s License Allow Me to Do?

My license allows me the following classifications:

  • A - Motorcycles with a power output of up to 33 horsepower (25 kilowatts). This webpage discusses in detail what that means, and this is a list of motorcycles with less than that power.
  • B and BE - Automatic transmission cars, including cars pulling trailers. A “car” is classified as having less than 8 seats and weighing 3500 kg or less.
  • B1 - Three and four wheeled light vehicles, like quadbikes, as long as they are less than 550 kg.
  • GH - Road Rollers and Tracked Vehicles - A “road roller” is what we would call a steam roller. Tracked vehicles are vehicles with tracks instead of wheels. Before you go out and buy a Sherman tank, though, note that the tracked vehicle can’t weigh more than 3500 kg, and the steam roller must be less than 11.69 tonnes. Nor steam powered.

Did You Say Only Automatic Cars? That Doesn’t Appear on My License

Check the back. On the back you will see a codes beside the categories, probably reading “78,70CDN”

70CDN means that the license was exchanged from a Canadian license.

78 means Automatic transmissions only.

For more information on the codes, check out this page Information on driving license codes. The detail is in information pamphlet INS57P, in case the link goes dead.

The UK has Different Licenses for Automatic and Manual Cars?

Yup. Its a point of debate. Some people think that it makes sense, as it keeps drivers who can’t drive a stick from stalling in front of you at roundabouts or rolling back into you at hills. Others think it is another sign of the nanny state that the UK is becoming.

Either way, if you are exchanging a Canadian License, you are going to be able to only drive automatic transmission cars.

I Can Drive A Manual Transmission. Can’t I Just Exchange My Canadian License for a Manual License?

Nope, at least not as far as I’ve been able to determine. The DVLA says that to exchange a Canadian license for a UK Manual license, you need to “prove” that you took your test in a manual car. However, they don’t say what they would accept as proof.

I have been driving manual cars since I was 16, and back when I had my Canadian license, drove manual cars here in the UK. Once I made the switch, though, I would no longer be allowed. I tried to find some way to do a direct exchange. Nothing I read indicated anyone has ever been able to do it, especially seeing as I can drive a manual, but didn't take my license on a manual transmission car.

Those who did take their test on manual transmission cars haven't had much luck either. I have read about people trying to prove it, but none that have. Some have provided letters from the driving examiners that the car was a manual, and the DVLA has rejected that as not being sufficient enough evidence.

Basically, you should be prepared to accept the automatic license, and if you want a manual license, take the test.

To paraphrase The Beatles, “ Baby, you can drive my car, as long as it is an automatic!”

Really, There Is No Way to Get A Manual License?

Apparently some people do it, as this freedom of information act request indicates that in 2008, 7,628 automatic licenses were issues and 2,765 manual license were issued. If anyone out there who has done it can shed light on what documentation you provided, please do!


What To Do To Get a Manual License

Okay, so you have your new license, but if you are like me, you want more. You want that manual license. Here’s how to go about doing it.

I passed my test in February of 2014. I had to take the test twice due to a fault I made in my first test.

Do I Need a Manual License?

No, as long as you are fine with not being able to drive a manual transmission car. That’s fine if you own your own automatic car. However, if you are looking to rent cars or join a car sharing scheme like Zip Car, you’ll find automatic transmission cars are hard to find and very expensive to rent. Also, if you ever want to buy a car, you’ll have a much greater selection if you can buy a manual. Automatic cars just aren’t that common around here.

Do I Need to Write the Theory Test?

No. The DVLA website itself says “If you want to upgrade within a vehicle category you won’t normally need to take a theory test. For example, if you have a full automatic car licence and you want a manual car licence you won’t have to take a theory test.” The experience of those who have taken the manual test also confirms this.

However, the people working at the DVLA offices don’t always know or understand this, and may tell you that you need to take a theory test. Once they start the process, though, they will find that they are unable to book a theory test for you, as you already have a license, and should then book your manual test.

I personally had not issues booking either my first or second driving test via the phone. In London, it was about six weeks between the day I booked and the first available test.

How Do I Book a Test?

As you don't have a theory test number, you cannot book on line. Instead, you can book by phone or post.

Do I Need To Study or Take Lessons First?

No. You can just go and take your test.

However, those I have talked to who have done this suggested taking a couple driving lessons first. There is a very low pass rate for the test (35%), and many people without the lessons failed their first test.

Taking a few lessons will help you know what to expect from the test, and provide you with some idea of the more esoteric things that could come up on the test.

I personally ended up taking 10 hours of lessons before my first test, and I consider these invaluable. Even as an experienced driver, it was great to have someone take you through what will be on the test and perform some mock tests with you. A professional driving instructor will be able to run a test exactly like an examiner would. Secondly, as I didn't have a car or anyone to go out with, it was good to practice and get used to driving in the UK - specifically dealing with rounadabouts and intersections, which aren't common in Canada.

If you have someone to practice with, you could probably do a couple hours of lessons, and then maybe one or two mock tests and not do as many hours.

What If I Want To Practice In A Manual Before My Test?

Your automatic license is similar to a UK provisional license for manuals. Therefore, you can drive a manual transmission car if you have the L Learner Plates on, and are riding with a fully licensed UK driver over the age of 21. Note that the driver needs to have a full UK license, not an international license.

What is the Test Like?

It is a full driving test. The test is not just to test your ability to drive a manual transmission. It is a full driving test, and you will have to do all the things that someone who is getting their license for the first time. Even though you have a full license for automatics already, you'll still need to prove you can drive a car.

The test is about 45 minutes long, including 10 minutes of independent drivings (where they will ask you to follow signs to a destination, or give you multiple directions to follow (e.g. turn left at the end of the road, then take the second right, then follow that road until the end, and turn right again)). You will be asked to do one manoeuvre - either a reverse around a corner, three-point-turn or parallel park; and potentially an emergency stop. Before you start away, you'll be asked to read a license plate (registration plate) from a distance to test your eyesight. You'll also be asked some questions about the car (the "show-me / tell-me") like "how do you turn on your fog lights, and when would you use them?" or "show me where the brake fluid is, and how do you check it?"

You will be marked on your actions as a minor, serious or dangerous fault. You can have less than 15 minor faults (things like checking mirrors enough or signalling a turn too late). If you have any serious or dangerous fault, you will fail.

The results will be given to you immediately after the exam ends. If you pass, you will be given a pass certificate that you can use as proof to drive a manual car. The instructor will take your license and a new license will be posted to you.

If you fail, you can continue to drive an automatic transmission car without issue, and continue to drive a manual car with L-plates and a licensed driver. You can book another test immediately, though need to have at least 10 days between your first test and your second.

See more here from the gov.uk website.

Personally, I failed my first test with one serious fault - entering a roundabout in the wrong lane (entered in the left lane when I was making a right turn). Even though I negotiated with roundabout without issue and did not impede any other cars progress, it was still a potentially dangerous situation, which is why I failed. I passed the second test with only 4 minor faults. As stated above, I felt that the driving lessons and mock tests I took with a professional instructor were very valuable in having a successful test.

Where’d This Information Come From?

The Direct.gov and DVLA websites, as well as DVLA document INF38 for the most part, plus my own experiences, and information from the internet from forums like Canuckabroad and Thorntree.


Can I Use My Own Car for the Test?

Yes. Alejandro Erickson details the steps to do this in his blog entry. The key thing is being insured for the test. You can get provisional insurance for the test, and there are companies which provide this provisional insurance. Note that


Getting Insurance

When you get a new license - whether the first exchanged automatic license, or passing the test for a full manual license, you are considered a new driver for insurance purposes. As one commenter says, "When you pass a test in the UK, the new license issued is only valid from the day you passed the test, so your past experience, on an automatic full UK license or from a Canadian license, vanishes."

Going Back to Canada

What If I Move Back to Canada?

Heading back to Canada for good and want to get back your license?


If you are moving to live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, you will be able to exchange a UK licence issued by the DVLA for one issued by these Provinces. For other provinces, If you take up residence in any of these Provinces/Territories, you will be required to take a written test and a practical road test.

Any Other Questions?

Please feel free to post any other questions in the comments. I will attempt to answer them, and potentially add them to the test of the blog if they would assist others.

Update History
22 Nov 2009 - Initial Version
25 Nov 2009 - Added information on driving manual as a provisional driver with automatic license
11 Nov 2012 - Added information on insurance, booking test (clarified cannot be online), information on exchanging if you return to Canada, and note of Premium Checking Service to indicate I am not sure if the service is still available.
12 Feb 2014 - Updated with a few points on the manual test
26 Oct 2014 - Updated with points from Alejandro Erickson's experience - http://alejandroerickson.com/home/blog/blog.php?entry=22

Posted by GregW 14:33 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tips_and_tricks migration_experiences Comments (86)

I can stand under my own umbrella - ella - eh - eh - eh - eh

At least I have learnt one thing since arriving in the UK - how to use my brolly.

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Round about lunch time today, I left my flat. Recently, leaving the flat has been a rare occurrence, at least for something other than going to the local Sainsbury’s or the News Agent to pick up the day’s issue of The Times.

One of the problems working from home is that it becomes very easy to find oneself spending all the time in the warm, comfortable cocoon that is one’s home and castle, and ne’er venturing out.

The desire to stay home has doubled of late, as the weather has taken a decidedly more autumnal turn the past week. The t-shirts have gone into storage (i.e. shoved to the back of the closet) and the sweaters brought out (i.e. dug out from the back of the closet, given a quick smell test, and then either washed or worn, depending on how dank and musty they smell). Just as an aside, they call sweaters “jumpers” here. In North America, a jumper is someone who launches themselves off a bridge.

The desire to stay home was give another boost today as well, for I looked outside and to see that London was experiencing some “wet weather.” That’s the Met Office’s euphemism for rain. The weather forecasters seem to use it a lot. “Today the South-east will experience some wet weather.”


I’m not sure why they don’t just say rain. Perhaps there is a subtlety that I am missing, the difference between rain and wet weather. Much like the Inuit apparently have half-a-million different words for snow, perhaps the English have developed multiple words for rain. Maybe I just haven’t been here long enough to understand the difference.

Despite the rainy, cool weather and internet access, I had to go out today, for I had an appointment at my local doctor’s office, called a surgery here even though there is little cutting and blood involved. MPs call their local offices surgeries as well, though given the state of the economy I can understand why that makes more sense - lots of cut and boiling blood, no doubt. I should have registered with a local doctor back when I first moved into King’s Cross, but was lazy and just got around to registering with my local surgery last week.

Hopefully this doesn’t start a whole “socialist health-care versus private health care debate,” but the way things work here is that you have to register for a doctor’s office near your home. I can choose any doctor I like, as long as they are within a few miles of my home. Some might claim that is a lack of choice, but according to the NHS website I have over 100 doctors to choose from, so I am not too fused about the lack of choice. What I find more limiting is that you can’t choose a doctor near your work. Obviously it doesn’t make a big difference to me, working from home as I am, but if I went to a regular nine to five job, I probably would be less excited about having to pick a doctor back near where I lived.

So today I had to trudge out and get my introductory consultation, which involves getting weighed, measured, blood-pressured and then lectured on how you are a fat, old, alcoholic with a lousy diet (at least, that’s my experience of it...). To do that, I had to head out into the rain. So I put on a rain coat and got out my brolly.

Now, I haven’t always had great luck with umbrellas. Back in September 2005 I wrote the following after returning from a rainy weekend in Boston:

I’m not positive that I really know how to use an umbrella. I see other people walking around with umbrella held steady and level above them, keeping them dry. I find myself struggling with keeping my umbrella above me as the wind reaches underneath the lip of the umbrella and lifts it up and away from me. I get wet, my arms get tired and the umbrella gets battered. On Saturday night, the wind took its final toll on the umbrella, snapping 3 of the arms of the umbrella, collapsing the umbrella. I deposited the umbrella in a garbage can and calculated its utility to me. I bought it in September, used it perhaps 4 times in France, a couple times in Toronto and twice in Boston. 8 days of use for 10 Euros doesn’t seem like a fantastic deal to me. I think in the future I’ll stick with raincoats.

That was then, though. Now that I have lived in the UK for a year and 3 months, I’ve had a fair amount of practice with my brolly, and I think I’ve got it sorted out. The key thing is to keep the umbrella slightly tilted towards the wind direction. This way the wind harmlessly shots over the umbrella.


Now, most people reading this will have probably already known that, or perhaps live in a desert and thus never had reason to learn it. I’m not most people though. It’s taken me a long time (almost 39 years) to figure this umbrella thing out. I like to think I am smarter than your average bear, but it appears that in fact I’m only slightly smarter than bears who never figure out how to use an umbrella.

Now that I have the operation of an umbrella as a weather protection device down pat, I think I’ll start working on the next level of umbrella use... I just have to figure out if it is more impressive to be able to fly like Mary Poppins or to administer a spot of poison in a busy crowd.

Posted by GregW 09:59 Archived in England Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Call Me, My Love. You Can Call Me Any Day or Night!

What phone booths are really for

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Call me my life
Call me call me any anytime
Call me for a ride
Call me call me for some overtime


This is a phone booth. Phone booths in London are very distinctive, because they are red, old fashioned looking and have pretty windows on the doors and side panels.

There primary purpose seems to be to hold these:


Ads for erotic escorts.

The phone booths do have handsets and receivers in them, but in a country where there are 118 mobile phones for every 100 people (per capita cell mobile phone ownership), I can’t imagine that the phone booths get much work. Mobile phones are ubiquitous here. Everyone has one.

I have seen people begging on the street for change while chatting away on a mobile. “...and so I says, ‘oy, mate, don’t you step on my jacket,’ and the guys says back at me... Oh, wait hang on a second will you... Hey mister, can you spare any change?”


It all makes me a little sorry for the phone booths. They used to be well used and practical, making them proud symbols of this country. Now they seem a little put out and neglected. Nothing but impotent showpieces for tourists to take snapshots with.

Even as a tourist, though, you won’t get very far without a mobile phone. A hotel around the corner from me has a sign up that says, “Hotel reception. If the door is locked, please ring 020 1111 1111.”

Kind of leaves you stranded if checking in late without a mobile phone.

I suppose if you were willing to hike a block away to the nearest booth, you could use one of the phone booths. If you have any trouble remembering the number of the hotel reception between the door and the phone booth, you could always take down one of the escort ads and jot down the number of the back.


There you go. Perhaps phone booths are more important than impotent.


Posted by GregW 12:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Fun Ways to Explore

I didn't win the diamond but learned about London

sunny 24 °C

I recently took place in a contest to win a diamond worth £5,000. I have no real love of diamonds, but do like money, so had I won I planned to sell the diamond and buy twenty pound notes, or if the pound keeps going the way it does, maybe some fifty euro notes. The nice thing about money is that you can exchange it for stuff, like beer, food and Dr. Scholl's odour eating insoles.


Anyway, the diamond hunt was put on by the Leadenhall Market, which is a market that dates back to the 14th century. Today they still do the market thing Monday to Friday, but augment the income by holding events and being the host to a number of high end shops.




The diamond hunt was a virtual one right up until the end when the actual diamond hunt went out into the streets. The winner found it at the Monument to the great fire in London. The virtual part of the hunt was set up as a crossword. Each day a London based clue was posted, and you had to decipher the clue to figure out what part of London they were talking about.

Some of them I knew, but mostly I had to hunt around on the internet to find the answer. For example, I learned that every May there is a car treasure hunt called the The Miglia Quadrato that ends in Finsbury Circus. One of the clues also had me looking up from London Bridge to notice the clock topped with a golden owl on the corner of King William Street. I've probably walked by that building dozen of times without noticing the golden hooter perched atop the clock.

In a lot of cases, after finding the virtual answer I went out to see the actual location. It was an interesting way to get to see places in London I might not have seen otherwise.

Treasure hunts of a less virtual type of very popular here in London. I've already mentioned the Miglia Quadrato, which is a car treasure hunt. Some other examples include a number of discovery walks and Shoot Experience which offers photo-based treasure hunts. Londonist, a local blog, has a whole category for treasure hunts coming up. Even more cutting edge is geocaching, which uses GPS enabled mobile phones to search around a location.

I must admit, until I did the Leadenhall Diamond hunt, I probably would have dismissed the treasure hunt idea as being a little childish and geeky. Now that I have done the Leadenhall Market diamond hunt, I'm starting to think that a flesh-and-blood treasure hunt would be both a good way to learn about a location, its history, get some good exercise and have a good time.

I'm heading off to Cardiff in a few weekends. Maybe I should download a hunt to see the learn more about the Welsh town. Doctor Who and Torchwood is filmed there. Maybe they have a geeky, sci-fi themed one!

Posted by GregW 10:55 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

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