For the majority of my blog posts, I've written about the United Kingdom social culture or the schooling system. This time, I'm going to wax on and on about arguably my favorite part of the UK: the fan culture. Living in the United Kingdom is like living in Hollywood: chances are, someone has filmed something on every major street in London, so if you're a big nerd like me, you can experience some major geek-out moments no matter where you go in the UK. Here are my personal top give fandom tidbits about the London and the United Kingdom.
1) Soccer, aka football. I'm not one of those people who insist sports aren't fandoms; anyone willing to spend hundreds of dollars a year on stadium tickets belongs in a fandom, and the UK is therefore a great place to visit. In London, there are (at least) four different football teams and games are shown at almost every pub. You can essentially watch a soccer game anytime you want. Many stadiums also offer tours, and all stadiums have a gift shop! If you're a soccer fan, the UK is the place to feed your addiction.
2) Olympics. In the same vein as soccer, some people are massive fans of the Olympics. The 2012 Olympics were held in Stratford, just outside of London, and you can go tour the area! Some of the stadium is closed for renovations until 2016, but the rest is currently open to the public and visitable. Furthermore, you can see some of the medals and the Olympic torch, which is kept in London's City Hall, by Tower Bridge on the Southbank.
3) Doctor Who. It's the show all generations of people love. Doctor Who recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. In Cardiff, Wales a Doctor Who Museum and set tour has been assembled for fans of the long-standing series to peruse. Fans of the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood should also go see the Roald Dahl Plass, where the Torchwood hub is marked and Ianto's Door, a memorial to a fictional character. You can also check out sites that appeared in the show, such as Cardiff Castle, Canary Wharf, and Trafalgar Square. Want more Doctor Who goodness? Check out fan forums for tips.
4) Literary love. If you're a fan of any English literature - Shakespeare, Victorian, Irish - there are tons of places you can visit in London. A replica of Shakespeare's Globe theatre stands on the edge of the Thames. The Fitzroy Tavern in Holburn offers literary pub crawls. Plaques all over London and Dublin detail the places favorited by writers and poets, or where they used to live and write. A certain cafe in Edinburgh boasts being the writing home of JK Rowling. For Victorian writers like Dickens, you can still see the same streets and landmarks that are mentioned in their stories! Do some research and check out the best sites!
5) Harry Potter! Remember how I mentioned JK Rowling earlier? The after effects of her works are visible all over London and the UK! In addition to visiting the famous Rowling cafe, you can head over to Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station. Then, visit Leavesdon Studios (off of the Watford Junction train stop outside of London), where they filmed the movies. You can take guided walking tours of places either mentioned in the series or used in filming, including Borough Market in London and the Millennium Bridge. Get your wizarding nerd on with some Harry Potter love!
These are just my nerdy Brit-joys; research yours and enjoy the experience!