A nostalgic reminder of home for Brit expats in California

Published:  25 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, England
Britons yearning for a nostalgic reminder of past glories should head for Long Beach, California for a tour around an iconic creation from a British shipyard.

Living and working in the USA is the dream of many British would-be expats, especially those who’re lucky enough to have the skills to work in sunny California. However, even in the ultra-modern environment of the USA’s most populous coastline, it’s still likely that nostalgia for Britain and its long, mostly proud history will kick in from time to time.

For a step back to far-off days, there’s nothing better than a tour around one of the UK’s most iconic creations, the Queen Mary, now beached in a completely different world. Built for speed and launched in 1936, the magnificent liner’s main job was to carry mail from Britain to New York in less than a week.

She was also the most luxurious passenger liner to date, with no expense spared on her interior fittings intended to delight the rich and famous, at least until three years later when WWII broke out. With her exterior swiftly painted battleship grey, she became a troop transport known as the Grey Lady, able to outrun torpedoes whilst carrying many thousands of British soldiers to the combat zones.

It wasn’t a comfortable journey, as modern stabilisers hadn’t yet been invented and seasickness was almost mandatory for the 16,000 troops carried at any one time. She’s now gently rocking in retirement at Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbour following her 1967 decommissioning caused by her exorbitant running costs and the increasing popularity of air transport. Some $120 million was spent on renovating her stunning interior and relaunching her as a luxury hotel, conference and event centre as well as a museum to the ‘good old days’ of Art Deco splendour.

A visit to this amazing, historic liner includes exhibitions of the artefacts of English royalty and the late Princess Diana’s favourite designer gear, with the majestic ballroom fitted out as an authentic step back in time. A visit when nostalgia for years long past strikes is a magic, if temporary, cure for the stress caused by today’s frantic, disordered world, and a fine dining meal in the top deck restaurant gives the perfect ending to the day for Brit expats and Americans alike.
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