I graduate in English in 2005 and considered law for a while. From talking to lawyers and trainee solicitors who had converted from English and History degrees (most people I met who were dong GDL seemed to have studied either English or History) it seems to me that the GDL is pretty simple. The GDL course structure ISN’T like a degree. Law degree teach you a lot of theory and interesting stuff that isn’t relevant to the vocational side of law. the GDL teaches you ONLY the vocational stuff, and schools like BPP and College of Law serve you p exactly what to revise for their tests and pretty much spoon feed you the answers. As long as you work hard it’s not difficult to do well and get on to the next year (the LPC) which again, is not that hard.
There’s not much point doing a full law degree having got a history degree already. It’s more expensive, and you will spend three years doing something you could do in one. I also looked at the option of doing a three year or two year full law degree too - but decided that the only good reason for doing it would be to have three more years at uni (which actually wouldn’t have been too bad :))
Don’t do the GDL without getting sponsored by a law firm first though unless you really have to. Law firms are happy for you to apply to them two years before you start working for them and will often pay for all your GDL and LPC fees AND give you a bursary to live off as well.
Hope this helps.