Boy, we saw a lot of London today. Some of my favorites. We started the day by packing up to leave our apartment. We packed up and got our things to the lobby. Erik had decided to rent a taxi and just take all the bags over to our new place in Aldsgate area. So we had breakfast and packed up. Then headed over to Victoria station and picked up a simple cell phone to use. That way we could stay in touch with Erik until we met up at the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
The kids and I went up to Westminster area and got on a cruise boat up the Thames toward the Tower of London. The captain gave a fun description of many of the buildings and sites along the way. This is the view from the boat as we left.This is the Globe theater where they many Shakespeare plays are performed.There are many new tall buildings like the Shard.It took us about 30 minutes to get to the Tower of London. Here is the impressive view of the Tower Bridge as you arrive.
We got off and headed in to the Tower. We saw the Beefeaters who live there at the tower and give tours. We listened in for a minute and then just decided to do our own tour. We saw some more great exhibits. We decided to head up around the edge of the tower and walk along the walls and into all the towers along the way.
We had decided to meet Erik outside of the Crown Jewels but it was taking him longer than we expected to get there, so we went through the Crown Jewels. They were impressive.Then we went into the White Tower in the middle of the Tower of London and toured through it until we finally spotted Erik outside waiting for us. We ran down the stairs and were glad to be reunited.We went and toured the Bloody Tower and saw Traitor’s Gate.We walked along the Thames toward Tower Bridge. We stopped to get some hot dogs and sandwiches and took a little break to eat.We walked up the stairs to Tower Bridge. We went into the Tower Bridge Exhibition. This was also on the London pass, like the river cruise. It was a great tour of the bridge up to the two walkways on top. I was trying to suppress my fear of heights and just enjoy the exhibit. They had historical exhibits and art from the book “This is London” up on the high walkway exhibits. And of course, we had great views and some long rides in elevators up to the top.We had about 30 minutes after we toured the tower bridge until we had to catch a boat back to the Westminster area. So I took a few kids down to the HMS Belfast that you can see docked in the Thames, and Erik and Nicole ran over to the Design Museum that was a short walk away.The kids actually could not stand the smells in the below deck walkways. It was a strong smell, but it was like a village under there. There were dentists and bakeries and post offices and a whole village. This was a war ship that served in World War II. Erik and Nicole enjoyed the design museum. We ran back to the boat and caught it. We took another ride down the Thames. It was nice to rest and get another tour down the river.
We jumped off and walked over the Churchill War Rooms.It is the underground war rooms where Churchill and his team ran the right in World War II. It is impressive to see the map rooms, and telephone systems and sleeping quarters of the men and women who masterminded the resistance to HItler and also in the Pacific. There was a new museum about Churchill with very impressive and extensive information about Churchill’s life. We had audioguides and the kids enjoyed it down there. We spent as long as we could until it closed. When we headed outside, we went into the park across the way, St. James’ Park. I didn’t remember this park from when I was in London. Right where we were there were lots of swans, ducks, pigeons, and also people feeding squirrels. There was a cottage for a bird keeper. We needed to find some dinner and the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery were open late on Friday nights, so we walked over to Trafalgar Square.Back toward Trafalgar SquareSt. Martin’s in the FieldIn front of the National GalleryWe found dinner at a spaghetti place and had salads and pizza and pasta. Then toured through some paintings. If there is an escalator, it always captures Robin’s attention. The museums were open until 9, and then we headed home by bus. We weren’t quite sure how to get to our new apartment, so we ended up walking over a mile after we got off the bus through some interesting neighborhoods, past Brick Lane full of Indian restaurants. It felt a little bit unsafe but when we got to Woodseer Lane and got to the apartment, it felt tucked back and on a safe little lane. We had a couple great beds and some couches and Erik had picked up some sleeping bags for the kids. We were ready for some showers and bed.
Whew, we packed a lot into today. I love this city of London!