Trying to scratch the surface of London

John and I went to London to visit his cousin and see the sights. We fit a whole bunch into the 3 days we had to see everything. Each day we picked a spot to explore and went from there. One big thing every day and lots of little things to fill in the gaps. Every  morning we started off from London Blackfriars station, because we just loved getting off the train over the river.

IMG_5713St Paul’s Cathedral Day:

We awoke early and headed off to the city, stopping for a little breakfast at Alchemy Coffee
before arriving at this beautiful place.

After taking our pictures of the outside we went in and took the wonderful audio tour they have there. It was airy and bright. The dome was painted with stories from the Apostle Paul’s life.  The amount of history was overwhelming. It survived Blitz with only one unexploded bomb hitting it when all around it had been decimated.

IMG_5717We climbed up to all three galleries: The Whispering Gallery (the first gallery inside the dome, where you can whisper to one another across the dome), The Stone Gallery (outside of the dome with a spectacular view of all of London. pictured below), and the Golden Gallery (about 50-60 ft form the top of the 365 ft church, it was glorious). Then it was down into the crypt. If you are ever in London, this cathedral is so very worth the time. We spent around 3.5 hours in it.

The architect of St Paul’s, Sir Christopher Wren, built 52 churches in London after the Great Fire of 1666. We saw three of them in our wanderings. St Paul’s, Saint Magnus the Martyr, and St Martin within Ludgate.

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IMG_5730From St. Paul’s we went to lunch across the road and planned the rest of our day. I wanted to go to Fleet St and also see the Old Bailey of V for Vendetta fame. So after an amazing grilled gruyere and champignon sandwich at Cafe Rouge, we set off to find these places. We got a little sidetracked along the way by little churches nestled here and there in the city.

Finally we made it to the Old Bailey!

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Then on Fleet Street  we found the original Twining’s of London Shop!!! It was right across from the Royal Courts of Justice.

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IMG_5753We went down by the Thames and skipped stones then wandered around on the South Bank before going to dinner on Fleet Street at an adorable pub called The Old Cock Tavern.

A good first day!

Westminster Abbey Day:

We awoke early again and walked along the North Bank towards Westminster. Stopping for breakfast at St Stephen’s Tavern.

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Ah!!! It was so grand and so full. The amount of people buried within this church is overwhelming. The audio tour was really nice. It played music from the era they were discussing. At Handel’s grave “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” played as the memorial was explained.  The Cloister was beautiful as well. So quiet and serene.

 

IMG_5788John, of course, knocked on this door :p

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After watching the clouds and a little nap in St James Park,  it was onto Buckingham Palace and all of the parks surrounding it. The picture above was taken from Green Park where we got a cookie. As we wandered between Green Park and Hyde park we came across The Wellington Monument and so we went up that too!

The last thing I had to see on this day was the Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park.

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After a late dinner we headed back, weary and worn, but happy.

The Tower of London Day:

IMG_5829Our view for brunch on Sunday. We got a later start but still saw a whole bunch.

IMG_5833The New Globe Theater. Sadly it slipped our minds that there was a new one until we saw it and there wasn’t any Shakespeare playing at the time. Bother. We will just have to visit again.

While looking for the London Bridge we found the Wren Monument to The Great Fire of 1666. This monument led us to the last Wren Church of our trip.IMG_5835

IMG_5838This is St Magnus the Martyr by Sir Christopher Wren, built at the end of the 2nd London Bridge. It was one of the prettiest churches we saw on the trip. We arrived just after the service was over and the air was filled with incense. As we sat admiring the beauty, the sun came out from behind a cloud and streamed through the windows. Beams of light lit the incense filled air and touched down for a brief moment and then were gone.

IMG_5839The Fourth London Bridge.

The Tower of London was neat. It was so much larger than I expected it to be. Two rings of defenses and many eras of buildings surround the White Tower. We got to see the Crown Jewels, The Bloody Tour where it is said Richard III killed his two nephews to become king, and The Bell Tower where Thomas Moore was held while he would not sign the piece of paper making Henry VIII head of the Anglican Church.

IMG_5851 Tower Bridge from The Tower of London.

IMG_5855This guard had a really twitchy nose but he stopped twitching the minute I took a picture haha.

From The Tower we went back to John’s cousin’s house. We got to stay with her for our visit to London and it was so nice to get to know her better. On our last night, her boyfriend got Indian Takeaway from their favorite place and it was delicious! We also watch Vanishing Point. It was a really nice visit with them and a great quick city tour.

 

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