Day two in London, we had a pretty good idea of what our itinerary would look like. First call was the Thames River cruise we had booked as part of our three days on Big Buses in London. We jumped on the closest stop to King’s Cross, where our hotel was, and enjoyed the sights of London – such juxtaposition of ancient and new architecture.
Amazing St Pauls Cathedral is quite a dominant structure but we also kept catching glimpses of The Shard – often viewed alongside centuries old structures.
Our Thames Cruise took us from the Tower of London to Greenwich and back. Along the way, we learned how the banks had been transformed over the centuries, from slums and warehouses, to million dollar apartments and tourist attractions.
As we arrived in Greenwich, a charming town, we spied The Cutty Sark, a magnificent sailing vessel, built in 1869. I didn’t get the chance to explore it but really regret this. It would have enabled me to get an idea of life aboard ship- for future novels.
We headed on up the hill to the observatory, residence of nobles and site of the Octagon Room, used for viewing the heavens. Also here, if course, is the Zero Longitude line. On the way back to port, we enjoyed a closeup view of the bridges, including Tower Bridge.
My favourite part of London came next- The Tower of London, a massive structure – prison, home of the Crown Jewels and garrison. It’s history spans 1000 years! Once home to exotic animals (gifts to the monarchs from other countries) , now only humans and ravens live there. The ravens were very large birds where I had imagined they were the size of a crow.
Beefeaters are part of the pomp and ceremony. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos of any of the crown jewels including the Coronation Crown.
The White Tower sits at the centre of the complex and houses the armoury. It was built by William the Conqueror during the early 1080’s. It provided accommodation for the king and his representatives as well as housing a beautiful chapel.
The wall itself houses many families and in olden times, the wall towers were the home of royalty. Below is King Edward’s chamber. The Ancient fortress now overlooks modern high-rises.
Amongst the greens are remnants of the original fortifications constructed by Henry VIII.
I had to leave too soon and would recommend setting aside a whole day for this marvellous place if you can.
Next time, we finish up day two in London with Buckingham palace and plan our last day in this marvellous city of contrasts!
Until then …