Greetings from London!
This is probably the first place where we really did all the “touristy” things. There are so many iconic places to visit in London that it is hard to skip the classics! Our first two days in London were spent in the Westminster area. There is so much so do just in this area of town that you can spend loads of time here.
We downloaded a self guided walking tour. (If interested in this tour, you can click here.) This tour helped us to logically explore the whole area of town.
Since the tour began just down the street from Buckingham, we specifically started in order TO MISS the changing of the guard, on purpose. I have seen it before and Brad wasn’t very interested. There are so many crowds of people and you really can’t see a thing. Even though we decided to skip it, the train took just a tad longer than planned and guess what.. we ended up smack dab in the middle of the hooplay anyway.
It actually worked out well, because we were on the outskirts and avoided the big crowds, but still got a great view of the guards when they came out of the Guard’s House. We ended up skipping the crowds and getting a better view than we would have anyway. Win Win!
After the accidental Changing of the Guard, we continued on our loop. Visiting Buckingham Palace, Green Park, St. James Park, and St. James Palace. The tour even took us to the house of an old mistress of King Charles II! It gave us a long history about the mistress, one of many, and stories about how the public loved her and hated all the other mistresses! Such scandal!
We spent some time in Trafalgar Square-next on the tour- which had infinitely fewer pigeons than the last time I was there. When I visited London when I was 15 with my aunt, we heard that they were giving the pigeons birth control to try and control the population. It must have worked because Brad and I saw exactly two the whole time we were there.
At the suggestion of our host (and step-Aunt?) we found the perfect lion in Trafalgar that had Big Ben in the background.
After that, the sky opened up! It POURED on us right as we got in line for Westminster Abbey. It was windy and cold and oh so English but the line for Westminster Abbey only took about 15 minutes so we were dry decently soon. We spent most of our day in the Abbey but unfortunately they don’t allow photos so I can only share pics of the outside 😦
Westminster Abbey was absolutely stunning and the audio guide/commentary was fascinating! We spent hours wandering the nave, chapels, and tombs and saw the resting places of many former Kings and Queens. We learned so much about their history, both good and bad, and took in the size and magnificence of the church itself.
We ended our day with a quick visit to the outside of Big Ben and Parliament and a little souvenir shopping.
There is so much more of London to see, and we can’t wait to take it on! A big thanks to our family who is putting us up for a bit in the beautiful suburb of Walton-on-Thames. This part of the trip would not be possible without them 🙂