My friend and I went to London to celebrate my 30TH birthday this past weekend.
We went down on the train, first class which was amazing. The service was impeccable and we got fed a lot. I’ve travelled first class with Virgin before with the Bailey dog as it’s easier on my legs and more space for the pup. But this journey was even better than those times.
We arrived in London and walked to our hotel. We dumped our things and headed off, walking, to Covent Gardens as I wanted to see the Apple store and the new phones.
It was a long walk but the store was very cool looking. There are lots of arches and between the arches there is glass. it’s taking a very old structure and modernising it.
See the pictures below.
From there, we got in a very strange lift, after I purchased an Oyster card which when used gives you cheaper travel around London. The lift was in place of escalators to the tube platform as it is very far down. It is the equivalent of a fifteen storey building from street level and so you cram into one of the four lifts to get to and from the platforms. Safe to say, my ears popped a fair bit going down.
We were heading toward Tower hill as we were booked on a Jack the Ripper tour to go all around White Chapel. I was very much looking forward to this.
Once we’d reached tower Hill after a few switches of tube, we went to the whetherspoons across the road from The Tower of London. Even the Whetherspoons had pieces of information about Executions that had taken place on Tower Hill and actually in the tower. I was feeling the history flood me and I loved it.
After dinner and a quick rest, we went to meet our guide who incidentally was a guard at the Tower of London, also known as Yeomen warders.
We toured all around the areas where the Ripper’s core five victims were last seen or found and in detail told how they died. It was erie but very cool to experience. They also had some fabulous conspiracy theories and even if not in the slightest true, the embellishments gave to a very enthralling evening.
Saturday morning was spent outside Buckingham Palace watching the changing of the guard. I was very surprised on how much greenery we found in Green Park which is just as you get off the tube and the area you walk to to get to the palace.
As we were walking toward the palace, my friend commented how much police presence was around and a few moments later we realised why. The standard that flies when the Queen is in residence went up as we stood by the palace gates. We’d missed the Queen coming home by mere minutes.
The changing of the guard is a ceremonial service that has lasted for over 400 years. It represents handing over of duty from the old guard to the new guard. Bands play, guards change their traditional bear skin hats and the captains still do an actual handing over of business. So if any special visitors are due, the new guard is informed.
I loved the bands and there were plenty of horses to be seen.
Buckingham Palace is one of my least favourite palaces as it’s the newest and very plain looking compared to many other royal residence and castles.
We walked to the houses of parliament next and had a quick break. It was lunch time and we couldn’t decide where to head next but as it turned out, we returned to Tower Hill with the intention of eating at the Whether Spoons. However, it was a Saturday afternoon so the pub was packed so across the street we went and ate at the KFC which was also unusually cool. This particular KFC was built inside an old crypt. All the brickwork, arches and beams are still exposed.
After lunch, we headed to the tower and my friend said she’d read all the things that were scattered around but I voted we actually go into the Tower. I knew I’d regret not taking that opportunity. We were there and the Tower was just sitting there, waiting for us to visit. So in we went. We did the tour with a Yeomen warder to which was very cool. He told us all about different captives, murders and what all the different towers were used for. I was just in historical geek heaven. The Tudors and Plantagenets are my favourite royal dynasties so hearing all about their influences on the Tower’s history was fascinating. We then toured the tower ourselves and saw the crown jewels. If you’ve never visited the tower and have an interest in british Royal history, go to the Tower, I’d highly recommend it.
We finished the saturday with a meal at Pizza Express and a few drinks. I was exhausted and my feet hurt along with my legs.
It was a great weekend but I know for sure I could never live in London. It smells considerably bad and my legs cannot handle it along with my asthma. And lets not even talk about the crowds. I’ve done London now as a tourist and the city holds no real love from me. I’m fascinated by the history but reading about it is fine with me. I’ve seen what I have always wanted to see and so it’s another tick on the list of things to do.
I cannot believe how much one city can stink. I am from a more rural place than most cities and am surrounded by farm land. Give me the stench of cows and pigs and horses any day of the week. I’m truly not a city girl.
Definitely glad I did it and recovered now minus a cold. Was happy to come home to the North though.
Thanks For reading,