London is one of the world's most modern cities in the world. A metropolis? Yes, I think it probably qualifies. It's populated by over eight million people from all over the globe and a magnet for tourists also, millions and millions of them each year and there's no wonder why. It is a beautiful city, vibrant and full of exciting things to see and do, great restaurants, shows, gardens, galleries and historical attractions...And speaking of history, it's also one of the oldest cities with origins dating back to the Bronze Age with the first major settlement being established by the Romans after the invasion of AD43. There's no wonder that it's a city rich in history at every turn, but it's also a globally important and very influential city...And where my @whereonwednesday thoughts take me today as I sit in my office
working pretending to work.
I find myself thinking back to my recent trip to the UK and London, all the wondrous things my wife and I discovered. If I could magic myself out of my office right now London is where I would go...In fact...Probably directly to an excellent fish and chip shop we found near Paddington Station. You can see it below. We had our first London fish and chips experience here, complete with mushy peas and we went back for more!
We were only in London for three full days with arrival and departure day on either side but we packed a lot into the time without at any point feeling rushed. We used the hop on hop off bus to get around figuring it was a great way to see the city whilst moving around it. We didn't get to use the underground so will have to experience that on the next trip.
We're keenly interested in all sorts of history and were very eager to go to the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror in the early 1080s. You can see the White Tower pictured above in the collage (top left and lower right.) The Tower is fascinating and there's great views over the city and Thames from the upper sections. It felt odd to be there in a place where so much misery and suffering was experienced however they present the Tower's history very well and we left feeling content and happy that we visited. I suggest at least half a day here although getting in at mid-morning is the best as you can take your time - Arriving at lunch time will limit your opportunities through time constraints.
Whilst by the Thames we took a ferry ride up and down which gives a different aspect of London and one is left with a good idea on how pivotal the river was in choosing this location as the site for the Roman settlement all those years ago. Nice views of Tower Bridge and the London Eye can be found from the Thames obviously and it's a more peaceful way to cover some ground than the very busy city streets. (Above collage: Top right Tower bridge and lower left the Eye.)
We strolled to Little Venice with its restaurants, cafés and tranquil canals to meander around and walked around Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and the Palace of course! We got to see the changing of the guard there and despite being an Aussie, and not really keen on the Royals, it was a pretty cool experience. The pomp and ceremony is incredible. Above is us on the day we arrived after a long-ass flight from Australia via Singapore. See the little guard-guy in the background of the left side of the image? Bugger of a way to spend a day but these guys see it as an honour to guard the Queen.
Below is another image from Buckingham Palace and a couple from the Museum of Natural History which was absolutely amazing. There's so much to see and the way they present the exhibits and information is easy to absorb and very informative. They also have an amazing cafe in there with super-good quality food and drinks. I'm always up for some food! And speaking of drinks you can see Faith sipping on something cool at a café in Little Venice. We were fortunate to have great weather when we were in London, in fact the UK in general, and a cool beverage is always welcome!
One of the cool things we saw at the Museum of Natural History was the Cheddar Man, the UK's oldest and most intact human skeleton dating to 9,000 years ago. It was found in Cheddar Gorge (the Mendip Hills), Somerset and later in our trip we visited there and saw exact spot the skeleton was found in 1903 - They have a replica there now as the original is back in London obviously. The cave complex and stalactite/stalagmite formations are incredible. They've found remains from the Upper-Late Palaeolithic age there too...Old remains. But back to London now...
The Churchill war rooms, where Winston Churchill conducted the defence of Britain and the eventual offensive to Berlin in the Second World War, was incredibly interesting to me as a war historian and even Faith enjoyed it. I haven't done a blog on it just yet as I have to gather my thoughts and frame it in a digestible manner however it is very interesting and well-worth 2 hours of your time if you are in London. The museum uses the exact rooms as were used in the war, deep underground and still set up as they were in the war. we spent 3 hours down there and it was fascinating.
Expert tip: Buy your tickets from the Hop-on Hop-off bus crew...It saves a few pounds per ticket but and gets priority access - No 40 minute wait in line. We felt like rockstars!
We went the the Victoria and Albert Museum also. Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert it houses over 2.25 million objects focused on the decorative arts, design and sculpture. The collage above shows some images I took inside the V & A.
Below lists the images from the collage above.
Top left to right: A display of rings of gold silver and gems, Faith at the front of the V & A, some of the period clothing on display.
Middle left to right: Armour, central courtyard, some of the silver (there was loads of it!).
Bottom left to right: Statues and sculptures, busts of famous people, a tomb effigy of Don Garcia de Osorio, knight of the Order of Santiago.
I suggest a day for the V & A and Natural History Museum combined although one could easily spend a day in each I think depending on the level of interest things have for each individual.
All adventures come to an end though and eventually we had to leave London to find new ones down south in Cornwall where we stayed for a week. Here you can see Faith at Paddington Station waiting for our train which was delayed a little for some reason. You can see her to left of shot looking at the departure board. I wasn't able to sit still so went exploring...Unsurprisingly there weren't many adventures to be found in Paddington Station...But many to be found in Cornwall, but that's a whole other story.
Anyway, that's where I'd rather be and what I'd rather be doing right now. If you want to join in on #whereonwednesday just tag it in your post, on a Wednesday and away you go. It's not a challenge or anything dumb like that, neither do you get anything for it. It's just a chance to post your thoughts and maybe a picture or two.