Golden Gallery St Paul's Cathedral London

My faves in London

London

I’m back!  Yes I’m still alive.

We spent 2 months in London exploring, catching up and living like normal people in one spot, playing house.  Thanks to our friend John for putting up with us for so long, I’m sure we drove him mad on occasions with our vague travel plans.  It wasn’t long before my feet got itchy again and we were on the road, which I will tell you all about very soon I promise.

There were a couple of reasons we spent so long in one spot, the main one being that our youngest daughter had been in London for 7 months by the time we got there and we just wanted to enjoy her company and hear all about her experiences.  We visited all the touristy sights together, ate out and saw Cats in the West End.

There is so much to do in London, transport is so very easy and quite often you have the choice of 3 or 4 routes to get to one location.  We soon got the hang of the Underground, changing lines, up and down stairs and escalators along with the 1000’s of commuters on a daily basis, being pushed and shoved in every direction.  The bus, however was our favourite, sure it always took a lot longer than the Underground but we got to see more and it was easier to get your bearings than being below ground.  By the time we left we were very familiar with London.

So just how do I wrap up the 2 months we spent in London into one post?  Well I don’t think I could so I’m going to share with you just a handful of my favourite things to do in this buzzing metropolis.

TOWER BRIDGE

You know when you have seen photos of a location a 100 times and then you actually get to see it in real life and it exceeds all your expectations? and sometimes not!  Well, the Tower Bridge exceeded my expectations.  It’s elegant, functional, understated (in comparison to many bridges), could tell you a story or two no doubt and well, I just loved it.

Cost:
Free to walk across.  There are tours you can do up to the glass floor and walkways. Click here for more details.
Opening Times:
Summer Opening Hours: April – September 10:00 – 17:30 (last admission)
Winter Opening Hours: October – March 09:30 – 17:00 (last admission)
Tower Bridge Exhibition is closed 24 – 26 December and open from 10:00 on 1 January.

BRITISH NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

I had heard so much about this beautiful building from friends and fellow travellers that I added it to our list of places to visit.  So glad we did.  Whilst the British Natural History Museum houses some of the most amazing exhibits you will ever see, it was actually the building itself that I fell in love with and in particular the main hall.  The stone staircases at each end that were worn underfoot from 100’s of years use to the almost checkerboard effect of the stone arches and columns housing some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I have seen.

Admission is Free save for some of the special exhibits which you may have to pay to visit.  We viewed the Dinosaur Gallery, Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles Gallery, Mammals and the Blue Whale and the Minerals Hall where you can see the original oak display cabinets from 1881.

We really only scratched the surface and time permitting you could spend a week in here and not see everything there is to see.

Here’s a great PDF map of the Museum so you can plan ahead of time what you might like to see.
Download PDF Map

Natural History Museum London

TOWER OF LONDON

OK so by now were are realising just how much each attraction has to offer and the Tower of London is no exception.

The Crown Jewels were at the top of our my list and how stunningly beautiful they are, indescribable in size and colour. Breathtakingly beautiful, so much so, we had to do a second pass on the little escalator thingy that transports you past the crowns, sceptres and of course the Coronation Spoon.  No photos allowed in here obviously so take your time.

The White Tower “built, to awe, subdue and terrify Londoners and to deter foreign invaders”, it also houses the collection of Royal Amouries including those of Henry VIII, Charles I and James II.

The Ravens – Outside you will find a few Ravens hanging around on the lawns inside the walls of the fortress, Steve was fascinated by these and the story that lays behind them, he has written an article titled My kingdom for six Ravens? go have a read, it’s an interesting story.

Costs:
Adults: £24.50 Children (5-15): £11.00 Concession: £18.70 Family (Up to 2 adults and 3 children (aged 5-15 years)): £60.70 – Book online here and save a few pounds
Opening times:
Tuesday – Saturday 9.00-17.30, Sunday – Monday 10.00-17.30. Last admission: 17.00

Tower of London

LONDON EYE

This iconic modern landmark which I actually baulked at experiencing, sits on the southern bank of the River Thames and the queues and masses of people that congregate around the base is rather overwhelming.  You know when you arrive somewhere and realise that it’s going to take forever just to make it to the front of the queue?  Well I was wrong, this place runs like clockwork and whilst the lines were long they slowly progressed and before we knew it we were boarding our little capsule in anticipation of seeing London City from one of the best viewing point there is.

You must ride The London Eye and I recommend doing it as early as you can when you get to London, as it gave me a great perspective on where things were in relation to each other.  Many streets in London are not on a square grid so seeing it from the air helps, well it did me anyways.

Costs:
Click here because there are too many options to list!
Opening Times:
Again these change month by month…..click here.

London Eye

SAINT PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

Now I wasn’t sure if I was going to include Saint Paul’s Cathedral or not in my list, given the rather steep entry fee and we were not allowed to take photos inside.  But on more thought I couldn’t not include this magnificent International place of worship that holds so much history and grandeur and it’s world famous dome.

From the central floor, the underground crypt, Whispering Gallery (257 steps up), Stone Gallery (376 steps up) and Golden Gallery (528 steps to the top) providing 360 degree views of London, it’s all gobsmackingly beautiful!

Costs:
Click here as they often have sales in advance on the entry fee.
Opening Times:
Visit here as they change depending of services etc.

Golden Gallery St Paul's Cathedral London

There is so much we did in London, to include it all, you would still be here weeks from now wading through this post.  So in brief, we also visited:

Cats in the West End
Westminster Abbey & Parliament Buildings and Big Ben
Abbey Road
Several Markets including, Camden, Borough, Covent Garden and Portobello Road

We caught up with our dear friend Greg who has been in London for the last 20 something years on several occasions and just soaked up living in this crazy melting pot of a city for an extended period of time.

If there are questions you would like to ask me about our stay, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’d love to assist you any way I can.

Sharon x

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