Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Eye; oh my

Our first full day in London included visiting the iconic Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye. Our lodging was located just across the Thames River and within easy walking distance of all three of these destinations. Since we arrived at 9 am and check in wasn't until 2 pm, we safely stowed our luggage at the Premiere Inn County Hall and headed out for the first of many adventures.

 Westminster Abbey, a national shrine, in all its medieval glory, offers a resting place for many of England's royalty, noblemen, authors and poets. One of London's top tourist destinations, the line to enter was long. It's impossible to see everything that this religious building offers, but walking within these sacred halls, you could feel history surround you. From the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 to the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, it was surreal to be walking within these sacred walls.

 Afternoon Tea was enjoyed in the Cellarium of Westminster Abbey. More on that in tomorrow's post. Following tea, we headed back across the Thames towards the London Eye, the country's Millennium project.

While crossing the bridge, Susanna spotted this graffiti by global artist Hogre. It's a great depiction of these British tourist destinations complete with the hoards of people that gather here everyday. Walking across the bridge in the morning was pleasant with a minimal number of people, by late afternoon/early evening the sidewalk was solid with multi-lingual visitors, tourists with selfie sticks oblivious to the crowds, and buskers (street performers) trying to hustle a buck. There were some playing the shell game (at 40 pounds a pop) and others playing the bag pipes with an open case for coins.

The Internet provides the opportunity to purchase many tickets in advance in an attempt to avoid long lines. We took advantage of this and had our flex-tickets in hand to board the London Eye at any time. This worked well for us, and was our last stop before we checked into the hotel for a much needed nap. The London Eye (think ultimate Ferris Wheel) has 32 glass pods that hold 25 visitors. The rotation takes half an hour to complete and on a clear day offers a view over the city of approximately 25 miles.

View over London from the British Airways London Eye


relevanttealeaf said...

So fun to read your Day 1 adventures in London. Looking forward to reading about tea in Westminster Abbey. Such a fabulous City!

Linda @ Friendship Tea said...

Looks like the weather was great! Fantastic first day adventures.

Marilyn Miller said...

I am writing notes for our planned trip next year. Thanks!
The London Eye and the Westminster Abbey are on my list. Maybe I need to check out the accommodations too.