A Visit to London
As previously described, our London visit was meant to recreate imagery that we lost when one of our cameras had been stolen, but coming to London is always an easy decision because of the history we share with England, and because the city is so easy to move about in - public transportation is very good and in addition, it is a very walkable city. So our trip research consisted of identifying those landmarks in London that we wanted to reaquire imagery from, maybe some extra stops for fun, and whatever else we felt like doing.
Getting around in London is an adventure in itself, offering a myriad of transportation options to explore this vibrant metropolis. The iconic London Underground, often called the Tube, is the backbone of the city's transportation network, with its extensive network of lines connecting every corner of London. It's efficient, although it can get crowded during rush hours.
As our hotel was just down the street (thank you once again Mr. Hilton) this was our first day's stop. Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an Anglican church in the City of Westminster, London, England. Since 1066, it has been the location of the coronations of 40 English and British monarchs. At least 16 royal weddings have occurred at the abbey since 1100.
The down-side of visiting such a well known place, especially in the month of August, is that quite a few people are going to be there ahead of you. Even though the line to enter was quite long, we had acquired "date & time entrance" tickets during our trip planning. So our entry into the Abbey moved along quickly.
Westminster Abbey stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of England's monarchy and the country's religious and cultural heritage. With its origins dating back to the 7th century, the abbey has played a pivotal role in the annals of British history. It's a place where kings and queens have been crowned, and where the nation's most celebrated figures find their final resting place.
Stepping inside Westminster Abbey is like entering a time capsule filled with a treasure trove of history. As you wander through its hallowed halls, you'll come across the Poet's Corner, where literary giants like Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens are memorialized. Marvel at the intricate fan vaulting in the Lady Chapel and the stunning Cosmati pavement.
Westminster Abbey is not just a building; it's a living testament to the history and culture of a nation. Whether you're an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply a traveler seeking to immerse yourself in the grandeur of the past, this iconic London landmark is a must-visit. As you walk its storied halls and gaze upon its breathtaking architecture, you'll find yourself transported through time, gaining a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of British history. So, pack your curiosity, and let Westminster Abbey be your gateway to a journey through the annals of England's past.
There are over 3,000 people buried at Westminster Abbey, which includes 30 kings and queens of England and hundreds of influential figures from various disciplines. click here to
view a complete list of who is buried in Westminster Abbey..
NOTE: Queen Elizabeth was not buried at Westminster Abbey because there is not enough space, no monarch has been buried there since 1760 due to space limitations. Queen Elizabeth II was buried at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle alongside her mother, father and sister.
The London Eye is located on the east bank of the Thames River, just north of the Westminster Bridge. Since we had just completed our Westminster Abbey exploration, it was an easy walk across the bridge to arrive at the London Eye site.
The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, was erected to mark the turn of the millennium, and it quickly became a symbol of London's progressive spirit. Standing at an impressive 135 meters (443 feet) tall, it's impossible to miss its majestic presence against the city's ever-evolving skyline.
As you step into one of the spacious glass capsules, you'll be treated to a panoramic view like no other. The gradual ascent offers plenty of time to soak in the sights, from the historic landmarks such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Be sure to bring your camera because the views are nothing short of breathtaking.
The London Eye is not just a ride; it's an experience that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler returning to London, a spin on this giant Ferris wheel is a must. It's a chance to see the city from a different perspective, gain a deeper appreciation for its rich history, and create indelible memories as you soar high above the capital's majesty. So, don't miss the opportunity to take a ride on the London Eye and see London like you've never seen it before – an ever-evolving tapestry of tradition and innovation, waiting to be explored.
We had already acquired "date & time" entry passes for the British Museum, however since our hotel was quite a ways from the Museum and we wanted to arrive as close to our appointed time as possible, we took a regular London "old black taxi" there. Upon arrival, we found that not only was the rain starting to drizzle, but that the line to enter the Museum was wrapped around the nearest corner. The line was moving steadily though, so we jumped in and proceeded to the entrance - where a security guard noticed me using a cane and he let us jump the line and enter the building.
With so much to see, it's essential to plan your visit strategically. Some must-see exhibits include:
- Egyptian Treasures: Step back in time to the land of pharaohs and mummies. Marvel at the colossal bust of Ramesses II and the beautifully preserved Book of the Dead scrolls.
- Greek and Roman Antiquities: Wander through the halls filled with classical sculptures, including the renowned Discus-thrower and the stunning Parthenon Friezes.
- Asian Art: Explore the rich cultural heritage of Asia, from Chinese porcelain to Japanese samurai armor.
- African and Middle Eastern Art: Discover the diverse traditions and artistry of Africa and the Middle East through intricate masks, textiles, and artifacts.
The British Museum, established in 1753, boasts a collection that spans over two million years of history. From the Rosetta Stone, which unlocked the secrets of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, to the Elgin Marbles, which once adorned the Parthenon in Athens, the museum offers a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of human civilization.
This is a very large museum, it occupies more than 990,000 square feet and contains more than more than 80,000 'natural and artificial rarities', over 40,000 books and manuscripts, and 32,000 coins and medals. Since it's founding in 1753, the Museum's collection has grown enormously, and now contains around eight million objects. With summer crowds being large, you will need to plan your visit carefull in order to be able to view those sections that you are interested in.
The British Museum is a place where time comes alive, where the threads of history and culture intertwine to tell the story of humanity. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, this museum offers an unparalleled opportunity to embark on a global journey without leaving London. So, grab your map, your sense of wonder, and get ready to be enchanted by the British Museum's captivating collection of treasures from around the world – a true testament to the brilliance of human creativity and ingenuity.
Getting to Buckingham Palace is a breeze, because our hotel was approximately one mile away (in walking terms, driving there would have been complicated). In fact, the location of the Westminster Hilton Hotel was one of the reasons we selected it; one mile from the Palace, one half mile from Westminster Abbey, .4 of a mile from the Millbank Millennium Pier (where the Thames Water Taxi departs from) and one mile from the London Eye.
Buckingham Palace is an architectural marvel, featuring stunning neoclassical facades, ornate balconies, and beautifully manicured gardens. The Victoria Memorial, located just in front of the palace, adds to the grandeur and serves as a popular spot for photos. We would encourage you to take a look at the history of Buckingham Palace (see our Wikipedia link below) as it is interesting.
St. James's Park is immediately in front of the Palace and Hyde Park is behind the Palace - both are beautiful and Hyde Park always has interesting things taking place. In fact, The park's roots stretch back to the early 17th century when King Henry VIII acquired it as a hunting ground. Over the centuries, it evolved into the sprawling 350-acre green space we know today. As you wander through, be sure to visit the Serpentine Bridge, a picturesque spot where the old meets the new, offering a stunning view of the Serpentine Lake.
Any visit to Buckingham Palace is a journey through time and royalty. Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone looking to soak in the regal atmosphere, Buckingham Palace will not disappoint. It's a place where the past meets the present, and where the grandeur of British monarchy is on full display. So, make sure to add this iconic landmark to your London itinerary; it's a royal adventure you won't soon forget.
With the hotel located just a few blocks west of the River Thames, and as the park extends all the way north to the Parliament Building - plus - the Thames Water Taxi utilizes the Millenium Pier to drop off & pickup passengers - you can see how we wound up spending a certain amount of time there. There are art objects scattered throughout the park, benches are frequent, and this appeared to be a popular location for joggers.
One of the park's standout features is the awe-inspiring Jubilee Walkway Bridge, a modern architectural masterpiece that spans the River Thames. As you cross the bridge, take in the stunning views of the city's iconic landmarks, including the London Eye and Big Ben.
The Park area also serves as a vital transportation hub for river cruises and water taxis, providing an alternative and scenic mode of travel around London. Whether you're embarking on a leisurely river cruise or simply enjoying a peaceful riverside walk, the Millennium Pier area offers spectacular panoramas of the Thames, including stunning views of St. Paul's Cathedral and the iconic Tower Bridge.
The development of Westminster Millennium Pier was funded by the Millennium Commission as part of the Thames project, and it was one of five new piers opened in 2000 by the Commission on the Thames. Its creation was funded by the project as part of an integrated transport and regeneration strategy for the Thames led by London's Cross River Partnership.
Because we did quite a bit of walking about in London, we thought we'd add a section to show you what it looks like as you manuever through the city. As an example, there are currently 16 pedestrian-only bridges that cross the Thames River in London, and there are 35 Bridges in total.
For history enthusiasts, a walk through the City of London unveils ancient architecture like St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. Along the way, discover charming mews streets, picturesque squares, and quirky markets, all contributing to the tapestry of London's unique charm.
Here are a few tips for walking in London:
- Wear comfortable shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking, so it is important to wear shoes that are supportive and comfortable.
- Bring a map or use a navigation app: London can be a confusing city to navigate, so it is helpful to have a map or navigation app to help you find your way around.
- Be aware of your surroundings: London is a busy city, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to take precautions to stay safe.
- Take breaks: Walking can be tiring, so be sure to take breaks along the way. There are many cafes and restaurants in London where you can stop for a drink or a bite to eat.
This might seem to you as a shameless "plug" for Hilton Hotels, but it is most definitely not and we do not receive any compensation from them for mentioning their properties in our websites. The point of this section is that this hotel is very well located for any tourist to use as a "home base", it is a very comfortable hotel and they serve a nice breakfast each morning.
Image # 1 is the property of Hilton Hotels. All other images are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.
- 27 Best Things to Do in London on 'The Conde Nast' Site
- 13 things you have to do in London on 'The Lonely Planet' Site
- 25 Best Things To Do In London on 'The Crazy Tourist' Site
- 14 Best Places for Shopping in London on the "PlanetWare" site
- Google Search Results list for "accommodations in London"
- Google Search Results list for "restaurants in London"
- Best Things to do in London on the "Get Your Guide" site
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- All of our London Trip Images
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