More London Time

Convent Garden

One can spend a whole week in London and not get the full fill of the city. Below are some of the highlights from my last trip.

Covent Garden

Nearby is the location of the first performance of Punch and Judy puppet show.

The famous Westminster Abbey

London Eye
We didn’t visit it but admired it from afar.

Another big ben photo op.

Visit to Paddington Station
Paddington is getting a lot of press lately due to his upcoming movie.

It is hard to see but “Miso Hungry”

We took a walk to the gorgeous views at The Regent’s Park to bask in the sun.

Houseboats

Later we ate the  Persian restaurant Sadaf.

I loved my lamb biryani.

Honey Cocoa Cake

We walked by this place and all of its delightful sweets.

And yummy looking prepared foods.

Part of a day was spent at the Science Museum which is located in a complex of museums that includes the Natural History Museum (which we skipped due to long lines).

The science museum was nice but next time we will definitely visit the natural history museum instead.

Tower of London and Tower Bridge

One day in London we explored the Tower of London. This was my first visit to the tower since my coach tour skipped it last time.
The tower served many of purposes over the years. It served as a home, an armoury, a treasury, a fortess, etc. Many rulers had their way with the fortress over the years.

Henry III was a particularly odd one with some sort of weird obsession with animals. He had a menagerie here.  I am not 100% sure but I think he is responsible for these monkey statues.

Little chapel

We got to learn about life in the court. Those people ate a bunch.

Remember when I was talking earlier about Henry III? He had many animals one of which was a polar bear gifted to him. I am pretty sure the animals didn’t have a long life span given some of the descriptions in the tower exhibits.

Now we get to all the fun stuff. Lots of horse statues.

And a messed up dragon.

And you always need to stop and watch these guys with those hats.

Ravens are big here too. They kind of own the place.

After the tower we went to go get a snack to eat. Carlos ended up making some close friends.

While we snacked we see a nice view of the Tower Bridge. We skipped the visit to the bridge and admired it from afar.

A walk along the Thames leads us to this L’eggs shaped building.

After our walk we decide to visit the Banquet Hall since admission is free as part of the tourism pass we purchased. Outside we saw some protesters.

The Banquet Hall wasn’t all that exciting to visit but I did dig this hallway.

Some more walking around town leads us to some interesting sites.

Yum!

Trafalgar Square

Another beautiful day in London in the books.

London: Sightseeing

My first visit to London was in 1995. It was brief and I had my first case of major jetlag.
When my cousin Cody moved there I decided it was time to give it another visit.
London proved challenging to find decent budget accommodations.  The prices are up there with New York prices (or higher). We settled on paying a bit more for a room in an Victoria Townhouse near Kensington Gardens. We weren’t too far from the tube and in walking distance to Notting Hill and many attractions. Our room had this lovely terrace.

The hotel was called the London Vicarage Hotel. I just learned that the hotel just closed November 2014 after 50 years of service. It really was a great location and you felt like you were living in another time in history.
To start our sightseeing we started at the nearby Victoria and Albert Museum. It was a great museum that is free to visit (they have a donation box). There was a David Bowie costume exhibit that I really wanted to see but it was hard to get a time to visit and I couldn’t get my companions to go with me (and it cost $$). We did get to see this amazing Chihuly chandelier though.

My cousin met up with us at the museum and we did a tour of the place then went out for a walk in Kensington Gardens (Connected to Hyde Park –  Central Park in NY is the equivalent of Hyde and Kensington Gardens combined).

It was a nice walk on a cold sunny day. There are many trails for use. My cousin and I decided we never want to grow up and posed by the Peter Pan statue.

Later we met up with Randy and had dinner at a french restaurant. Côte is a chain restaurant in London but provided the service and quality of a fancy french brasserie.

Another day we wander around town and I have to point out places of interest.

Millennium Bridge

Walking along the Thames

Big Ben

Houses of Parliament

More Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

Paddington Station (with Paddington Bear)

The Regent’s Park

It was a nice time to visit family and enjoy everything that London has to offer.

London – Kensington Palace

During our last visit to London we stayed near Kensington Palace. Since we were so close I decided to add it to our itinerary.

The palace has housed royals since the 1600’s and now contains residences for current royals. Unfortunately they keep the tourist areas far from the royal apartments so no royal sightings for us.
The palace has a lovely garden that I am sure is even more beautiful in the spring and summer (we were there in the winter).

As part of the exhibit one gets to see many rooms of the palace but what I found more interesting was the dresses and royal items that they had for display.

The walls were filled with beautiful paintings as well.

Also great about this museum is the history of Queen Victoria’s reign on display here. She spent her whole life in the palace. A good amount of the exhibits were about her and her life in the palace.

These interesting dolls were on display as well.

Rooms were dedicated to childhood fantasies of the royals. This particular display was interesting.

Around the entrance there is a touch of modern art as well.

Gold is abundant in the decor and artwork throughout.

There was much more to see throughout so it is definitely worth a visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the house and the lessons in history that it contained. I hope to visit again to view the gardens in their glory.

London – The Globe

A visit to London would not be complete without a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Ideally we would have loved to see a show at the theater but we visited off season. We settled for a tour instead.

The globe theatre that stands there now is not the original one; the original one burned down in 1613. During my first trip to London in 1995 they had just started construction on the current theater. I was happy that this time around I was able to visit the finished product.

As you can see everything was carefully constructed to look like the original as much as possible. They even replicated the thatched roof.

The stage

You can see the detail put into the balconies.

Another view of the stage.

The ceiling of the stage.
Shakespeare’s will in the museum.
A model of how the city looked during the time of the globe theater.

A timeline of all Shakespeare’s works.

Outside view

If you can, definitely go see a play there. You can be royalty and sit in a seat; or you can be groundling and watch from standing room only. Even if you can’t catch a play the theater is worth a visit for the tour and the artifacts in the museum. It should take you a good 2-3 hours to get through it all. Enjoy.

London – Hyde Park

One great thing to do while visiting the great city of London is to take a stroll around Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London. It contains many trails and some waterways.

You can spend all day wandering around this park but one part that should not be missed is speakers corner.
At speakers corner you will find lively debaters hashing out topics on any given day.

Discussions sometimes get heated but they never get violent. Spending some time here makes me long for a time when we can have spirit debates in the USA that don’t result in violence.

 Even kids can listen in on the action.

Carlos had a lively debate with this fellow.

This sweet looking lady was full of opinions and could hold her own.

Someone even took a break from penny-farthing to watch.

Hyde Park and Speaker’s Corner is a must see for any London visitor.