London III: The Tower, the Thames, Westminster and the West End

London Travel Blog

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Tower Bridge.

Friday was the day to visit the Tower of London. Our decision to go to the British Museum on rainy Wednesday had paid off, as the weather was now clear. The Underground took us on an interesting journey on the Piccadilly and District Lines from Russell Square to above-ground South Kensington and thence to Tower Hill.

The Tower of London can be seen right at the exit from Tower Hill station. The queue was short to enter the Tower as we presented our London Passes. Inside the Tower, we viewed the White Tower, the Crown Jewels, and Fusilier Museum. The Tower Ravens flew down to visit. Several costumed reenactors portrayed Defend the Tower!, a living history pageant.

All Hallows-by-the-Tower (All Hallows Barking
Other historical characters meandered about. I even met Anne Boleyn!

Next stop was to be Westminster Abbey. To return to Westminster, we elected to take a Thames cruise boat, also included in the London Pass. It was a lengthy wait for the next boat, but well worth it! Sights along the way to the Houses of Parliament included the modern buildings on the South Bank, the Globe Theatre, the dome of St. Paul's, Victoria Embankment, Cleopatra's Needle, and the London Eye. Another glimpse of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster was afforded on the way to Westminster Abbey. I'm glad we were able to see and hear Big Ben before it was covered in scaffolding and silenced until 2021.

One crosses Parliament Square here, where statues of legendary political leaders are gathered.

Tower Hill Memorial (Mercantile Marine First World War Memorial).
Winston Churchill is among them, as are worldwide notables, including Lincoln, Ghandi and Mandela. St. Margaret's Church is adjacent to Westminster Abbey. It might appear odd to have two large chruches side-by-side. St. Margaret's was established as the parish church for Westminster when Westminster Abbey was still a monastery. (St. Margaret's is noted as the place Winston and Clementine Churchill were married.)

After Westminster Abbey, we needed to return to our hotel to get ready for a night at the theatre. I had reserved tickets for the musical Half a Sixpence at the Noel Coward Theatre. Half a Sixpence is a revival of the 1963 musical that was a vehicle for Tommy Steele. (I saw the American tour production in 1965.) It's set in the Edwardian era and is a lot of fun, brimming with enegy, optimism, nostalgia and romance all at the same time. (A sort of British Music Man, if you will.) This energetic and fast-moving production was a vehicle for newcomer Charlie Stemp, of which more will be heard, I am certain.

On the subject of West End theatre, I was continually dazzled by the sheer number theatrical production posters in the Underground. Everthing from Bat Out of Hell to Kinky Boots to a revival of Annie with Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan. London is without question the world's theatrical capital.

We had accomplished much in our three days in London! Now it was time to embark on the cruise.

vicIII says:
The history come alive in the Tower of London!
Posted on: Sep 27, 2017
Toonsarah says:
You certainly packed a lot into your three days but there's plenty more here to come back for, and if you're here again I could maybe whip up a few London-based members for a meeting. I used to do that regularly for visiting VTers :-)
Posted on: Sep 25, 2017
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Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge.
All Hallows-by-the-Tower (All Hall…
All Hallows-by-the-Tower (All Hal…
Tower Hill Memorial (Mercantile Ma…
Tower Hill Memorial (Mercantile M…
HMS Belfast. World War II museum.
HMS Belfast. World War II museum.
City Hall.
City Hall.
New London Bridge (1973).
New London Bridge (1973).
The Shard (London Bridge Tower, 20…
The Shard (London Bridge Tower, 2…
Custom House (1817).
Custom House (1817).
Old Billingsgate Market. Billingsg…
Old Billingsgate Market. Billings…
Cannon Street Railway Bridge.
Cannon Street Railway Bridge.
Walbrook Wharf.
Walbrook Wharf.
Southwark Bridge. Opened in 1921.
Southwark Bridge. Opened in 1921.
Vintners Hall (The Worshipful Com…
Vintner's Hall (The Worshipful Co…
Globe Theatre.
Globe Theatre.
Dome of St.Pauls Cathedral.
Dome of St.Paul's Cathedral.
Blackfriars Railway Bridge. Piers …
Blackfriars Railway Bridge. Piers…
Blackfriars Bridge.
Blackfriar's Bridge.
Blackfriars Bridge.
Blackfriar's Bridge.
Sion Hall.
Sion Hall.
Temple Avenue and Inner Temple Gar…
Temple Avenue and Inner Temple Ga…
Victoria Embankment.
Victoria Embankment.
HQS Wellington.
HQS Wellington.
The Kings Reach celebrated the 25…
The King's Reach celebrated the 2…
On the River Thames.
On the River Thames.
HQS Wellington.
HQS Wellington.
Somerset House.
Somerset House.
Waterloo Bridge.
Waterloo Bridge.
Cleopatras Needle.
Cleopatra's Needle.
Cleopatras Needle.
Cleopatra's Needle.
Whitehall Court.
Whitehall Court.
London Eye.
London Eye.
London Eye.
London Eye.
Houses of Parliament (Palace of We…
Houses of Parliament (Palace of W…
Houses of Parliament (Palace of We…
Houses of Parliament (Palace of W…
Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben.
Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben.
Speakers Tower.
Speaker's Tower.
Victoria Tower.
Victoria Tower.
Victoria Tower.
Victoria Tower.
Winston Churchill in Parliament Sq…
Winston Churchill in Parliament S…
George Canning in Parliament Squar…
George Canning in Parliament Squa…
St. Margarets Church from Parliam…
St. Margaret's Church from Parlia…
St. Margarets Church.
St. Margaret's Church.
St. Margarets Church.
St. Margaret's Church.
Her Majestys Revenue and Customs.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
Crimea and Indian Mutiny Memorial.
Crimea and Indian Mutiny Memorial.
London Hippodrome (1900). Now the …
London Hippodrome (1900). Now the…
London
photo by: ulysses