London is always London!
London was the first destination visited by the Adventure Grannies. I hadn’t been there for a long time, Gianni had never visited it, so we booked a hotel and… let’s go! We hadn’t many days, so we made a classic “basic” tour; that is we visited the most famous landmarks of this big city.
First of all Westminster and the House of Parliament: by chance we found out that you can make a visit inside and that this is possible only in some periods of the year. For me it was exciting to see the House of Lords and the house pf Commons, so luxury and so rich in history. The guide’s explanation was very interesting, but unfortunately it was forbidden to take photos.
Soon after we visited Westminter Abbey: huge, imposing, wonderful. This very old Abbey hosts the tombs of famous kings and queens of England, as well as the tombs of many famous English poets; among them Dickens and Kipling’s tombs can be seen in “Poets’ Corner”. The one who is not there is William Shakespeare, because he asked to be buried in his hometown, Stratford Upon Avon.
Soon after a walk on Westminter Bridge to reach what is now considered as the top attraction in London, the London Eye. Usually there is a big queue to take the tickets and get on the panoramic wheel; but I must say that the waiting time is not very long, and very soon we were on one of the transparent capsules and on the top of the wheel.
The view was amazing, even if the weather was rather cloudy and there was a little mist… but it worths while! Another must in your London visit is Buckingham Palace. There we were not able to see the Changing of the Guard just because it was going to rain. But you must really have a look at the Queen’s residence, even because to get there you have to cross some of the finest London parks that make it so beautiful and charming!
When you are in front of the palace, pay attention to the flag on the top… if it is not up, this means that the Queen is not in London!
Talking about parks, the best known and maybe the most beautiful is Hyde Park. Don’t miss a walk inside it, in some area you will find some deck chairs where to lie down and sunbathe (if you are lucky enough to find the sun). You can visit the memorial devoted to Lady Diana, or have a row on the Serpentine (a lake that takes its name from its shape). Then go and see the monument to Barrie (Peter Pan’s author).
And on Sunday morning, go to Hyde Park’s Corner, where there is Speaker’s Corner. Everyone can go there and talk to the crowd about every topic he wants. I can grant you you will see very funny people, it is an amazing show!
Another thing that can’t be missed on Sunday morning is a tour at Portobello Road Market. Besides the normal shops, you will find a lovely street market where you can buy almost everything… and it is a pleasure to wander in that chaos and have a look at the goods offered by shouting sellers!
Other monuments that deserve a visit in London are The Monument and Saint Paul’s Cathedral; the former is an obelisk erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666 that destroyed a big part of the city. The Cathedral can boast the second biggest dome in the world after Saint Peter’s in Rome. In the crypt you can see the tombs of famous people, such as Horatio Nelson, Lord Wellington and Winston Churchill.
Then, take a little cruise on the Thames; while being comfortably sitting you can see two ships on the river side. One is the HMS Belfast, that was constructed rather recently, while the other is the Golden Hind, the ancient ship of Sir Francis Drake, the corsair.
As soon as you see Tower Bridge, get off the boat and go to visit the Tower of London; it is a very old building that was first a royal residence, then a prison for aristocratic people and now is a museum.
Before visiting the other buildings, join the queue to see the Crown jewels, because the waiting time can be long. I suggest you also visit the Arm Museum, where you can admire original items. If you are lucky enough you can also see the opening of Tower Bridge to let ships pass… or you can walk on the upper level while admiring London from there!
Finally, if you have time enough, you can leave the city and go to Greenwich; here you can visit the Maritime Museum and above all the famous Prime Meridian, of which everyone has heard.
Of course, there are so many things to see in london, but in my opinion these are the landmarks you cannot miss to understand the historical chatacter of this wonderful capital city!