Our first Visit to London – Monday 14th April

Our first visit to London, Exciting!  We got up at a reasonable hour and headed off to the train station for our 10am train.  We didn’t have to catch an early train, as it is supposedly very busy in the morning, with all the commuters.   We had to carry our bags around for two of the three days we were going to be there, so we had packed very small bags, with minimal stuff, so we wouldn’t have to lug the stuff around.

Brighton Station
Brighton Station

We hopped off the train at Victoria Station, and out into London.  Almost got run over by a bus within a block, as I was staring simultaneously at the other red double decker buses, and the old stone buildings that were nestled amongst the newer, more modern ones.

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The Albert
The Albert
Busses
Busses

A few blocks walk took us to Westminster Cathedral.  Not the really big one, but still pretty big!  We wandered around, checked out all the small chapels dedicated to different saints, and marveled at the sheer amount of pretty stone that was used in the building.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

After that, we walked down to Westminster Abbey, which we didn’t go in to, as the line was out to the road, and halfway down the block.  We did admire the outside.  Walked down past the Houses of Parliament, and the House of Commons.   Such a fancy building.  We wandered through a park, and took in our first view of the Thames.  A brownish, fast flowing river.

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Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
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South Bank, and the London Eye

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Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
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The London Eye. And a bunch of tourists.

 

We walked back up the road, and past Big Ben, who chimed 1pm for us.  Headed over the bridge to South Bank.  There were so, so many other tourists there with us.

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Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben

We wandered past the London Eye, with a conscious decision not to go on it, like the hundreds of people lined up, waiting.  It was near Easter, so there were carrots in the trees, and bunnies all around.

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Bunny…

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Eye
Eye

We took more subway, via Waterloo Station, with it’s pretty exterior, and ended up in Leicester Square (hey, these places are named just like in Monopoly!), where we sat for a few moments.  There were some very cool, probably super old, knobbly trees, in amongst the rush of people and bustle of city.

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Waterloo Station
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Some of the escalators are pretty steep!
Crazy horse fountain
Crazy horse fountain

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Knobbly tree
Knobbly tree

After our lunch in the park, we wandered an indirect way to Trafalgar Square.  It was quite weird walking through near deserted streets for a few blocks, to come right smack into the middle of tourist central, hundreds of people, as we entered Trafalgar Square.    We were greeted firstly by a big, blue cock, who stood out the most, on the fourth pedestal, that is reserved for changing art installments.

Big and Blue.
Big and Blue.
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square was pretty, if you ignored all the people.  Some lions, a couple of fountains, and surrounded by buildings.   We had a quick look in the National Gallery, which was free.  One of the paintings I saw was of Lady Jane Grey.  She was Queen of England for just 9 days until she was removed from the throne, and sent to the Tower of London to be executed.  I think she was only 16.

After the gallery, we subwayed to the Covent Garden Markets, which have been around for quite a while.  It is quite an interesting place, back in the 1600’s was a developing area around a square, with an open air fruit and veg market.  Over time it fell into disrepute, and for a while was a red light district, as taverns, brothels etc opened, and artists and poorer people moved in.   They built the roof cover in the 1800’s, and was more organised after that.  It has been various things, but is now more of a tourist destination, with cafes, shops, and a crafty market area.  We ate at the Pie Shop, and at Creme de la Crepe, where I had an amazing, fantastic apple crumble crepe.  Yum.  Nearby was Punch and Judy Pub, which has been around since 1787, and is thought to be named after the puppet show that used to take place at the market.

Covent Gardens Market
Covent Gardens Market
Chimneys
Chimneys
Magic
Lots of street performers
Covent Gardens Market
Covent Gardens Market
A very old pub Covent Gardens Market
A very old pub
Covent Gardens Market

Lastly we headed to King’s Cross Station, to see the infamous Platform 9 and 3/4 (or the representation of).   There was a very big line to get a picture taken there, which I didn’t want to stand in, so I have a picture of it, just not with me in it.  Maybe one day we will go back when there are no people.  There was a cute little shop where you could buy scarves, cups, wands etc.

Best to just sit on the roundabout
Best to just sit on the roundabout
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station

 

We stayed with one of Dale’s friends from back in NZ, Jerome and Amy.

 

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That is quite a long way down!

 

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Big and Blue
Big and Blue
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Big and Ben

 

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