After very little deliberation I have come to the conclusion that I would be quite happy to spend my entire life being a tourist. There really is something wonderfully enjoyable about wandering around and ticking sights off of a list, and I don’t even need to go far away to enjoy it, being a tourist in my own city is good enough for me. I reached this conclusion after last weeks four days of touristy shenanigans with the Aussie cousins. Having them over for the first time in forever was the perfect excuse for some time off and a lovely four-day weekend. So what did we get up to, I hear you ask?
Well, Thursday started with a riverside walk from London Bridge to The Tower of London and then a rest stop at Zizzi’s – it’s a well-known fact that you can’t get fully into touristy fun without a full stomach!!! The next stop on the tour was the wonderful Tower of London, that place really is amazing. It’s been years since I’ve been there and I’d forgotten how fantastic it is. I could have spent hours there looking at the impressive buildings, gorgeous crown jewels, brilliantly shiny armour, searching for the animal sculptures and learning all about the history of the Tower and the original mint. It really was fascinating. The jewels are absolutely stunning, imagine wearing them! The other artifacts were impressive too, I particularly loved the massive punch bowl, which can hold something ridiculous like 50 bottles of wine – wow! Although it was sad that the King who commissioned it was unlikely to have ever used it as he died before it was completed.
After the Tower (and the obligatory photo of Tower Bridge) we headed on the river boat – my favourite form of transport – across to the Globe. I always love seeing that building, as it’s such a contrast to the surrounding buildings – it’s like being transported back in time. Sadly we didn’t have time to pop in and do the tour or museum, but one day I definitely will do it! From the Globe we went along to the Tate Modern and ambled around the different exhibitions. Whilst there were some interesting displays and paintings, a lot of it I just didn’t get – I’m sorry I just don’t see how it’s art. The view from the cafe at the top on the other hand, that is definitely art. It’s just amazing – you’ve got half of London laid out in front of you, beautiful! After the Tate we hopped across London to Harrods and explored the shop, saying hello to the giant bears and Playmobil people along the way – how cute.
Day two on the London sightseeing tour started at St. Paul’s Cathedral where we spent three hours exploring and learnign about this fascinating building. I honestly could visit that place every day and still find it interestingk. Now I’m not the best with heights, but I managed to make it up to the Whispering Gallery, but I couldn’t make it any further up as I started to feel a bit wobbly – apparently the views from the top are stunning. One of the great things about the Cathedral is that you get a free audio guide as part of your ticket, so needless to say I listened to every single bit of information on offer. I did a history degree – would you expect anything else? It really is amazing to see what was achieved with the building of the cathedral, especially considering the time – it’s amazing. Also, interesting fact alert, did you know that Wren’s design was built so fast that he was alive to see it finished, the first architect of such a cathedral. What a feat. From St Paul’s Cathedral we headed to Hyde Park, another must see site, where we ate lunch at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, one of my favourite eateries. Read more about my love for that eating place here. As the weather was so lovely – I know unbelievable right! – we walked through Hyde Park and Green Park to Buckingham Palace, before heading along the Mall, to Horse Guards Parade where we were in time for the changing of the guards. Then we wandered down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster, always a bit of a pinch yourself moment I find. In the evening we went to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was amazing, you HAVE to see it as soon as possible. My favourite bit? The Squirrels!!
So there we have it, that’s what we got up to on the first two days of our touristy fun. Check back soon for days three and four, where we ventured west to a very rainy Wiltshire!