Day in London
This was one of the two days during our visit that we spent in central London. We had three goals for this particular day: visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, the British Museum, and attend live theatre.
We headed into the city after breakfast. Public transit is right in front of the hotel with a bus stop located at the edge of the hotel property. It is only a handful of stops to Hounslow West station where we transferred to the tube for the rest of the trip to our first stop.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
First up was St. Paul’s Cathedral. The weather certainly had improved from the previous day as the clouds had moved on to let the sunshine and heat up the city.
Taking pictures was not permitted in the church. This allowed us to truly take in the grandeur of the cathedral without viewing it through a viewfinder or on the screen of our phones. The interior of the cathedral is quite spacious, and we quickly headed up the stairs to the whispering gallery. This circular spot above the main level was a useful spot for us to cool down on the stone seats and enjoy this unique space. A quality of this circular area was that one can whisper against the wall, and the sound will travel around the circular gallery to anybody who has their ear close to the wall on the other side. It was entertaining to watch people experience this on their journey to the top of the cathedral. For us, the stairs had successfully aggravated Amber’s asthma so we did not continue up to the next two stops. After our break of people watching as they progressed through the gallery, and enjoying the architecture, we returned to the main level and then explored the crypt. The crypt was extensive as it was the entire floor, not a section of the cathedral. At the end of the tour area were washrooms and a café.
In truth, Covent Gardens wasn’t the main goal; instead it was to have a late lunch at Byron Burgers. We were first introduced to this London based burger chain during our honeymoon, as we had met up with a friend from Carl’s work who had relocated from Toronto to London after her workday had concluded. We enjoyed the well-made burgers and extremely addictive French fries so much that we made a second visit during our honeymoon. This trip though, we only had time for one visit. We both had burgers and thoroughly enjoyed them. After filling ourselves up with food we stopped in the Transit Museum’s gift shop where we located Christmas gifts for both my brother and a friend. After this we strolled through Covent Gardens, however as we live in a condo we have to be ruthless in determining what we will buy as a souvenir so although we looked we did not buy. To me, our space is at such a premium that any future souvenir or poster or artwork is going to be treated like any 20s something at a club on a busy Saturday night, “One in, one out”. If we get something, something else will be moved, stored, or taken out of our space.
After walking through Covent Gardens we travelled up to the British Museum. Our visit was not rushed because we were visiting on a Friday, when the Museum is open late, until 8:30pm. We didn’t have any specific goal, however we did come across the Rosetta Stone twice. Initially on our way in, it was easy to find with a crowd 5-10 people deep. During our time in the Museum we stopped in the café for tea, a necessity for Amber to be a happy traveller. In retrospect we arrived around the final busy rush to enter the Museum. After we had our tea, several areas were quiet, and when we came across the Rosetta stone for the second time, we easily walked up to its display case.
The Museum has a significant collection of items and for diligent visitors; they could spend an entire day exploring the many artefacts on displays. It is truly an impressive museum to visit when in London.
After our time in the Museum, we rested our feet on a bus ride to our theatre. The theatre wasn’t far from the Museum; however taking the bus gave us a short distance sample of how busy London roads are on Friday evenings.
As our day consisted of a late lunch, we had a quick sandwich before heading to the theatre. During our planning we could not definitely decide what musical, play, or live performance to attend, and we ultimately decided on London’s staple, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. For theatregoers in London, this is the longest continuous running performance. Ever. We visited during its 65th year, and we joined many other tourists to take in the play. Now a word of caution if you plan to purchase tickets on the balcony – do so if like climbing stairs and uncomfortable seats.
The balcony is at such a steep angle, that when standing we were eye-level with the main chandelier over the orchestra level. The seats added to the angle as they seemed to angle you towards the stage further making you feel that at any moment we were going to fall forward and tumble down into the orchestra.
With a busy day completed, we headed back to our hotel to rest up for a day at Hampton Court Palace.
Permalinks to other parts of the trip:
- Toronto: To the Gate
- Flight Toronto to London
- Doubletree by Hilton Hotels London Heathrow
- Day in London
- Hampton Court Palace
- Day 2 in London
- Train London to Paris
- AccorHotels in France
- Palace of Versailles
- Around Paris, and listening to a Canadian
- Le Mans – Friday
- Le Mans – Race Start
- Le Mans – Sunday Finish
- Mont Saint Michel
- Normandy to Paris
- Paris to Toronto