I can’t believe it’s almost a week since our quick visit to London. In other words, it’s about time to write the second part of our 27 hours in the English capital. Are you curious about part 1? Then click here >>
London In 27 Hours – Part 2
Our previous post ended with us taking a break not too far away from Buckingham Palace. Here’s how the day continued. We decided to keep discovering the city by foot.
Palace of Westminster
Not far from the coffee shop where we enjoyed some coffee and the air-con, we found the Palace of Westminster. Have you ever wondered who Ben was? The great thing about modern life is that Wikipedia knows and tells us that the bell may have been nicknamed after Sir Benjamin Hall or after boxing’s English heavyweight champion Benjamin Caunt.
We did not pop into – but did photograph – Westminster Abbey. Here I must admit that walking London in 27 hours (or at least parts of it) is much more easier when one does not go into any of the buildings.
Now it was time to cross the Westminster Bridge and enjoy the atmosphere over at South Bank. Here we started to walk The Queen’s Walk, together with many other tourists. South Bank was very crowded, but it was also a lot of fun with all the buzz. Again, we gave many of the main attractions (such as London Eye) a miss. However, we found the Southbank Centre Food Market a delight. All that delicious-looking food! Under the Waterloo Bridge we found another wonderful treat: the Southbank Centre Book Market. Not only did they have a lot of interesting books, but there were also many old map. We were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t buy any of the maps. They would have fitted perfectly on the walls in our living room.
Instead of crossing the Thames at the Millennium Bridge, we continued all the way to London Bridge. We had a quick look at the Borough Market but unfortunately it was already closed.
After crossing the London Bridge (so famous from that song we had to sing in school) we found ourselves in the City of London. Also known as the Square Mile (because of its size), this is the area that constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages. Nowadays it is an important financial center.
One of the most famous landmarks in the City is the Monument to the Great Fire of London. The monument is 62 meters tall and it stands on the site of St. Margaret’s, Fish Street, the first church to be burnt down by the Great Fire.
Another tall building – and very much a monument in its own right – is the more modern 30 St Mary Axe. You might know it by its nickname the Gherkin. I actually liked the mix of old and new in London. It gives the city a certain vibe, and it most definitely points at the city’s importance throughout the times.
St. Pauls Cathedral is also in the City. However, we passed it later in the evening, when we were on our way back to the hotel.
St Katharine Docs & Tower Bridge
Instead of heading straight for the Tower Bridge, our talks about Brexit accompanied us all the way to St Katharine Docs. The area is very fancy indeed and it is beautiful for a stroll. There are plenty of restaurants, but we decided to keep on walking. And we were lucky! We would have missed the Tower Bridge lift had we decided to stay for dinner at the docs. The lift was actually spectacular – as is the bridge itself. The bridge is actually not very old, it dates back to 1886–1894. Its colors are even newer: it was painted red, white and blue for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
By now almost 10 of our 27 hours had passed and it was really time to look for food. The sun was setting over the Thames at this point as well. Jesper had talked about trying some British beer throughout the trip. In Manchester we didn’t have any alcohol, so this was maybe his last chance. So what happened? We went to an Italian restaurant where they only served Italian beer. Oh well, at least we have a good reason to re-visit London and England.
The Way Back to the Hotel
With some delicious Italian food in our tummies and with the night on its way, we decided that it would be best to walk back to our hotel near Russell Square. Mind you, it’s not really a short walk.
On the way we finally got to see the Tower of London (very impressive indeed!). We also saw St. Pauls Cathedral (really big!). One of the more interesting attractions on our walk back was Fleet Street. Our friend Bea who was showing us around works in the area and she wanted to show us the street. I was personally impressed by the long publishing history that can be found here. I must, however, admit that it was somewhat creepy to walk this particular street at night. You see, this is where Sweeney Todd lived back in the day!
Back at the hotel our feet reminded us of the fact that we were still very much alive. Roughly 25 kilometers in one day is good work, if you ask me. We almost fell onto the bed and were quite happy that there was no alarm ringing the next day. Yet, we still had a few more of those 27 hours to look forward to.