Day One

 
By this time, we’ve hopefully escaped Heathrow and dumped our bags at the hotel while we go off on some sightseeing.

The Tower of London

 
A palace, a prison, an armoury – even a zoo! The Tower of London has certainly seen some service over the years. More than 900 years old, it was built by William the Conqueror and later expanded by other kings.
 
Currently it houses the Crown Jewels, which you can view if you visit. Like the Scottish Crown Jewels, which I saw on my last trip, I suspect they are subject to some strict security, including rather terse guards and a no photography rule enforced much more strictly than that in the Sistine Chapel. Our camera is slow to turn off, prompting a guard to tell us: No cameras!

The Crown Jewels in the Tower of London are in fact guarded by Beefeaters. Apparently some are also on hand to tell tales about the Traitor’s Gate, which was used as the entrance for traitors sent to be executed in the Tower.


Westminster Abbey


This gothic church has been the seat of royal coronations since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066, but in addition a number of famous names are buried here, including Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Dr. Samuel Johnson and Charles Darwin. It also houses a memorial to Isaac Newton. 

The Abbey also serves as the venue for royal weddings and funerals, with the most recent event being the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Above all the political and historical significance, however, is the fact that the church is simply a truly stunning piece of architecture.

OK, everyone here? Off to London Bridge!


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