It’s time for my mid-month travelogue post! I thought it would be fun, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Jublilee celebration earlier this month (and the upcoming Olympics), to make this one about London.
I had all four A.A. Milne children’s books when I was little - Winnie-The-Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner (stories), and When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six (poems). Along with The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins, these were my earliest introductions to England, and to London.
There’s one particular Milne poem called Buckingham Palace that I always especially loved. It was set to music and played years ago on British radio. Since I grew up in the US, I learned the silly song from a record, but it stuck with me, and I’ve always wanted to watch the actual Changing of the Guard as a result. Although I’ve been to London several times, this visit was the first time I managed to get there! We got a special treat when, before and during the event, dignitaries arrived for tea with her majesty – some in carriages!
Of course, there were many other highlights to our wanderings around the city. This was our first time in London since the Millennium, so of course we had to go up in the London Eye (the big ferris wheel on the Thames between the Westminster and Millennium Bridges) – it was quite an experience, and took about half an hour to go around.
We took in other wonderful sights like Westminster Abbey (which really needs at least a whole day, if you’re going to explore and appreciate things like the Poet’s Corner) and St. Paul’s Cathedral (ditto – the Whisperer’s Gallery, the crypts, the history!)
Front and back of Westminster Abbey
St. Paul’s Spires
We visited the Tower of London (crown jewels, armor, exhibits, ravens, Tower Green/site of executions), and left by boat, taking a small excursion back up toward Westminster, past the Globe Theatre and the City of London.
White Tower; Tower of London
Me with the Tower’s first female Yeoman Warder (named Moira); the Traitor’s Gate
Finally, I’ll leave you with some random shots from our various wanderings around the City. We had limited time to cram everything in (and the usual mixed British weather), but we picked our “must see’s” for this trip and had a great time – we even took in a play near Covent Garden and dropped in at Harrod’s!
Covent Garden – Inside and out
Bank of England; Living room of our Mayfair flat
Harrod’s, and the Save the Asian Elephant campaign (these were in Hyde Park)
King’s Cross Station – Platform to Hogwarts, Buckingham Palace
And if you’ve never actually read Milne’s children’s poems or the other mentioned children’s classics (the Disney versions of all of them are fun, but not really the same), let me suggest you borrow or pick up copies of the books listed above – they all still make me smile!