London, part two: Travel notes and photos

another view fromLondon Eye

Wednesday, Aug 22

Started our day heading to Stonehenge on the way to London and Lego Land Windsor.

Arrived at Stonehenge about 10-ish and did a quick walk about and audio tour and were on our way.  Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. Begun as a simple earthwork enclosure, it was built in several stages, with the unique lintelled stone circle being erected in the Neolithic period in around 2,500 BC. Stonehenge remained important into the early Bronze Age (2,200–1,500 BC), when many burial mounds were built nearby. Today, Stonehenge, together with Avebury and other associated sites, form the heart of a World Heritage Site with a unique and dense concentration of outstanding prehistoric monuments.  

After our jaunt at Stonehenge, we headed to Lego Land Windsor. Sophie, Perdi, Izzy (Perdi’s friend), Hector and Mimi joined us along with about 150,000 other people.  Wow, was it crowded!  Kids had a great time though.

Onward to London…

London started out to be a little challenging – apartment we had booked was not as promised so we quickly ditched the place and headed to the Sloane Club in Chelsea for two nights.  This is a great place – the only drawback is that it’s roughly 110 stairs from street level (the kids counted).  Actually, it is quite nice. The apartment overlooks a small yet lively side street near Duke of York Park and lets out a few feet from Kings Street which is amazing for shopping and dining.

We arrived at the Sloane Club about 10:30 pm and quickly headed to the bar for dinner since they stopped serving at 11.  Got the kids settled into bed about 11:30 – though they were exhausted after a long day touring (Stonehenge) and Lego Land, they hung in there very well.

Thursday, August 23

However, the morning got off to another not-so-great start after I put only enough money into the meter for 30 minutes – not two hours as I was supposed to.  Needless to say, the car got booted.  These London traffic officials are super speedy – let that be a lesson to you.

London calling…

Things got quickly settled and we walked to Buckingham Palace, had a snack in a pub called “Bag o’ Nails.”

There were lots of tourists out and about yesterday. Not surprising since this is high season and the weather here has been amazing.

We returned to the apartment and thankfully got our arrangements for the next few days settled.  Found a new place in Earl’s Court which is not far from where we are now so it’s a super location. However, the owner is at the apartment through Sunday so this morning we are heading to the Marriott County Hall on the Thames for two nights.  The hotel overlooks the River Thames and Big Ben, is located next to the London Eye, and it is the perfect location for exploring London.

Charlie’s never coming home. Opened his own shop.

Friday, August 24

Checked out of the Sloane Club and into the Marriott this morning.  The hotel is so perfectly located – we are literally across the bridge from Parliament and Westminster Abbey and right next to the London Eye.

Marriott County Hall and the London Eye

Once we checked in and dropped our bags we had to check out the pool, gym, etc.  Elsa was as excited to swim in the indoor pool as she was to see the sights.

The tour of Westminster Abbey was unbelievable.  We saw the tombs of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton and unbelievable display of history and riches.  One of the staff members told me that there are over 3,300 bodies buried there (known) and unknown numbers of countless monks that are buried within the church and on the grounds.  Kind of cool and a little bit creepy.

  • Here are a few interesting facts about Westminster Abbey:
    • King Edward The Confessor ordered the construction of the Norman monastry around 1050. However, only a small part of this construction survived after it was consecrated in 1065.
    • Henry III rebuilt the abbey in gothic style from 1245 – 1272.
    • It was rebuilt after the fire of 1834 destroyed most of the buildings
    • It serves as a burial ground for numerous kings and queens, politicians and also an Unknown Warrior from the 1st World War.
    • With the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII, all British monarchs from 1066 have been crowned in the Abbey. The Archbishop of Canterbury normally conducts the coronation ceremony.
    • In the Lady Chapel are the tombs of Henry VII, James I, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII
    • Poets buried in the Poets’ Corner include Tennyson, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling.
    • The funeral service of Diana, Princess of Wales, was held at the Abbey on 6th September, 1997
    • The Pope visited Westminster Abbey on the 17th September 2010
    • The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was held at the Abbey on 29th April 2011.

Once we were done touring Westminster we walked back by Parliament and headed to a little shop for provisions.

Parliament House

Parliament Tower

The kids swam a bit and now we are relaxing a bit before we head to dinner and an evening ride on the London Eye.  More tomorrow.

Friday evening: Okay, London Eye was very cool.  Great vistas from every POV.

How cute are they? They are having the time of their lives.

Parliament from London Eye

Moore 4 in London Eye

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