We just got in from another full day of sight seeing in London! Starting off the day, we went to mass at a church at the end of our street called Our Most Holy Redeemer & St. Thomas More. After mass, we went to a coffee shop called Gailes, where we enjoyed a great breakfast and some of the best black coffee I have ever had. This was a cozy little coffee shop with awesome food and service. Check them out here: gailsbread.co.uk
I was in history heaven on our sight seeing tours today! We saw the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. First we started with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge- two of the most iconic London attractions. We walked toward the Tower Bridge, getting amazing views of the modern architecture along the way. As we walked across the Bridge, we were able to enjoy the views of the Thames river. The modern architecture mixed with the old buildings was a striking contrast, but one to behold. Much like London itself actually, an interesting mix of modern and old.
The Tower of London was my favorite part of this trip thus far. Not only did I fall in love with the history of the building, being able to take pictures was a huge bonus (as you can probably tell by the amount on this post). From the fascinating stories of Kings and executions to seeing the Crown Jewels, every inch of this place had its own unique history. I could have spent a full day here, easily. The story of the two princes was particularly intriguing. There were two young princes that disappeared in the tower, presumably killed by the king but no remains were ever found. It is deemed as one of the greatest and saddest mysteries of the Tower. There is also the story of Lady Jane Grey, executed in the Tower by Bloody Mary’s orders. St. Thomas More (who the church we went to this morning was made in honor of) was also executed and is buried in the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. I could go on, but I will let you look at my pictures and/or visit their sight to learn more if you would like: www.hrp.org/uk/tower
Next up we took a quick detour to Leadenhall Market, another must-see for Harry Potter fans as Diagon Alley was partly modeled after it. While slightly out of the way, this was a good quick stop that was definitely worth the extra time getting there.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was next on the day- another major landmark of London. I was struck by the size and magnitude of this church. Its history was also quite interesting. While we couldn’t take pictures inside, there was a lot to see and do. You could walk up to the dome (make sure you bring proper walking shoes as you climb a lot of stairs to get there. I also hope you don’t get dizzy as it is all spiral staircases. If so, just be prepared!), and the view looking down on the church itself is more than worth the climb. It offered a unique view, and it reminded me a lot of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (I also climbed up to the dome there as well- see previous post on Rome). I was amazed at the amount of famous people buried here as well including Alexander Fleming (inventor of Penicillin, I am a medical student after all so had to include him on this list) and John Donne with memorials to countless people such as Winston Churchill. Overall, a great place to see and I highly recommend it.
For dinner, we ate at Byron’s. This restaurant is diner-like, serving hamburgers, shakes, fries and host of other things. It was good to have some American-type food again. It was also a really fun atmosphere with good service and a great “proper” burger. Check them out: https://www.byronhamburgers.com/
Another sight from today (this is actually about a 2 minute walk from our apartment: Albert Bridge
That’s it for today! Check back again tomorrow- it’s sure to be a great day!