Day One: London

I was actually able to sleep on the plane (thank you tylenol PM and sleep mask), but Mama had some annoying neighbors.

I ate breakfast over Ireland
 and then there was England!
We took the Heathrow Express into London and then hopped on the tube.  I’ve never been so excited to ride public transportation.  We were in London!!!
We dropped our bags off at our b&b, The Cartref House.  It was a perfect location, right near Sloane Square and Victoria Station.
We were within a block of Philip Treacy’s shop as well as Jenny Packham.  A mile from Buckingham Palace.  Right next to Chelsea.  Two blocks from Margaret Thatcher’s house. You can say prime minister location.  If only I didn’t have to lug my suitcase up five flights of stairs.

The Chelsea Flower Show was on its last day, and if I was a better daughter, I would have planned our trip around that, but we resisted the urge to go.  Another trip for that one!

By this time it was about 11:00, but I had a huge list of things wanting to get done and by gosh we did most of them.

We walked to Buckingham Palace Road and bought a hop on/hop off double decker bus tour.  What a good deal with discounts to some of the stops!  It’s nicer than the tube because you get to see the city between destinations and get a lay of the land.  Plus, it was bright and sunny so we needed to take advantage of a beautiful London day.

Our first stop was the Royal Mews, Sloan’s recommendation.  It is where the Queen’s horses and carriages are kept.

It’s nice because it’s not crowded at all.
This was used for Diana’s wedding.The Queen comes by the stalls a few times a year to inspect the horses and name the new ones.
This is the coronation coach or the Gold Stage Coach.  It requires 8 horses to pull it as it weighs 4 tons.  Since 1821, it has carried every monarch to their coronation.  They have to remove the walls from the building to get it out.
We then walked around the corner to Buckingham Palace!!

We have arrived!!
The balcony where they stood only a few days later
They were getting ready for the Jubilee concert
The mall was all ready for the Jubilee too!
We then took the bus over to Westminster Abbey.

On the way, a guy asked me, “Are you from here?  You seem to know everything about the royals.”  It made me happy!

Pictures aren’t allowed inside the abbey, so here are ones from the outside and the courtyard.
The abbey was beautiful inside.  The architecture was brilliant.  There were lots of crypts inside as well as the tomb of the unknown warrior.

King Edward’s Chair is in the Abbey, which has been used at every coronation since 1308.

It was really neat to walk down where Kate walked on her wedding day though I don’t understand why the abbey is separated into two sections.

I met a mother and daughter from PEI who gave me their phone number for the next time I was there!  It really was fun meeting people from all over the world and connecting.  Though a little awkward when you say you’re from Atlanta.  Is that enough?  Do you need to say the United States too?  I mean we did host the Olympics.  People should know us.

We then walked over to Big Ben and Parliament.  Winston Churchill’s statue is down there.
The Thames
Our bus ticket gave us a pass to the river cruise, so we took a boat down the Thames from Parliament to the Tower of London.
It was nice to go slowly and see the sights of London.
 St. Paul’s

The Globe  The Wobbly Bridge
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.  This was hanging right near the Tower Bridge.  I got a better picture later showing how massive it is.
Tower Bridge
We got off there to tour the Tower of London.
There was a wedding, but I wasn’t too impressed with their hats A beefeater.  Notice the nice style next to the beefeater.  Home of the Crown Jewels.  Magnificent!

Legends says that if the ravens leave the tower, London will fall.
This door was inside the Tower of London.  How pretty.
We took the bus back and got a good view of the city
Here is Downing Street in a flash

We then met a friend, who was stopping in London on her way back a safari in Kenya, near our b&b and dined together in Chelsea.

It was a tiring and successful day!  Glad we got so much done the first day!!

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