Day 4! We had the PERFECT day seeing the best of London’s history!
Welcome to day 4! Because of the big tour we did on day 3 and the day trip to Paris on day 5, I wanted day 4 to be a bit more relaxed. I booked a “Welcome to London” coach tour so we could see more of the historical landmarks with a knowledgable guide. Our tour guide, Frank, was so fun and personable. We ended up with a small group of about 12 people which made for a great day. It was easier for Frank to take little detours with the smaller group, allowing us to see more.
Our first stop on the tour was Westminster Abbey. This is where many of the monarchs got married, including Prince William and Kate Middleton. We weren’t able to go inside, but the stunning detail on the actual building was more than enough for me. If you ever find yourself there on a Sunday, stop by for church service as it’s open to the public.
Because we had such a small group of people, we were able to walk into a courtyard behind Westminster Abbey. Here we saw even more architectural details and the Westminster School where the choir boys live and study. We were very lucky that day to see the choir boys in their capes walking in 2 single-file lines into the church. It was a special moment that not many people get to see. Everyone got very quiet and just watched the boys pass by.
Fun fact: Andrew Lloyd Webber actually lived and studied at the Westminster School! Obviously the musical fangirl inside of me went absolutely crazy. Phantom of the Opera is by far one of my favorite musicals of all time! It was so interesting to learn about the choir boys’ education and how many successful artists come from the school.
Friary Court – St. James Palace
After we finished up at Westminster Abbey, we headed over to Friary Court for a quick history lesson. Friary Court is part of St James Palace and holds historical significance. The balcony in this court is the first place any announcement will be made about the death of a reigning monarch. Nothing is official until someone of importance makes the announcement from that exact balcony.
Funny enough, the Queen was at Buckingham Palace when we were there! I say it’s funny because she was at Windsor Castle the day before, also when we were there. Tour guide Frank said the Queen was going to pop her head out of the window and demand that we stop following her. Too bad she didn’t, that would’ve been hilarious!
I really feel like day 4 was a lucky day for us and our group. Along with seeing the choir boys, we were able to see the official mail service for the Queen arrive. Not your typical USPS delivery vehicle. The Queen has a horse drawn carriage that drops off and delivers her mail. We actually saw the carriage pull up, 2 men who looked like butlers hop in, and trot away with the mail. It was pretty awesome I must say!
Another lucky sight we were able to see was a group of people all dressed up heading into the palace. Tour guide Frank said this happens when people are receiving awards or recognition from the Queen. They were dressed so proper with, what I would call, their Kentucky Derby hats on. While we don’t know exactly why they were there, tour guide Frank said it could be for volunteerism, philanthropy, military service, and more.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral was beyond stunning. Unfortunately, again, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside the cathedral. I definitely recommend going if you ever get the chance because you seriously need to see it! The inside is gorgeous and absolutely breathtaking.
Instead of getting married at Westminster Abbey like many of the other monarchs, Princess Diana was wed here. Apparently the sheer number of guests in attendance made it impossible to get married anywhere else. I feel like that just makes Princess Diana even more special. She always had a different way of being royal.
Lunch at Paul
After spending about an hour in St Paul’s Cathedral, we headed over to the Tower of London. We had a quick lunch break just outside of the tower at a restaurant called Paul. It’s a chain of sandwich shops that serve up excellent pastries, desserts, and of course sandwiches. After lunch we had a few minutes to browse the gift shop, take a selfie, and relax before starting the tour.
Tower of London
After lunch we walked over to the Tower of London to begin our tour. Again, for the most part, we couldn’t take pictures inside the buildings. We were able to take plenty of pictures of the actual walls and buildings, but not inside. Slightly sad because the crown jewels were stunning. Getting to see the crown, scepter, cape, and more was amazing. The cost of the crown jewels surpass the billion mark.
Way back in the day, the Tower of London was used as a fortress as it’s right on the River Thames. It was used as a prison as well, housing one of Hilter’s allies. It was so interesting to learn about the executions that happened there as well. Turns out, if a woman couldn’t produce a male heir, that was grounds for execution. Same with adultery, but that seems more acceptable (historical speaking) than heir gender.
We also got to see the guards of the Tower, also known as Beefeaters. Literally no one, not even the Beefeaters, know why they’re called Beefeaters. They live inside the fortress with their families while they serve the Queen. There’s even a little pub and an on-sight doctor available to them at all times. We also saw the cages for the crows who are also residents of the Tower. History says that if the crows leave, the tower will fall. So there are always 6-8 crows at the Tower at all times. Their wings are clipped so they can’t fly away, but they live pretty good lives getting plenty of roaming room and huge cages.
Dinner at Zizzi
After an amazing tour of London, we headed to dinner at Zizzi. We knew we had a very early morning the following day, so we found the closest restaurant to the hotel. Zizzi is such a cool place to get some great Italian food. They have a wood fire oven right in the middle of the dining area! For our appetizer we had the Fonduta Formaggi and the Caramelized Balsamic Onion Pizza. The appetizers were beyond delicious! Briam isn’t a fan of cheese sauce and he LOVED the fonduta! For dinner we had the Pulled Pork Roma Rustica Pizza and the Pulled Beef & Venison Strozzapreti. Both were so darn good!
Camera used on the trip: Canon G7 X Mark ii
Backup battery: Canon
Hardcase luggage: Travelhouse 3-Piece Set
What is your favorite historical landmark in London?
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