Two World Heritage Sites in One Day!

27 Jul

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Tuesday was another full day (I think I keep saying that!)  After breakfast, we walked down to the tube station (just a couple of blocks from our hotel) and caught the tube out to the Tower of London.  We were there when it opened, so once again we were able to beat the throngs of people that tend to arrive at these types of sites mid-morning.  We really enjoyed the history and being able to see all the old buildings.  Especially entertaining was our guided tour by one of the Yeoman Warders (“Beefeaters”).  As part of their conditions of employment, they live on site, so the Tower of London is actually a small little community in and of itself.  They have two churches, a doctor, a pub, etc.  We were able to tour one of the churches, the one our guide attended.  It is the burial place of a number of famous people, three of which were wives of Henry the VIII.  We also saw the site where some of the wives (and others) were beheaded. It was a great time of history and also to see the crown jewels, which are housed here.   The Tower of London was the first world heritage site we saw that day, the other was to come later in the day.  As we left the Tower of London, we stopped at a street side stand and bought a couple of delicious sandwiches at Paul’s, two bottles of water, and two chocolate eclairs!  We took these with us to eat on the boat as we cruised down the Thames.

Our original plan had been to finish the Tower of London then catch the tube back over to the Westminster Pier and take a boat cruise out to Kew Gardens.  The only problem was that when we arrived at the pier we were about 10 minutes too late, and didn’t really have enough time to wait for the next boat.  But in London there’s always a Plan B!  We decided to take the tube out to Kew Gardens ( a quicker route anyway, but not nearly as scenic!)   We were very near the Churchill War Room Museum at this point, and since we had that on our list for later in the day, knew we’d save time by fitting it in here.  (Also, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to do some “guy” stuff after dragging Jimmy through the dress exhibit yesterday) So we walked across the street to St. James Park, found a bench, and ate the sandwiches we’d bought.  St. James Park is beautiful with lots of massive sycamore trees, a lake, and a maze of walking trails throughout.  There are beautiful flower beds everywhere and there were lots of people enjoying a day in the park.

The Churchill War Rooms were very interesting.  All remains as it was when it was used as an underground bunker for Churchill and his cabinet during the war.  I think it was a welcome relief for Jimmy!  I had to take some preemptive measures since we have an afternoon tea scheduled for later in the week!

Once we were done with that, we caught the tube out to Kew, home of the Queen’s Botanical Gardens.  It was a nice ride out there, and we loved the little village of Kew.  When we exited the train station, we walked down shady cobbled streets lined with small shops, restaurants, and historic homes.  There were no crowds, just a nice little village.  We stopped at the first coffee shop we came to and bought a cappucino, then strolled on down to the gardens.

Kew Gardens is about 10 miles outside of London and contains over 300 acres of plantings.  We really enjoyed the gardens.  It is the other world heritage site that we saw that day.  The oldest tree in the gardens is a Chestnut that was planted in the 1700s.  Our kids will definitely think we are nerds, but we could have spent more time out there.  It was beautiful and so relaxing after the rush of the city!  We did some exploring on our own, then took a tour which gave us a good overview of the different regions of the gardens, then walked back through the village and caught the train back to London.

We got back to our hotel with about 15 minutes to spare before we needed to leave and find something to eat before our play.  We had ordered tickets to Wicked before we left the States.  We got cleaned up real quick, changed clothes and walked across the street to eat at a restaurant called Giraffe.  We only had about  1 hour until showtime but the server assured us we could get in and out before our show started.  The Apollo Theater is only about two blocks from our hotel, so we had an easy walk.

Jimmy ordered the Salmon on Rissoto and I had a veggie flatbread pizza.  They were both delicious!  We finished our meal and headed down the street to see the play.  It was a great production.  The live orchestra, the singing, the choreography, costumes, sets, everything make it a special treat.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  We got in very late and had an early call to leave for Paris, so we went straight to bed.  Can’t believe our time here is almost half  over.  Still so much we haven’t seen! But we’re looking forward to seeing everyone real soon.

Love to all,

Mom/Deb

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2 Responses to “Two World Heritage Sites in One Day!”

  1. Sarah July 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    I ate the very same thing at a Giraffe in Brighton!!! It was delicious! Glad you enjoyed Kew Gardens. That’s where I celebrated my birthday last year :) AND i saw Wicked that night!

  2. Pat Lewis July 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Our internet was out yesterday and until this afternoon, I was having withdrawal!!! Sounds like another great day. Dad said the FOOD looked great.Pictures were good also.
    Hurry and get it all in!!!!!
    Love,Mom and Dad

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