London is one of my favourite cities in the world (tied with Dublin), and I firmly believe that Samuel Johnson was right when he said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Architecture, culture, arts (including ballet!!), and history- there is nothing missing from London. I am incredibly lucky to have family who live just outside of London; Jane is the best London tour guide that you could ask for. She knows where to go to see everything that you want to see but still find hidden gems that make London what it is! These are some of the photos from the first day I spent in London, and are some of the sights that I thought worth remembering!
I flew into Luton, and then Jane and I took the train into the city from Radlett. If you want to imagine that you are in the beginning of Harry Potter, go to Radlett- it looks like a quintessential English village that the Dursley’s could easily live in. It’s also got some serious hills, so if you are from a relatively flat place you can expect a good workout from walking about! Anyways, the train into London. I love taking the train; while they are often quite busy and crowded, they are relatively little work on the part of the rider, especially on a longer journey. You can watch the countryside or other passengers or read or listen to music, really anything. Trains are the answer!
Once we got into the city, we made our way over to Westminster. I find that there is a great deal of character in London, and every building deserves a second look. I don’t know if this church is a particularly important church, but it is quite striking. Although St. Paul’s and Westminster are stunning, this church also has it’s own beauty and magnificence.
This pub has stuck with me in all these years since I first saw it- St Patrick’s Day wasn’t for a bit but it was still decorated already, the details in the architecture (specifically the bricks), and the fact that it does stand out from all of the office buildings all around it make it memorable. I also love that flowers are used so freely in Europe; blooms dress up any building, even a pub!
Can you really have a post about Westminster and not have a shot of Big Ben? What still blows me away every single time I see it is just how much intricate detailing there is absolutely everywhere. You look at these parliament buildings and you know that it is an important building for important things. It dominates the area, and leaves a lasting impression in your mind. It’s a shame that my clocks don’t carry any of the weight of Big Ben…
Ahhhh, Westminster Abbey. Also an incredibly famous structure found in London! Unfortunately, this is one of those places that you can’t take pictures in, so all of my pictures are only of the outside. When I was able to visit the Abbey a few months later, I might have spent more money than I should have on a Royal Wedding guide for William and Catherine. You can see why this church is so important for the British Royal Family- majesty and splendour seem to be very fitting adjectives. Once again, it’s all in the details!!
Running into an Oliver Cromwell statue is always interesting, especially when you live in Dublin. For anyone who has spent hundreds of hours studying Irish history, Cromwell led a brutal invasion and conquest of Ireland, including plantations of Protestants and the suppression of Irish culture. It is odd to go from Dublin in the morning where he still garners a good amount of hatred to seeing a large statue of the man outside Parliament in London in the afternoon. It also started off my lion count throughout London- there are far more than three…
Jane had the very brilliant idea to tour Westminster, and we were actually able to get tickets! It’s kind of like Buck House, you have to strike while the occupants are away and security isn’t guarding the entrances like a vault. No pictures in Westminster either, but it is quite a striking place. I was surprised at how small the Houses really are- they felt equal to or smaller than the sizes of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate in Ottawa, and we have probably 1/10 of the people filling the room. We were actually able to sit in the Commons, fulfilling a dream of my 11 year old self. (Yes, as an 11 year old I aspired to be the Speaker of the House of Commons. I couldn’t tell you why, but I was obsessed. Until I realised that you don’t start at the speaker, and you typically need an actual career before even being a regular MP.) The name escapes me all of these years later, but this is where you collect your tickets before- you can imagine what this building has seen throughout the centuries!
After parliament, we wandered about the area for a while! London has a lot of places you can parade a horse, even now…
Horses? Horse are cool, but cycles, cycles are a no-go.
I have no idea what mode I used on my camera, but I love the effect in these next few photos- it’s much how I imagine these buildings exist, with life continually happening around them while they remain in their place.
My absolute favourite- Georgian style architecture with a hint of a red bus.
Another lion! I would love to see an aerial shot of all four lions, although I feel like three would have been more fitting in the capital of England.
Another of my favourite shots- the blurred crowds, the strong architecture, the gentle glow, the red banners, everything is perfect!
We finished my first day off with a brisk walk through Leicester Square- I was surprised at how busy it was until I remembered that we were in the theatre district on a Saturday night! It’s bright and flashy area, but you will never run out of things to see in Leicester Square.
As you can see, my first day in London certainly covered a lot! I love that I was able to start my time in London by immersing myself in one of the historical areas, and that I was actually able to catch a tour of Parliament. I truly believe that the history of London is the magic of the city, and I hope that everyone has a chance to experience it at some point in their life!
What is your favourite place in London? What stands out to you when you first visit a city?