LONDON! Feeling a bit jet lagged and wobbly we seized the day and headed into Westminster nice and early. After mistakenly admiring Westminster Cathedral for 15 minutes we realised Westminster Abbey (which we were actually searching for) was a few blocks over. Oops.
Now we didn’t actually get to go inside Westminster Abbey that day because it didn’t open for the public until later that afternoon (take note there are different opening times depending which day of the week it is) and when we returned later the line was so long we decided to try another day. We did learn our lesson and arrived half an hour before opening the next day and were among those first to enter – but you’ll see more about that in another post :).
We then meandered down to Westminster Bridge (which had newly installed metal barricades and heavily armed police and army personnel) and had some photos with Big Ben and the London Eye. The high security presence was strange for little Australia city dwellers like ourselves. We have extremely strict gun control at home and police rarely display their gun so openly let alone carry machine guns. While we did feel safe knowing they were watching over us, it was also a harsh reminder of the ongoing issue terrorism poses and the need to exercise caution.
We then hit up the Banqueting House and the Cavalry Museum where we witnessed part of the changing of the guard (by accident – we have impeccable timing). We didn’t actually know anything about the Banqueting House but decided to have a look after stumbling upon it. The history inside was amazing and the staff were great. Highly recommend giving it a quick look.
Next we ambled through Saint James Park on our way to Buckingham Palace. We lucked out by arriving just in time for the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (I wasn’t kidding before – we have the best timing). I honestly didn’t think I’d be interested in seeing a changing of the guard but it was actually very interesting and worth braving the crowds.
We passed the Duke of York monument (ooooooh the grand old duke of york) on the way to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. Unfortunately they were preparing for an event out the front of the gallery and Trafalgar Square had scaffolding and chairs everywhere so I didn’t get great pictures but it was worth seeing just for the sculptures around the square. The National Gallery was great too though I have no idea about art so I just ambled around and made thoughtful noises while my friend who does know a lot about art actually appreciated what we were seeing. She berated me multiple times for mispronouncing famous artists names like Van Gogh (I said Van Go) and Monet (I said Mon-eeet) but I worked it out by the time we hit a museum in Paris a few weeks later with their works. Art is super cool… I’m just a boring Law/ Business student and my creativity has been slowly killed as I’ve progressed through my degrees (just kidding but Law is veeeeery dry).
And that was our day! Yes we did all of this in one day and even finished in time to get back to our Airbnb and have an early night. While we did use public transport to get into the city we walked everywhere throughout the day. We found we saw a lot while walking too but if you do want to use public transport to get around maybe consider using the buses so you are still above ground. The tube isn’t particularly scenic.
The only thing we used our London Pass for this day was the Banqueting Hall which we actually stumbled across looking for the Cavalry Museum.
Thanks for reading!