Friday

London.....

This is the first of several recaps from our honeymoon. The hope is that one could use the recaps for a successful four-six day trip to see the city, and surrounding areas! As those who follow the blog know, C and I love traveling (both domestically and internationally) and hope our travels inspire others to see the world... 

For this trip we used airline miles and were able to fly Business class on Lufthansa airlines. I honestly have to share it is my favorite airline! They are first class all the way, and their business class offers beds, a full course meal, wine, etc.. 

We stayed at Hotel Ashburn. It was a great location and off Gloucester Road stop on the Tube, which is on the District, Circle and Piccadilly Line.  We bought a 7 day travel pass for the tube (much cheaper than an oyster card, and still good for use on all lines zones 1-6). I would highly recommend both the hotel, and weekly pass!!! We also purchased the London pass for this trip (as we made our money back and then some by visiting many of the museums and tourist shops) For this trip we reached out to three of my sorority sisters (2 who live in England, and 1 who frequents nearly ever year) to ensure we maximized our time in the city.. 



We arrived at Heathrow, and immigration was a breeze, we then grabbed our bags (1st of the carousel, and headed to our car. One of the amenities that Hotel Ashburn offers  is car service. Totally worth the 50 quid, if you ask me. They scooped us up with our luggage, navigated traffic (on the other side of the road) and dropped us at our hotel. We stored our luggage, used the loo, and were on our way.. 
Up first Westminster Abby and Parliament. from the hotel we took the District line to Westminster. (you can also take the circle line)We walked past Parliament Square and the statue of Winston Churchill.  (fun fact he is a heated statues so pigeon droppings don’t mar his head) We also went to St. Margaret’s church (see photo above) which is just past the Parliament buildings. This is where Diana’s parents were married and Churchill was married.  We also went to Westminster Hall and the Parliament Buildings to the side of the Abbey.

Westminster Abbey was great (it is open until 6) Things not miss Poet’s Corner, Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, and the high altar.  Also we had fun just checking out the windows. The chapel had a cute gift so we popped in to warm up, and were on our way.. 
We then headed to Westminster Bridge. Where we took some great pictures of Big Ben and Parliament. Fun facts: The clock tower is 316 feet, (which is now called the Elizabeth Tower) It was completed in 1859, and while called Big Ben, Big Ben is the bell.  There is a light is lit when Parliament is in session. (which it was when we visited) On the other side of the bridge you can see the London eye (below) We opt'd not to spend the $100+ to go up, as while there are amazing views, I am not fond of heights.. (& would rather spend money on other things)
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From here we went to Trafalgar Square. Below photos are of the famous lion fountains, columns. We also visited the National Gallery which is at the top of the square.  (also closes at 6pm) Sad for us many of the exhibits were closed due to strikes (I swear this is the National past time in Europe) We were able to see some Monet, Matisse, and others before leaving and heading to the National Portrait Gallery. We checked out Kate's Portrait and of course William & Harry's (thought I must say I was disappointed in Kate's- it made her look old)
 The first day we called it a night early (as we were a bit jet lagged) Not exciting, but we just grabbed a "Hot Pot" (soup) from EAT (a local grab & go with decent food) and stopped at the local Waitrose (less than a block from our hotel) for bread, drinks, etc..


Fun facts: (from my friend Judy) Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. It is in the borough of the City of Westminster. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year's Eve.

The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. The original name was to have been "King William the Fourth's Square", but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name "Trafalgar Square".[1]

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