London – Day 7 – The Final Day

For days 1-6 of our London excursion, see the page London and Paris.

Bus tours, a river tour, and some good old fashioned walking have led us to many of the most famous parts of London, so on Day 7 we wanted to just kind of take it easy (yeah right).

Day 7 – London – 4/6/2016

What better way to start the day than picking up on our river-walk down the Victoria Embankment.  This is the day that will probably be remembered by Brittany and I as the day that was warm…then it rained and got warmer…then it rained and got colder…then got warm…then cold…and so on and so forth…

We started the day off by seeing a mounted trooper of the Household Cavalry on duty at Horse Guards (the formal entrance to St. Jame’s Palace – a palace built by Henry VIII near the future location of Buckingham Palace).


And then we just strolled around for a while.  The next photo is included because it shows off the very unique (and distinct) architecture found throughout much of London.  Large, ornate building…small, ornate building…plain building…small, ornate…and so on…


And once again back on the Victoria Embankment walk, we entered the City of London (facing the dragon means entering the city).


We eventually made it (through rain, rain, sun, and more rain) to a spot our tour bus guide had pointed out…the City of London School.  Established in 1843 (though its roots go back as far as 1444), it was moved to its current location in 1986.  The school has produced many exceptional people like writer Jonathan Keates and actor Daniel Radcliffe.  There are four statues on the front of the building emphasizing the schools literary and scientific traditions.


William Shakespeare, of course…English poet and playwright…


John Milton…English poet, polemicist (nicely…someone who likes to debate), and man of letters…


Sir Isaac Newton…English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian…


And BACON!!!  I mean…Sir Francis Bacon…English philosopher and statesman…


Apparently Sir Thomas More…English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist…is all alone on the other side of the building, but we didn’t see him…

And with their powers combined they can summon Captain Planet! (Maybe a little G.I. Joe reference would have been better here since “Now I now!” about these guys, “And knowing is half the battle!”….oh, and since “Knowledge is power” is actually a Francis Bacon quote…well, now you know, and knowing is half the battle…G.I. Joe…okay, I’m done…)

Well after all that…whatever that was…we kept going following the Thames until it led us to The Black Friar pub.  According to their website, “Our historic Art Nouveau masterpiece of a pub was built in 1905 on the site of a Dominican friary. The building was designed by architect H. Fuller-Clark and artist Henry Poole, both committed to the free-thinking of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Jolly friars appear everywhere in the pub in sculptures, mosaics and reliefs.”


And just one of the jolly friars previously mentioned…


With a few more on the inside…


And a couple of pints to go with them…


After our drinks, we stepped into the blistery wind and tried to figure out what to do next.  Why didn’t we do that from inside the pub you ask?  No idea…no idea.  Anyway, we decided to head to another museum that was in the area.

Right outside of The Black Friar, I saw this sign…no significance…just thought it was funny and wanted to share…


Our journey took us back near St. Paul’s Cathedral…this time near the south façade.


Museum of London

And our destination…the Museum of London…

The Museum of London is a history museum located on the London Wall.  (The London Wall was the defensive wall first built by the Romans around Londinium {London}.  There are now just a few remains of the wall around the city.)  The museum documents the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. (Wikipedia)


The museum was FULL of students who all seemed to be either diligently working on assignments or just hanging out…both of which involved clumping in large groups in narrow hallways.  It was rather difficult to navigate through the bottlenecks this created.

The museum did have a few really interesting items, though.  This next photo overlooks the London Wall, but it is situated in a floor made to look like Victorian London…very fun to walk through.


The placard with this book lists it as “The Works of Goffray (Geoffrey) Chaucer newlye printed by Richard Grafton in 1542.”


And this is a Peter Pan costume from 1911. The placard reads “This costume was worn by Pauline Chase who played the lead role in Peter Pan in 1911.  The play was first performed in 1904.  It was an immediate hit, returning to the West End every Christmas season.”


Beatles dress, 1964  “Worn by Pauline Richey when selling programs at the premiere of the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night at the London Pavilion in 1964.”


The Lord Mayor’s State Coach.  Built in 1757 for the Lord Mayor’s procession, and it has been used ever since.


And finally, a special exhibit dedicated to the 2012 London Olympics.  This piece is called the Cauldron and was the centerpiece of the London Games.


The cauldron room was pretty dark so we had some fun with the camera…


…and more fun taking pictures of the cauldron on different settings…


Outside of the museum, it was hard to pass up such an interesting insignia of the city…


And here we have the previously mentioned remains of the London Wall…


For Brittany and I, having just come from Italy (and Rome itself), seeing remnants of just how far Roman rule spread was astounding…we were able to see this same kind of thing in Paris as well, but we’ll get to that.

Leaving the museum, we were once again burdened with the fact that we had no more plan.  However, there was something we had both talked about making sure to see.  So we found the Leadenhall Market on our map app and stated that way…(aka…we wandered around lost…which is cool…(because Elijah doesn’t like to follow my directions))

We randomly stumbled upon this sculpture called The City Wing.  We didn’t really stop too long to admire it, but I thought it was really amazing.  According to, the sculpture “stands at the eastern entrance to Threadneedle Walk at its junction with Old Broad Street.”  The 33 foot tall statue “represents the wing of a bird.”


Leadenhall Market “is one of the oldest markets in London, dating from the 14th century, and is located on what was the center of Roman London.  The ornate roof structure and cobbled floors of the current structure, designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones, make Leadenhall Market a tourist attraction.” (Wikipedia)


Now, the market is extremely beautiful…


…and quite ornate…


…it even has a few dragons hanging about…


…But the real reason we wanted to see Leadenhall Market?  It was used as The Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.


A shop now used by an optometrist just outside of the market served as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.


I gave it two thumbs up…


And then we were off again.  This time we headed to the infamous Pudding Lane.  Why Pudding Lane?  Well, according to our tour guide, the Great Fire of London in 1666 started in a bakery, Thomas Farriner’s, on Pudding Lane.  The Great Fire of London “consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul’s Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants.” (Wikipedia)

Monument to the Great Fire of London (or more commonly called the Monument)

Constructed between 1671 and 1677, the Monument is a 202 foot tall column commemorating the fire.  It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and stands 202 feet from where the fire originally started.  It is topped with a gilded urn of fire.


Our path started developing in our wanderings, mainly one that would lead us near an Underground station to get home later in the night.

We walked by St. Magnus the Martyr, which is a church near the Monument.  The original church was destroyed by the fire of 1666, but (surprise) Sir Christoper Wren built its replacement.  Our bus tour guide said that this was the most haunted church in London.


Our walk also led us to All Hallows-by-the-Tower.  “Founded in 675, it is one of the oldest churches in London, and contains inside a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon arch with recycled Roman tiles, the oldest surviving piece of church fabric in the city.  John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, was married in this church (it is the only marriage of a U.S. President that occurred on foreign soil).” (Wikipedia)


And though I’m planning a post dedicated to nothing but the gargoyles and interesting statues seen on this trip, I couldn’t resist showing a few from All Hallows-by-the-Tower…


Brittany standing by All Hallows-by-the-Tower looking…cool…and as she puts it “like a Spice Girl”…



Near the Tower of London we found a shop that sold stamps.  So we let our postcards fly…


Note: As of April 21st, the day I’m actually writing this post, which is 15 days after this photo was taken…only one postcard has been received…sigh…

And since I’m taking a break to talk about the actual date…Happy 90th Birthday to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II!!!

We stopped at the Starbucks (as seen in the postcard photo) to warm up and take a bathroom break…I was not amused…


And by the time we were finished, the sun was down allowing us to get some pictures of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London at night.

Tower Bridge…


Tower of London (with the Shard in the background on the left and the Cheese Grater in the background on the right)…


Tower of London with the Tower Bridge…


We took the Underground from Tower Hill to Embankment so that we could get one last good look at the city.

London at night from the Golden Jubilee bridge looking east…


The London Eye with a nearby carousel…


Well, that completes our seven days in London.  While we didn’t get to see everything (Cardiff, Liverpool, Greenwich, Stratford-upon-Avon, just to name a few), we saw enough to wet our appetites.  London is a beautiful city with plenty of things to keep a person busy.  It’s simultaneously antique and modern in a way that is somehow seamlessly blended.  Hopefully, one day, we’ll get the opportunity to return.

Thanks for going on part 1 of this adventure with us.  We hope to see you in part 2, which is the Paris portion of the trip.  We’ll delve into landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, Notre Dame, the Catacombs of Paris, Versailles, and plenty more…

For more information about our trip, please see the page London and Paris.


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