London Log: Day 5 - Shakespeare's Globe, Buckingham Palace, Bus Tour Traffic, Imperial War Museum, and London Eye
We had planned to go and validate our Golden Tours Hop On Hop Off bus ticket at the main office that was only a five minute walk from our hotel room and on the way to the Tube Station, but we had no time! We quickly got ready and caught the 8:37 Tube to Shakespeare's Globe on the Thames. We got there at 9:15, and the first tour did not start until 9:30. We had just hoped to look at the exhibition before the tour, but that was OK since we did the City Cruise on Wednesday instead of Thursday so we had some "wiggle room"!
We had a fabulous tour from a super enthusiastic young woman. We learned all about the Globe. It is not the original one but something as close to what they can conclude it looked like. The Brits did not see any need to rebuild it, and it took an American, Sam Wanamaker, and many years to make it happen! That story and the history of Shakespeare's time in London was great.
After this, we rushed off by Tube to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Of course the majority of tourists in London had the same idea! It was still exciting to see it live though!
Then we walked over to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace (the State Rooms opened the day after we left - shucks!) because they were displaying her collection of Scottish artists, and I am Scottish! Queen Victoria and Prince Albert certainly gave each other many paintings. :)
One thing that was GREAT was that on the way to the Gallery, there was a man from Golden Tours who was issuing tickets! That is not one of their stops that they list as issuing them, but he did. So, it didn't matter that we slept in and didn't validate them in the early morning! Yahoo!
After the Queen's Gallery, we went to the Royal Mews. This is where they keep all the horses, carriages, and cars they use for official royal things. Some of those carriages were amazing! It was a quick tour but very interesting!
We wanted to take the Blue Line tour but had a bit of a wait so decided to get our lunch and eat it as we waited. I had the Chicken and Mushroom pie with chips and George had Fish and Chips (trying to eat British!).
We had an excellent live tour guide for the Golden Tours Hop on Hop Off Tour. We had walked through many of those places, but it was nice to review them and see them from so high up. He had so many interesting things to add that we did not know. It was well worth it. Our only regret is that he warned us that the traffic in Southwark and approaching the Tower Bridge is usually really bad. He made a suggestion about where to get off to avoid this, and we did not heed it. We got caught in a terrible jam. Finally, he told us we could get off even if it was not an official stop. We walked to the next stop for the Orange line to take us to the Imperial War Museum, but we wait for an hour, and the bus never came (probably due to the horrible traffic coming over the bridge the other way). We should have not waited so long because we lost all of our "wiggle room"! So we dashed off to the Imperial War Museum on foot (not a really good direct Tube line), and we only had an hour to explore this excellent museum! Sadly, I thought they would not let us in past 5 pm so we worked up a sweat running, and I was mad that we waited so long at the bus stop before acting (another couple got off the Golden Tours bus 15 minutes after us and waited at the same stop but left 15 minutes before us - we just kept hoping).
The Imperial War Museum is an in-depth look at World Wars I and II. We spent most of our time in World War I because much of World War II was covered in the Churchill War Rooms the day before. We probably could have spent 1 1/2 hours there, but we had enough time to see everything.
After this, we had a leisurely walk down toward the London Eye for our "Champagne Experience" for our 26th wedding anniversary. On the way, we stopped at a lovely Italian Restaurant. We told him we had limited time, and he was so quick! I especially liked that the restaurant was fully air-conditioned which was not the case in many places. After this we went to the London Eye. Since we paid more, they ushered us up to a nice little waiting room with comfortable couches. Then our guide brought us down to the Eye and past all the lines to our "bubble". There was quite a few people, eighteen to be exact, but it was nice to drink champagne and enjoy the skyline. There was no sunset due to the clouds, but it was still a very clear day. Some of the American boys were a bit immature, but they were nice.
After this, we walked along the Thames and went beyond Westminster Bridge where there are no tourists.
(I haven't post processed this, but I will put it up anyway to give a mood picture!)
It was a lovely walk home through the quieter part of London south of our hotel. We stopped at the Sainsbury Local for treats (ice cream for me and chocolate bar for George).
We only walked 7.8 miles this day with additional walking through the Globe, Buckingham Palace's Gallery and Mews, and Imperial War Museum.