Touring around London was fabulous! What a beautiful, clean City. But just like every other City in the world, it was crowded; and it being the Christmas Season, I’m sure brought more people out and about. I spent the entire day walking the City. I started at about 10 in the morning and it was dark before I called it a day.
There was so much to see, my first picture of the day was of a sea-gull sitting on the railing outside the train station.
I walked across the bridge over the Thames and marveled at the sight of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.
The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants, the Palace lies on the bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London. Its name, which derives from the neighboring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex that was destroyed by fire in 1834, and its replacement New Palace that stands today. For ceremonial purposes, the palace retains its original style and status as a royal residence.
Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower. The tower is now officially called the Elizabeth Tower, after being renamed in 2012 (from “Clock Tower”) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England.
I passed the London Eye.
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is also known as the Millennium Wheel. The entire structure is 135 meters (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters (394 ft). It is currently Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.5 million visitors annually.
The next stop was Westminster Abbey. Unbelievable! Gorgeous! Breathtaking! I can’t begin to describe how fabulous Westminster Abbey is. I’ve seen many cathedrals in Europe, but I have to say Westminster Abbey is the most impressively beautiful cathedral I have visited so far.
There has been a place of worship on this site for well over a thousand years, and every monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066, bar two, have been crowned under its roof in an elaborate ceremony that is steeped in history and tradition. Westminster Abbey, or to call it by its correct name, The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, is unusual amongst churches in England in being a ‘Royal Peculiar’. This means it is under the jurisdiction of the crown and not within any diocese. This was an extremely important privilege in the Middle Ages as it gave the Abbey full control over its finances and day-to-day running and it soon grew into one of the wealthiest religious houses in the country. Westminster Abbey has survived them all. It’s an architectural masterpiece of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries and contains countless memorials and effigies to the famous and great of this nation. Over three thousand people are either buried or memorialized in Westminster Abbey from Medieval Kings and their Queens, to the tomb of the Unknown Warrior, which in recent times has become a place of pilgrimage.
After having a cappuccino in the café in Westminster Abbey, I walked out into Parliament Square. Much to my surprise there was a large statue of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President standing right in front of Middlesex Guildhall. This statue is an exact replica of the statue of standing in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. The square is home to ten statues of British and foreign statesmen; Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandella among others.
Then I walked down the main road to Horse Guards. Horse Guards is a large building in the Palladian style between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade in London. The first Horse Guards building was built on the site of the former tiltyard of Westminster Palace in 1664. I was very lucky because I actually arrived in time to see the changing of the Guard.
Next Post – More of London