Eye spy with the London Eye, something beginning with C. Wrong. It’s the Capital and we are in it, jolly old London town. When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, that’s what they say. There is plenty to do so it should take you a long time before that happens.
We felt a London city break calling again and no matter how many days we have, it never seems to be enough. So while there will be unplanned wanders (i.e. lost) around the mean streets as we moan about how tired our feet are, we’ve actually planned ahead this time for a two night stay in the big smoke.
Relative strangers to the nightmare that is public transport, we’ve deposited ourselves by train and tube to stay in Southwark on the south side near Borough Market, mainly for the view of the city by the Thames at night. Not that we managed to stay up late for photos, we were too busy being tired and moaning how achy our feet were.
From our trip this weekend, we’ve selected the best views in London you must see.
The Houses of Parliament
The latest stop on our London trip sees us inside one of Britain’s most iconic and historic buildings, seat of power, the establishment and where rich people keep telling poor people to be poor, we are at Westminster Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament for an audio tour. Outside, I’m surprised not to see Theresa May doing one of many u-turns. This is my chance to get in power, to rule and govern in away that only a man hell bent on word domination can!
At the entry gate during a thorough search, I forgo the need to remind anyone that at least Guy Fawkes entered parliament with honesty.
Our audio tour starts in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the building and one of only two places where we are allowed to take photographs. Following in to St Stepehen’s Hall, we view magnificent paintings from British history and stained glass windows.
Cameras need to be put away at after this point, no more photos from the Central Lobby onward which is a pity because there is some stunning architecture and art. But at least we do get to go through the entire building including the Royal Gallery, the Queen’s Robing Room, the House of Lords, Members Lobby and finally the House of Commons.
The House of Commons is much smaller than we expected, but apparently this leads to a more intimate atmosphere. We’re not allowed to sit on the green leather seats, or in fact, allowed to sit down almost anywhere on the entire tour. A thousand years of history and politics is well worth your time and a must see. We both really enjoyed this and recommend you book ahead, tours are available most Saturdays. You can get a free tour through your MP if you like.
The London Eye
After a horrendous forced queue policy with our expensive, overpriced pre-booked tickets, we eventually make it in to one of the capsules on the 135 metre high Eye. I must admit, I was put off by the god awful long queue and I moaned all the way round, it’s what I’m good at. It turns out that pre-booked or timed ticket does not avoid you having to join that dragging snake like queue on the south bank of the Thames. I’d always seen this as a tourist trap before and wondered why this was voted one of the world’s best tourist attractions. Let’s not forget that London and the UK are not cheap.
The wheel takes around 30 minutes to cycle round and you get a great 360° of the city with views of the Shard, Big Ben and Westminster Palace, and the Walkie Talkie building (where we desperately tried to get tickets for the Sky Garden). The downside to the capsule is all the smudgy marks on the windows from the billions that were in the pod before you.
The Great Fire of London in 1666 that started in a bakers in Pudding Lane changed the face of the city. The Monument to the great fire of London was designed by Christopher Wren and is 202 feet high, equal to the distance westward where the fire started.
You can climb to the top of the column if you are prepared to sweat and huff your up the 311 steps to the top. For your efforts, and it is an effort, you will be rewarded with superb views and a certificate for the climb. We sounded like Darth Vader going up those bloody steps, breathing heavily and sweating like an Olympic runner.
Tower Bridge, often mistaken for the rather bland London Bridge gives commanding view of the River Thames. Even better is the glass walkway between the two towers that you can walk over for a unique view of the the foot and vehicle traffic crossing the bridge.
Note to self: bad husband must not make poor wife who doesn’t like heights, walk on the glass walkway, or jump on it and laugh like a little kid. Sorry babe.
The Grant Museum of Zoology
An honorary mention must go to the Grant Museum of Zoology, or weird things in jars as we called it, which we also visited. It is a view of bizarre jars and slides of specimens, sliced, diced and bisected. A jar of moles anyone? Bisected Monkey head? You can read more about our visit to the Grant Museum of Zoology here.
So, what do you think about our best views in London you must see, did we get them right?
Read about our earlier trips to London: