A weekend in London: Day 2

Big Ben

Big Ben in London

To see the YouTube video of our second day in London, please click here.

Day two in London was a busy day for us. London is famous for its shows on the West End and we wanted to see one. We’ve read that discount tickets are available at Leicester Square the day of a show, so we hopped on the tube at Tower Hill and rode to the Embankment stop. From there we were hoping to take a Northern line train to Leicester Square but that line was shut down for repairs so we walked the remaining distance. It’s recommended that you arrive at the square an hour early before the ticket sales start, in order to avoid long lines. We arrived early and only had to wait in line a few minutes to buy tickets to Wicked playing at the Apollo Victoria Theater. The tickets weren’t discounted for this show but we bought them anyway. Show time was a matinée at 2:30 PM so we had time to spare before the show. We decided we would meander our way toward the theater taking in the sights along the way.

Fairly close to Leicester Square is Trafalgar Square featuring the world’s biggest Corinthian column with a statue of Admiral Nelson on top. Nelson is credited with helping facilitate the defeat of Napoleon in 1805. Numerous water fountains adorn the square and it’s a natural gathering place for tourists.

Leaving Trafalgar Square we walked down Whitehall Street and stumbled on to the changing of the Royal Horse Guards. We spent an hour here watching beautiful horses and elaborately clad guards execute the horse guard exchange from Buckingham Palace.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

From there we walked past 10 Downing Street and the next stop was at Westminster Abbey. What a beautiful church! Admission cost is 18 pounds per person but well worth it. Be sure to use one of the audio aids when touring the church for information on its rich history. There is no photography allowed in the Abbey so stash your camera and soak in the history.

Westminster Abbey features:

  • Tomb of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary I.
  • Tomb of Edward the Confessor.
  • Chapel of King Henry VII.
  • The Royal Air Force Chapel.
  • Tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • The Coronation Chair.
  • Poets’ Corner where England’s greatest writers are honored with plaques and monuments. Note: Few are actually buried here. Chaucer, Lord Byron, Dylan Thomas, Lewis Carroll, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Handel, and Charles Dickens just to mention a few are all commemorated here in some way.
  • The Coronation Spot before the high altar where every coronation since 1066 has taken place.
  • The Nave – Near the west entrance on the floor is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Lettering on the tomb is from melted down weapons from the war.

Leaving the tour you come upon the souvenir shop which is a good place to pick up some gifts for family and friends.

Outside the Abbey is Parliament Square and across the street is Big Ben, Westminster Hall, and the Houses of Parliament. This is a great photo taking area.

From the Abbey we started down Victoria Street towards the theatre. We stopped at Pizza Express and had a late lunch before continuing on.

Inside the Apollo Victoria Theatre you can buy snacks and a drink in preparation for the show. The theater does have restrooms but be prepared for long lines (especially the women’s) if you need a restroom break. The production was tremendous. Great acting, singing, and costumes make it well worth the 65 pounds per ticket we paid to see the show. The storyline is a whole different take on the Wizard of Oz story but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The show length was around 3 hours and good luck with the lines if you need a restroom break.

After the show we walked back up Victoria Street to the Westminster Pier and took one of the Golden Tour boats for a ride up the Thames to the Tower Hill stop near our hotel. The boat ride cost around 20 pounds each and is a great way to see a different perspective of the city from the water, especially of the Tower Bridge.

Arriving at the Tower Hill stop we exited the boat and took a stroll along the promenade on the Thames before eating fish and chips at one of the shops at the Tower Hill plaza.

Whew! What a day. By the time we ate the fish and chips it was completely dark and we were both exhausted after an extremely enjoyable day.

Two Digital Gypsies Rating – 5 Stars