Here is the third instalment of my itinerary for tourists visiting London.
If you have not yet read my previous article, please check it out!
The second day
The British Museum
The second day starts with the British Museum.
This is the one tourist destinations that cannot be missed when sightseeing in London; but with the number of exhibits numbered at around eight million it’s obviously not possible to see everything. So it is a good idea to narrow down what you really DO want to see in advance; check the locations on the guide map in the hall, and then find and appreciate things one at a time.
Many of the exhibits were taken out of the various colonies under British dominion during the days of the British Empire, and the museum is therefore sometimes ridiculed with nicknames such as the “Thief Museum” or “Robbery Museum”.
However, there is no other place to see so many precious items in one place, gathered from all over the world.
Admission is free, so it is one of the most popular attractions for tourists.
|Location (Google Maps)||Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG|
A Pub Lunch…
Let’s have a spot of lunch around Tower Hill, the nearest tube station to the Tower of London – which is our next tourist destination.
Option 1 – The Liberty Bounds
There are several restaurants and pubs around Tower Hill Station, but the closest is The Liberty Bounds managed by Wetherspoon – a pub chain with more than 900 locations all around the UK.
Depending on where you are, the price is usually quite reasonable, which is always a consideration in an expensive place like London!
Option 2 – The Hung, Drawn, and Quartered
Another pub, The Hung, Drawn, and Quartered, is about a three-minute walk away.
It’s actually named after the horrifying method of execution reserved for traitors back in the old days. The nearby Tower of London of course also has a bloody history. The name certainly reflects the notorious British penchant for black humour!
For more detail about this excellent pub, see my blog “Best historic pubs in London you must visit – Part 2”
The name might be somewhat macabre, but the food is just ordinary pub fare. They offer a selection of different types of ale with pies to accompany them, which can be shared between two people.
A very good beer to try is called “London Pride”. Made at a brewery called Fuller’s in Chiswick, West London, and it has a good balance of aroma and bitterness and is easy to drink. [Fullers is now owned by the Japanese international beverage giant Asahi.]
From the British Museum, take the <Northern line> at Tottenham Court Road → change to the <District line and Circle line> at Embankment → get off at Tower Hill
Tower of London
The Tower is a castle built over time after 1066 to defend London.
The King lived there for several generations, and it has also been used at various times as an observatory, a mint, a bank, and even a royal zoo.
There are many museums and exhibition rooms inside, so it’s a good idea to allow at least two hours for looking around. The biggest highlight is the world’s largest diamond, the “Cullinan”. The size of the raw stone was a whopping 3,106 carats, but it was cut into several pieces, the largest of which was fitted into the Queen’s sceptre as “Cullinan I” – the Great Star of Africa. The second-largest stone went into the Royal crown as “Cullinan II”.
You can see it in the exhibition room that houses the Crown Jewels. This tends to get very crowded, so we recommend that you visit this exhibit first. Photography is prohibited inside this exhibition room.
|Location (Google Maps)||St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB|
The Tower is about a five minute walk from Tower Hill tube station.
Tower Bridge over the River Thames is an icon of London. Famously, the centre section can be raised to allow tall ships to pass through.
The upper part is an observation space, but we will not go there this time because it is a bit too far from the Tower of London. The riverside terrace of the Tower is the best spot to take pictures of the bridge.
People often mistakenly think of it as “London Bridge” which is famous for the song “London Bridge Is Falling Down ♪”.
The much more a plain and sober London Bridge is actually further upstream. It’s a fairly modern construction. The old London Bridge was bought in the 1960s by a rich American, who paid millions of dollars for it! It was taken to pieces stone by stone, shipped out to Arizona, and reassembled. It was said that the rich American was very disappointed when he saw it all put back together again; he too – according to legend – had confused it with the much more well-known Tower Bridge!
|Location (Google Maps)||Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP|
St. Paul’s Cathedral
While Westminster Abbey is a “royal temple,” St. Paul’s Cathedral has long been loved by Londoners as their very own place of worship.
The funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana were held in St Paul’s.
The original St.Paul’s was destroyed in the Great Fire of London  but rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. The Cathedral stood alone during the blitz in 1940 in World War II as all of London burned around it. It still stands today as a symbol of the resilience of London and the Londoners.
It is worth paying the admission fee because there are many attractions such as the huge dome, the ‘whispering gallery’, a ceiling with golden decorations, an observatory, and the crypt. (If you do, you’ll need to adjust the rest of this itinerary accordingly. It will take about one to two hours.)
|Location (Google Maps)||St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD|
Again, space precludes me from introducing more fascinating places here, but there are quite a few more that I’d really like to recommend; so ‘stay tuned’ for Part 4!