London – Sky Garden

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So we’ve spent the last few weekends in London so I have a few more posts to write.  In particular order, I will just cover a little of what we have done as we’ve had some enjoyable experiences.

Yesterday, we went to 20 Fenchurch Street, the official name of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.

We’ve admired this building all year and I think I can say its my favorite modern building in the city.  Growing in popularity is the 3 story Sky garden at the top of the building – floor 35.   I have tried to get tickets in the past but they go quickly.  This time, luck was on my side.  With friends visiting from America, I checked in at Sky Garden website (here) 3 weeks prior to their trip to see tickets available.   The website has a 3 week leadtime for booking so sometimes can be tricky to plan.   I managed to snag the tickets we needed so I was thrilled.  It has been on my London ‘must do’ list for some time.

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View up 20 Fenchurch Street

It’s easy to find and easy to access.  Security was swift and efficient and in no time, we were on the 35th floor looking out over London.  Note – the views are great!  And when you compare to the London Eye (£25) and the Shard (££), considering this is FREE, its probably all you need.  In fact, I would even argue it was better than the Eye.

I loved the view of the Tower of London….a favorite place of mine and new vantage point.

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Tower of London

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St Pauls, BT Tower, City of London

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West London

The gardens are mostly green but lush and nice to wander around.

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View from Garden overlooking main cafe/ vista

 

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The Tower boasts a couple of cafes and a restaurant.  We sat in the window with afternoon tea jut taking in the view.  It was perfect.  And because they limit the numbers up there, its not crowded and has a lovely spacious feel.

If you’ve not done it already, plan ahead and visit the Walkie Talkie!

London -Tower, London Eye and Southbank

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We have had a visitor from the USA for 12 days so we spent a few days in London.  There is so much to see and do in London that we did a mix of classic tourist things but also some more off the beaten track/ more unusual attractions.   As the time spent in London was with 2 teens, I geared the days to their age group.

For day one, we opted for classic London.  It was also the best weather forecast for the next 3 days so working with that, we went for mostly outdoors attractions.

So as soon as we departed Heathrow airport, we ventured into the city.   First stop, the Tower of London.

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Tower of London

I LOVE the Tower.  Perhaps its because I have vivid memories of visiting with my mother as a child.  Even as a child, the history of the Tower was fascinating and still today, I could listen to the stories all day.

As we traveled into London by train, I had picked up a leaflet of 2 for 1 offers at the station (only valid with a rail ticket).  I highly recommend this as it has 2 for 1 offers for a lot of major London attractions.  With this, I was able to get one free entry to the Tower!

We started with a Yeoman tour.  I recommend this as it give a great overview of the Tower and also more of the history.  There may be an audio tour too but i don’t recall seeing this…perhaps worth checking out if you visit.  Anyway, the Yeoman tour was perfect.   Right length and level of content and also filled with humour.  Yeomans – What a job and also the option of living in the grounds of the Tower…not sure I would be brave enough, with all that grisly history, but they do!

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Yeoman tour

 

We exhausted all that there was to do at the Tower, grounds, Ravens, Chapel, Torture chambers, Crown Jewels and of course afternoon Tea!   The sun was out  and as much of the beauty of this iconic London Landmark is outdoors, it was great to spend the time outside.   Also – make sure you visit the actual beheading site of days past.  Just across the road in some gardens.  History all around!

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Gardens and memorials across from the Tower

On leaving the Tower, we wandered down towards St Katherines Docks.  Lovely and peaceful and not many folks exploring this area.  My brother has docked here in the past and they thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of staying in the heart of London.  I can imagine that in peak summer, it would be buzzing.  After a brief walk back along the River Thames and enjoying the view of Tower Bridge, we were ready for our next adventure!

We hopped on a tube and headed down to the London Eye.  Alighting at Westminster, as soon as you leave the station exit, you have an amazing view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.  Another iconic landmark to show to our visitor.   I absolutely love this area of London too.  The architecture is amazing and again, steeped in history.    So we headed over the bridge to the London Eye.   A must for the teens so I was happy to go along for the ride despite having done it before.

Again, we had a 2 for 1 voucher with the train ticket but we also have been collecting the Kelloggs coupons on cereal boxes – adults go free.   Yes – this also applies to the London Eye!  So i used the free adult voucher from Kelloggs and saved a swift £25!   So the Eye is the Eye.  Its fun and almost obligatory for any visitor to London now.  The teens enjoyed it and it was another attraction for our visitor to cross of her list.    My teen had done the 4D experience (indoors) prior and said it wasn’t really worth it, so we opted to skip this.

Views from the London Eye…

So most of the day was done but were looking for somewhere to eat.  We headed along towards Southbank area.  I am not familiar with this area of London at all and became pleasantly surprised with what we found.   As the weather had been nice, there were tons of riverside bars and eateries offering al fresco dining and drinks and the atmosphere was great for a midweek Spring night.  We opted for Wagamamas as it it lively and fun for the younger crowd.   Noodles had by all!

The walk back to Embankment tube (on the opposite side of the river) was lovely.  We got to cross one of the Golden Jubilee bridges and as it was all lit up for the night, it made for a pretty walk after a long day.

We covered all of the above in about 9 hours so a long day and our traveler was tired so we headed back to base for the night!