While I’ve visited UK a few years back, I’ve seen just London’s skyline from afar back then. Visiting special concert by Devin Townsend held at Royal Albert Hall in April, the time was right to visit the capital as well. On budget and tight schedule, we had to skip a few things we’d like to visit but that’s OK. We’ll be back for sure.
We stayed at YHA St. Pancarass hostel, just a short walk from King’s Cross tube station; and while this station is one of the major line crossings, the whole London was in our reach within minutes (or at least the central part). If you are first time visitor to London, then I cannot recommend enough the Free Guided Tour provided by http://www.weareundiscovered.com/london/. In 2 hours you will visit all the major attractions of central London and the nice guides will take you through history and anecdotes of the people and buildings that were born, lived and died there. Donations are encouraged at the end of the tour and the guides more than deserve them!
The meeting point is Green Park, just outside of Green Park tube station and the first stop of the tour is the Buckingham palace.
Victoria Memorial – a monument dedicated to Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace.
The usual crowds behind the Buckingham palace – yes, behind – that’s the rear entrance to the palace.
Just in time for the change of guard.
Golden Gates of Buckingham Palace.
Blooming flowers in front of Victoria Memorial and Buckingham palace
A squad of Royal Guards marching down the Mall.
Horse Guards Parade – this used to be a parking lot until IRA parked a van here and fire a projectile at PM’s house on 10 Downing street, which is located to the right of this photo.
WW2 Admiralty Citadel – engulfed in vines, it was nicely masked against the German bomber attacks. The building is still being used by the Ministry of Defence.
We caught some special ceremony at Horse Guards parade which included veterans as well as Royal Guards and Scottish foot regiment.
Admiral Nelson watching over London over Trafalgar Square.
Royal Horse Guard
The famed Downing Street – now closed off to public with heavy gates and security forces.
Houses of Parliament with Elizabeth tower
Houses of Parliaments from the other side
A Scott playing the bagpipes on Trafalgar Square and trying to make enough money for a wedding ring.
National Gallery on the other side of the Trafalgar Square was teaming with tourists…
Where there are tourists, there are street performers. A couple of Yoda’s were floating in the air in front of the National Gallery. He seems quite tall, don’t you think?
On the last day, we were a bit short on time and the weather wasn’t really cooperating. It was dry but overcast and the vivid spring colours just disappeared. So we took a ride of Emirates Air Line – a cable car connection over the Thames river, located at the O2 Arena, near Greenwhich.
Thames Flood Barrier – the barrier can be raised in the case of exceptionally high tide or storm surges to prevent flooding.
The Crystal – Siemens sponsored energy-efficient building which houses interactive exhibits on the future of human living.