Last weekend, I took a day trip into London to see some of the tourist sites before the massive amount of Olympic fans invade. One of the sites we hit up was the London Tower Bridge (often mistaken for the London Bridge that is falling down in the oh-so-famous song). When taking pictures from the actual bridge, we came across a museum located on the top walkway. The tickets were pretty cheap courtesy of my Oxford Student ID, only 5.80 GBP. I learned all sorts of historical tidbits about the bridge like that it was built in 1897 after a competition of “who can make the best design” and prior to this, there was only ONE way to cross the Thames River. Also, during the WWII German Blitzkrieg (air raids) of London, the bridge was NOT bombed. Instead, the Germans used it as landmark for navigation. And the last tidbit of historical bridge nonsense… it’s all dressed up and ready to go for the Olympics! Check out the rings!
We found another great way to see the city (and avoid the Tube with crazy weekend routes/construction) by taking the boat from the Tower of London to Westminster. It wasn’t too expensive, especially with a Oyster Card discount (the Tube card), and the workers on the boat provide you with a mini tour of what you are seeing. Not a bad way to travel and no one gets lost in the Tube maze! Check out the picture below and notice that under the Tower of London it says: Entry to the Traitors’ Gate in the bottom left. A nice welcome to those who were about to be imprisoned or beheaded in the Tower! Some famous people who have been killed there are a whose who of 16th century British History: Henry VIII’s 2nd and 5th wives – Anne Boleyn (Mother of Queen Elizabeth I) and Catherine Howard (young hottie who cheated on her older obese husband) both were beheaded courtesy of their “loving” husband and king. Also, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded there. She was the Protestant Queen of England for a hot second after Henry VIII’s sickly son Edward died and before Mary I – aka Catholic Bloody Mary – took the throne. And don’t worry, the Tower execution wasn’t just for women. Sir Thomas More, a politician and most famously, the author of the book Utopia and Sir Walter Raleigh the explorer were killed here as well.
Once we got off the boat at Westminster, the sun finally came out and I was able to get some photos of the Parliament Building, the tower containing the famous bell – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye with actual blue skies!