I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the help and advice we recived on here prior to our trip - though I was concerned I was not taking it in it DID stick and was enormously valuable.
Well, we had a fabulous time!
We arrived by train around 4 o'clock on the Monday, and took the 59 bus from Kings Cross station part of the way down Waterloo road. We walked the rest of the way, which wasn't too far..the Hotel (Travelodge Waterloo) was easy to find and far exceeded our expectations, so we were delighted.
Not wanting to waste any time we headed out for a walk all the way up Waterloo Road, past the IMAX, and up to Waterloo Bridge..we were going to walk across it but looking down at the riverside it looked so lovely (the sun was shining) that we took the steps down and walked along the waterside to the next bridge (the Jubilee Bridge I think?). What a lovely area, lovely cafes and eateries, and of course the London Eye too, such a nice vibe! We walked over the bridge and then past lots of Governmental type buildings (which I think must have been Whitehall?) and on to Trafalgar Square..we people watched, and annoyed a few pigeons and then headed back, crossing the same bridge again and heading for Wahaca, the Mexican restaurant right by the steps up to Waterloo Bridge. The food there was VERY yummy, and we thoroughly enjoyed it..a lovely walk back along Waterloo Road (with a quick detour to the pub) and we were back at the Hotel, time to rest before the next big day.
In the morning we headed for..
(by bus), which is very beautiful, but shockingly expensive to get in to! Against my better judgement (I could feel OH's disapproval at this point!) not only did we pay to get in but we also paid for a guided tour. At £42 for the pair of us it was not cheap, and I wondered what I had done..however I have to say it was worth every penny! The guided tour was excellent, explaining so much and allowing access to areas the normal ticket did not (such as the shrine to Edward The Confessor, plus we got to sit in the choir stalls!). We both thoroughly enjoyed it, the highlight for me being visiting the tomb of Elizabeth the 1st (I still can't help feeling she wouldn't be too happy at being buried with Mary). Lunch in the Abbey cafe (which really was not good value at all and not much choice - I would avoid if possible), a quick look round the gift shop, and then we headed for ....
The Churchill War Rooms.
Thanks to a 2 for 1 rail voucher this was much more reasonable to get in to, and in truth really really enjoyable. We loved seeing the war time set up (I could have easily *borrowed* one of those lovely phones), and who knew that Churchill invented the Onesie?! The cafe was lovely, and very good quality/value - save your pennies for there - and the gift shop too - especially if you love the wartime/vintage stuff as I do.
Leaving Churchill to His bunker we took a leisurely stroll down past Horseguards parade in the glorious sunshine, and then through St James Park - beautiful! squirrels! birds! baby ducks! ice cream! - all the way to Buckingham Palace..after a sit down to soak in the sunshine/view/atmosphere (it was about 5:30 pm by now!) we headed back down Pall Mall, past Clarence House, back through Trafalgar Arch (is that right? Admiralty Arch?) and walked home to Waterloo. Thoroughly exhausted but very happy we managed to grab a curry on the way, very tasty it was too. Sleep and aching tootsies (note to self : take better shoes next time) but spirits undimmed we were looking forward to Day 3!
(more to follow!)