Day 2 in London and the real business of being a tourist begins.
With our London Passes in hand which we’d collected the day earlier we set out for a day of tube riding and pavement pounding (collecting Julie, Sarah’s mum along the way). I should mention how good value this pass is. Available in 1, 2, 3 or 6 day format it essentially buys you £90 worth of sightseeing value per day (at slightly discounted rates) and lets you jump to the front of many queues. There is also the option to include your public transport costs for an additional fee.
The only drawback of the card is its need to be used in consecutive days, which as a result meant we only got a 2 day pass. Nevertheless, despite only using about half of our cards value, we still comfortably gained our moneys worth.
What was quickly apparent was how we had underestimated the amount of time we would be needing at each tourist site. Before too long it was early afternoon and we’d only taken in the Emirates Stadium (home of Arsenal FC) and the HMS Belfast, an IWM (Imperial War Museum) run floating museum on the Thames. An old cruiser built in the 30’s and a veteran of WWII and the Korean War.
With time running away, we managed to sneak a visit in to the Churchill War Rooms and the Horse Guards Museum before calling it a day and continuing our tourist efforts the following day.
This was to be the true tourist day kicking off at the iconic Tower of London with its grizzly past followed by Westminster Abbey, much of which we were not allowed to photograph.
After glimpsing the Crown Jewels I didn’t actually expect Westminster to be all the much, but in its cavernous halls and walking over the burial places of so many famous names (William Herschel, astronomer and co-discoverer of Uranus was my personal favourite) it really was humbling, even for a non religious sort.
Things get pretty crazy from here. What followed was a day of pure indulgence. A train ride from Paddington Station out to Maidenhead (followed by a Taxi to Bray) saw us at The Fat Duck, the flagship restaurant for zany chef, Heston Blumenthal.
14 crazy courses later (including Snail Porridge and Hot & Cold Tea) and with wallets substantially lighter we left what was a pretty awesome experience. It’s not necessarily something i would go back to, but very happy to have done it (apparently his other restaurant “Dinner” is equally fun, more affordable and accessible in any case).