The Red Bus Tour through Oxford

The sights of beautiful Oxford
The sights of beautiful Oxford

A great way to explore Oxford on a cold autumn day is definitely by taking the City Red Bus Tour!

This city tour lasted approximately 1 and a half hours and my mom and I had a fabulous time. We were quite glad that we did remember to bring our gloves as we sat on top and it got quite chilly in the early spring weather.

Oxford is home to the oldest University in Britain and definitely an architectural marvel. We had fantastic views of its honey coloured buildings as well as tantalising glimpses of the hushed courtyards of its many Colleges.

We got to gaze at the beautiful buildings of the colleges from the top of the open double-decker bus and got a better picture of what the city looks like than just walking around the streets with our map.

 

The bus made numerous stops along the tour route so  we got to hop on and off at various of the beautiful buildings which we then explored to our hearts content.

A stroll along the Avon River in Bath, England.

The Avon River flowing through Bath
The Avon River flowing through Bath

While living in Bath I got to know the city quite well and my favourite thing on Sundays were to take long walks along the beautiful Avon River that runs through the city.

The Avon River flowing through Bath
I actually lived just around the corner from where I am standing on the bridge
The Avon River flowing through Bath
The beautiful Parade gardens
The Avon River flowing through Bath
I love the angel looking out over the Garden and River

Unfortunately Parade gardens are only open from April to September so I never actually got to go into these beautiful gardens that were at river level and actually just around the corner from where I lived. 
These delightful gardens are Bath’s most centrally situated and popular pleasure grounds overlooking the River and Robert Adams Pulteney Bridge. The bedding displays are among the finest in the country and they have an annual 3-dimensional floral features which I thought were absolutely stunning.

Parade Gardens
I just love the 3d flower displays in Parade Gardens

But my favourite part about the Garden was the beautiful Angel looking out over the Avon River.

Parade Gardens
I love the Parade Gardens angel
Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge is regarded as one of the worlds most beautiful bridges as it is one of only four bridges lined with shops in the world. It is lined with shops on both sides. In spite of its practical origins it is surely the most romantic bridge in the world, best viewed from Parade Gardens park by the crescent weir.

Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge one of the most beautiful bridges in England

There was always a crowd on Putney Bridge which I escaped by ascending the steps at the end  of the bridge. There is a lovely little cafe where I usually ended up with my book while looking out over the unusual water features of the Avon River.

Pulteney Bridge
I love the water features of the river

The City Bath is a piece of Roman history in England

Roman Baths
Entrance to the Roman Baths
Roman Baths
Courtyard in front of the Roman Baths

Roman baths were part of the day-to-day life for Romans and  Bath in Somerset, England has one of the best examples of a Roman bath complex in Europe. I got to walk past these Baths every day on my way to work and couldn’t wait to explore them with my friends.

Roman Baths
The Cathedral is right behind the Roman Baths

The Roman Baths themselves are actually well below the modern street level. We entered through the Pump House where you can sit and have a coffee or even enjoy lunch. We walked through the Baths Museum with our audio guides actually getting to learn quite a lot about how they were built and why before we entered the main Roman Bath House.

Roman Baths
My first glimpse of the Roman Baths

I learnt that Roman houses had water supplied via lead pipes, which I am sure would never be allowed today. However, these pipes were taxed according to their size, so many houses had just a basic supply and could not hope to rival a bath complex. Therefore for personal hygiene, people went to the local baths. However, the local bath complex was also a gathering point and served a very useful community and social function. Here people could relax, keep clean and keep up with the latest news. Today Saunas are the closest we get to public bathing.

Roman Baths
They actually had lifeguard seats next to the baths

These Roman Baths were built over a natural hot water spring that brought over one million litres of hot water to the surface every day at a temperature of about 48 degrees centigrade. They say the water which bubbles up from the ground at Bath falls as rain on the nearby Hills. It percolates down through limestone where geothermal energy raises the water temperature an under pressure, the heated water rises to the surface along fissures and faults in the limestone. The Romans built a reservoir to control the water flow, baths and a temple. The town of Bath then quickly grew around this complex.

Roman Baths
Walking through the different roms of the Roman Baths
Roman Baths
The sacred spring……..

Many Romans viewed the springs as sacred and threw valuable items into the springs to please the gods. Some of these items can be seen in the Museum holding finds from Roman Bath. These include more than 12,000 Roman currency coins which is the largest collective votive deposit known from Britain.

Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are filled with beautiful collumns and statues

An altar was also built at Bath so that priests could sacrifice animals to the gods. This Roman Temple I found just past the main Baths.  I wonder if they burned sacrifices here as the smell must have been awful, but I am sure the heat must have been quite welcome during the winter months.

Roman Baths
Maybe we can reach the water before someone stops us…

The waters at Bath gained a reputation as being able to cure all ills. As a result, may travelled to Bath from all over the Roman Empire to take to the waters in what they called the Sacred Spring. You are not allowed to get into the water here anymore so it is quite hard to find out if this is actually true or not. And we found out that there are actually guard around to make sure you don’t get in.

Roman Baths
Last glimpse of the Roman Baths from the walkway above.

Bath Abbey is built on a mass grave

Bath Abbey
Me standing in front of Bath Abbey on my first visit
Bath Abbey
This is the entrance to my shared flat in Bath

Moving anywhere new is scary and if you don’t know the place or anybody living there it makes it even scarier. The first time I actually moved somewhere where I didn’t know a soul was to Bath in the UK. I moved into a shared flat right next to the river and across the street from the Beautiful Bath Abbey. I arrived mid autumn and was welcomed by the famous dreary grey skies of England.

 

 

Bath Abbey
The beautiful Gothic structure of the Abbey
Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

That first weekend I went to explore the Bath Abbey also known as the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This beautiful Gothic Abbey was built in the 7th century and restored in the 1860s. The square in front of the Abbey was filled with people admiring the magnificent architecture of the Abbey.

Bath Abbey
The peaceful inside of Bath Abbey

Pilgrims and visitors have been made welcome at Bath Abbey for hundreds of years and stepping into the Abbey I understood why. The Abbey has a magnificent faulted ceiling that I sat admiring while listening to the beautiful choral music. I love the quiet and peace found inside churches as it always makes me feel warm and welcome in a new place.

I read that last year (August 2013) they discovered that for more than 300 years, thousands of people have been buried just below the stone flooring of Bath Abbey. They say it is estimated that up to 6,000 bodies have been “jammed in” to shallow graves under the church’s grave ledger stones.

Bath Abbey
A violin player stood infront of the Abbey playing

Three different churches have occupied the site and since the early 1500s, so they think thousands of people have been buried under the building after they removed more than 10 boxes of human remains.   This is eerie and I think a bit disturbing. To think I lived close to an undiscovered mass grave and walked over it more than once. I am quite glad that I found this out only after leaving Bath as I am sure I would have had nightmares about living next to this Abbey built on graves.

Big Ben, a World Famous and Iconic Clock Tower

Big Ben
Big Ben in the distance

Big Ben has become a symbol of the United Kingdom, particularly in the visual media. When a television or film-maker wishes to indicate a generic location in England, a popular way to do so is to show an image of the tower, often with a red double-decker bus or black cab in the foreground. I tried my best to replicate one of these famous shots but no bus or cab would work with me that morning.

Big Ben
Westminster Bridge at the foot of Big Ben
Big Ben
Standing on Westminster Bridge

The clock inside the tower was the world’s largest when it was installed in the middle of the nineteenth century and is still the largest in Great-Britain. Technically, the name Big Ben refers to the clock’s hour bell inside the clock tower, largest of the clock’s five bells which weighs more than 13 tons.  The other four are used as quarter bells. They believe that the hour bell was named after Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works.

The tower was constructed between 1843 and 1858 as the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The palace is now better known as the Houses of Parliament. Unfortunately the clock tower is not publicly accessible and you can only enter the Houses of Parliament on certain days.

Big Ben
Big Ben is quite well guarded

Big Ben is known for its reliability, it has rarely failed during its long life span. Even after the nearby House of Commons was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the clock kept on chiming.

Big Ben
Me in front of Big Ben

Crossing the Thames River by London’s “wobbly” Millennium Footbridge

London's Millennium Footbridge
Crossing London’s Millennium Footbridge
London's Millennium Footbridge
London’s Millennium Footbridge

This footbridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians to cross the River Thames in London. It links Bankside from St Paul’s Cathedral with the City of London at the Modern Tate museum. Londoners nicknamed the bridge the “Wobbly Bridge” after participants in a charity walk on behalf of Save the Children to open the bridge felt an unexpected and, for some, uncomfortable swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened. The bridge was closed later that day, and after two days of limited access the bridge was closed for almost two years while modifications were made to eliminate the wobble entirely. It only reopened in 2002. I must admit, I didn’t feel any wobble even after jumping up and down a couple of times!

London's Millennium Footbridge
Im standing on London’s Millennium Footbridge

The wobble was attributed to an under-researched phenomenon whereby pedestrians crossing a bridge that has a lateral sway have an unconscious tendency to match their footsteps to the sway, thereby exacerbating the sway. The tendency of a suspension bridge to sway when troops march over it in step was well known, which is why troops are required to break step when crossing such a bridge.

London's Millennium Footbridge
London’s Millennium Footbridge with St Pauls in the Background

London’s 300 Year Old Kensington Palace was even Diana’s Royal Home

Kensington Palace
On our way to visit Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace
The golden decorated gates of Kensington Palace

During April in England you expect it to be wet and maybe cold but not freezing!! I had on my “Russian Winter” coat and was so glad that I remembered to bring a pair of gloves with me for my day of exploring in London. Spring was not far away but there was no sign of it and as we walked through the park to Kensington Palace we skipped the gardens and went straight into the Palace.

Kensington Palace
Entering Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been a royal home for over 300 years and parts of the palace is still a private residence for members of the Royal Family today. So we were not able to explore the whole Palace but what we got to explore was fabulous! The magnificent State Apartments and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which includes dresses worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, are open to the public and we spent quite a while here.

Kensington Palace
I just love the decorated ceilings!!

As I walked through the palace I got to admire the family portraits and original furnishings adorning the homely Queen’s Apartments. In contrast to the grandeur of the King’s Apartments, which were filled with paintings and works of art from the Royal Collection.

Kensington Palace
The chairs have the royal crown on them!
Kensington Palace
You sit here and “hear the walls whisper”!!

I enjoyed the huge Drawing Room the most where if you sat down on the pillows you could listen to a part of the Palace history while looking out the surrounding furnishings and beautifully decorated ceiling.

Kensington Palace
WOW!!

Kensington Palace
Just look at this ceiling!!

Kensington Palace was once a favoured home of some of Britain’s most famous kings and queens and the setting for many great events and dramas in royal history. It was originally a private country house and the building was acquired by William III and Mary II in 1689. Unfortunately Queen Mary II died of smallpox in Kensington Palace in 1694.  For the next 70 years the palace was at the centre of the life and government of the kingdom and played host to the courts of William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I and George II. In 1702, William suffered a fall from a horse at Hampton Court and was brought to Kensington Palace, where he died shortly after. After William III’s death, the palace became the residence of Queen Anne.

Kensington Palace
Look at this stunning staircase!

In the 19th century Kensington was also the birthplace and childhood home of Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria). But it’s best known resident in recent years was Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-97) who occupied apartments in the north-west part of the palace from 1981 to 1997.

Kensington Palace
The Royal Throne!

Walking over graves in Westminster Abbey, London

Westminster Abbey
About to enter Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is another one of those places in London that is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. I read that it was Benedictine monks who first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. Even today there are still monks around walking through the Abbey and holding daily services.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is also the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The Abbey survived for two centuries until the middle of the 13th century when King Henry III decided to rebuild it in the Gothic architecture style. Under the decree of the King of England, Westminster Abbey was designed to be not only a great monastery and place of worship, but also a place for the coronation and burial of monarchs. Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned in the Abbey, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII who were never crowned. It has even been the setting for sixteen royal weddings. It must be a weird feeling knowing that you start and end your reign over a Kingdom in the same building. 

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

The Abbey is filled with past Kings, Queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains all buried or entombed in one place. I read somewhere that this Abbey is the Biggest “tomb” in London.

Westminster Abbey
Entering Westminster Abbey

I joined the crowd waiting to enter the  700 year old Abbey last April and wished that I had a whole day to spend inside, there was so much to see and learn.

Westminster Abbey
Walking through the cloisters of Westminster Abbey

Once inside we got ourselves audio guides that I think is a must otherwise we would have missed out on so much detail and would have had to read up on all the different statues and monuments that fill this amazing church.

Westminster Abbey
Inside the Cloisters

Walking through the Abbey felt like I was walking through a treasure house of paintings, stained glass, mosaic and tombs. Around the main shrine of the Abbey are buried a cluster of medieval kings and their consorts including Henry III, Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, Edward III and Philippa of Hainault.  The Abbey contains over 600 monuments and wall tablets and over three thousand people are buried here.

Westminster Abbey
A peek into the courtyard

Unfortunately photography is not permitted within the Abbey Church, only in the cloisters. 

Westminster Abbey
I love the huge stain glass windows!!

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

In the floor, just inside the great west door, in the centre of the nave, is the tomb of The Unknown Warrior, an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War. He was buried in the abbey on 11 November 1920. There are many graves on the floors of the abbey, but this is the only grave upon which it is forbidden to step. It felt weird knowing that while you are walking through this beautiful building you are actually walking on top of graves and the remains of famous people. Gives new meaning to the saying “someone just walked across my grave” when you get cold shivers. 

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Approaching Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre might not be the original but it is as close as I could get to the world that Shakespeare created ages ago. The current Globe Theatre is built 200 meters from where the original stood but is basically a replica of what the original looked like. It is built in exactly the same way and to the same scale and you can actually come and watch theatre productions here during the summer months.

The original Globe Theatre, was built in 1599 and was unfortunately destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. The fire was caused by an accident with a cannon during a production of Henry VIII. The theatre was rebuilt by June 1614 but was officially closed by pressure of Puritan opinion in 1642 and demolished in 1644.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

We crossed the River Thames by LondonBridge among the throngs of tourists and people. On the banks of London’s Southwark, stands the roundish, three-story wooden building that is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. As we got closer we could see that it is not exactly round, but is somewhat hexagonal in shape. The walls seem to slant a little inward, giving it the appearance of a huge thimble with six flattened sides instead of a circular surface. There are a couple of small windows and a low shabby entrance through which we walked quite excited at the prospect of seeing where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. 

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
I am standing inside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

While learning about Shakespeare and all the fabulous plays he wrote during my high school years I never thought that I would actually be able to see where these plays were performed. What a great experience to stand inside this theatre and imagine what it must have looked like in Shakespeare’s time while they were performing here. Imagine all the people, royalty in the front rows and the actors on stage, the rowdy sellers and the carnival atmosphere that must have accompanied the shows.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
I would love to see this place in action

 

During his lifetime, Shakespeare’s plays were performed on stages, in private theatres, provincial theatres, and playhouses. They were acted out in the yards of bawdy inns and in the great halls of the London inns of court. But the Globe Theatre is certainly the most well known of all the Renaissance stages associated with Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
This is where they perform Shakespeare’s famous plays!

As we stepped into the main theatre the blue sky greeted us. The building has no roof except a narrow strip around the edge and a covering at the rear over the back part of the stage. The front of the stage and the whole center of the theatre is open. No wonder they only have shows here in the summer months. I would love to be able to watch a show here….maybe the next summer I get to spend in England.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
I want to sit here and watch a show!!

Walking through London’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
What a fabulous sight!!

I think St Paul’s Cathedral is definitely one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in England. I am quite lucky in that I have had the opportunity to visit this beautiful Cathedral more than once and couldn’t wait to show it to my friend Hermie on her visit all the way from South-Africa.

St Paul's Cathedral

The two of us bought ourselves London travel passes for the day and started our adventure at LondonBridge and reached the Cathedral mid-morning. Trying to fit in as many of London’s great sites as possible in one day was quite a hard task. But definitely worth it!!

St Paul’s cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Its beautiful dome has dominated the skyline for 300 years and is usually featured in all London travel stories.

 

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

This stunning Cathedral isn’t only beautiful it has also had a very eventful and colourful history. Five different churches were actually built on this site. The first church, dedicated to the apostle Paul, was a wooden church and dates back to 604 AD. At the end of the seventh century, the church was re-built in stone by Erkenwald, Bishop of London. 

In 962 and again in 1087, the cathedral was destroyed by fire, but each time it was rebuilt and expanded. I can also imagine that each time they would have changed all the details of the church. Renovations and extensions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries enlarged the cathedral even more and it actually became one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe.

St Paul's Cathedral
The entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral

In 1666 disaster struck again on the night of 2 September, when the Great Fire of London destroyed 4/5th of all of London, It wiped out 13,200 houses and 89 churches, including the St. Paul’s Cathedral off the map.

The current Gothic Cathedral was rebuilt in 1711 and 300 years later is still impressive.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

Walking towards this fabulous building looming over London I tried to imagine what it must have been like 300 years ago with horse carriages around instead of cars and busses. As we walked through the heavy wooden doors the Baroque interior was just as imposing as the exterior of the church. It takes my breath away every time. There are beautiful mosaics on the ceiling and the Cathedral is filled with tombs and statues but the only monument in the church that survived the fire of 1666 is the tomb of John Donne, from 1631.

You have to get yourself one of the audio guides as its fabulous to learn about the Cathedral and its history as you walk through it and actually get to see all the tombs and monuments I have heard about in history class.

The dome of the Cathedral is 111 meters high and 560 steps lead visitors all the way to the top of the dome where you can get a fabulous view of the Cathedral and the city of London.

After exploring London all morning and still having lots of London to fit into our afternoon neither one of us could face walking up those stairs to the top of the beautiful dome. We admired it from below and took a seat to rest our sore feet for a little while.

I read about the four bells in the south-west tower which was cast in 1777, the largest bell weighing 16½ tons is the largest bell in the British Isles. These bells has traditionally sounded at 1 o’clock each day. It chimes the hour and is traditionally tolled on occasions of a death in the royal family. It was last tolled for the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 2002.

I really wanted to hear these famous bells ring but not thinking it through very clearly we sat down inside the church to listen to them toll. After 1pm we stood up and I asked a guide if the bells were not going to be rung today. He looked at me all weird and told me they had just rung, but that you had to have been outside to be able to hear them. Oops, next time I will make sure I am waiting for them on the front steps!

St Paul's Cathedral
Leaving St Paul’s Cathedral

Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London as seen from across the River Thames

 

Tower of London
Tower of London

What once housed the Royalty and even the filth and scum of London now houses its famous Crown Jewels and is keeper to the Royal Ravens. Do you need a better reason to visit the Tower of London? Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. Actually although there has been a lot of talk and a pervading belief that the tower is a place of death and torture, only a total of seven people were executed within the tower, a figure which is low compared to other places.

The ravens are flightless birds due to the fact their wings are clipped and this tradition points to the superstition that the English still believe dating back from time of Charles II that when there are no longer ravens in the Tower both the White Tower and the Commonwealth of England would fall. I never got to see these famous ravens…..

 

Tower of London
They say the courtyard is usually filled with black Ravens…

 

The Tower of London is situated next to the Thames River and definitely impossible to miss.  It is one of the most visited places in the UK not only for its rich history but also for its ghosts.

Tower of London
Walking along the Wall that surrounds the Tower of London

 

Walking along the wall of this old prison you get fabulous views over the river and over all the buildings that make up the Tower of London.

 

Tower of London
Tower of London

During its 900 years of existence, the Tower of London has earned the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the UK. Thomas A. Becket is said to be one of the first ghosts seen in the tower. When the Inner Curtain Wall was still in construction, Thomas seemed to be very unhappy about it and reduced the wall to rubble with the strike of his cross. The grandfather of Henry III was said to be the reason for Thomas A. Beckett’s death so he built a chapel in the Tower for the Archbishop. People believe that Beckett was pleased with the construction of the chapel because no further interruptions were reported after the incident with the Inner Curtain Wall. As we walked around the tower I kept an eye out for his ghost but didn’t spot anything. Maybe he only comes out at night?

 

 

Tower of London
The Bloody Tower

Arbella Stuart is one of the castle’s most famous ghosts. It is said that her ghost stays in The Queen’s House on Tower Green. According to records, Arbella Stuart married the nephew of Lady Jane Grey, William Seymour.  The marriage was thought of as a threat because it did not have the permission of King James I. Arbella was put under house arrest in Lambeth while her husband William was sent to the tower. Arbella plotted to get William released so that they could travel together to France, however, William missed the rendezvous. Arbella set sail all alone but she was recognised and was sent back, this time to the Tower. William, on the other hand, made it to freedom. She stayed there until her death in 1615 in The Queen’s House.  It is believed that she was murdered in the castle.

 

Tower of London
The White Tower

 

Tower of London
Tower of London

The most persistent of all ghosts in the Tower of London is that of no other than Queen Anne Boleyn.  I think she definitely has a good reason to haunt these corridors. She was married to King Henry VII. She was arrested and taken to Tower Green and was beheaded on the 19th of May 1536. Several sightings of Anne Boleyn have been reported. She appears close to the site where she was executed and has also been seen leading a procession down the aisle of a chapel. Several people have reported seeing her headless body walking the Tower’s corridors.

 

Tower of London
Guarding the Royal Jewels

Tower of London
The Bloody Tower!!

The Bloody Tower is a place in the castle which conjures up grisly images. There is the story of the two young princes, Edward V and his brother Richard, who were declared illegitimate by Parliament and sent to the tower. They were often seen playing around happily in the grounds but suddenly vanished and were never seen again. It was assumed that they were murdered by order of their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Two skeletons, believed to be the children, were unearthed beneath a staircase in the White Tower. The ghosts of the children are often seen wearing nightgowns clutching each other in terror in the rooms of the castle. They are also heard throughout the Tower.

Tower of London
A “Beefeater”!!

 As we entered the main building that houses the crown jewels we were greeted by a conveyor belt. You are not allowed to stand around and stare at the huge cullinan diamond but have to move along on the conveyor belt under the watchful eyes of a guard. The tradition of housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London probably dates from the reign of Henry III. The Jewel House was built specifically to house the royal regalia, including jewels, plate, and symbols of royalty such as the crown, sceptre, and sword. When money needed to be raised, the treasure could be pawned by the monarch. The treasure allowed the monarch independence from the aristocracy, and consequently was closely guarded.

As we exited the Tower of London we passed an empty guard post and couldn’t resist getting into it.

I walked across and in London’s iconic Tower Bridge!

London's Tower Bridge
London’s iconic Tower Bridge

Whenever you see London in movies or advertised as a holiday destination one of the first landmarks they show is the famous London Tower Bridge! This bridge has definitely become an international symbol of London and was also first on my list of London sights.

London's Tower Bridge
What a stunning sight!!

It was my friend Hermie’s first trip abroad and I couldn’t think of a better way to start exploring London that to view this beautiful and iconic sight that stands in the center of the city next to the beautiful Thames River.

It was a cold day for April but we were wrapped up and ready for a day of exploring London! The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. 

London's Tower Bridge
I’m on London’s Tower Bridge

Walking across this iconic bridge was definitely amazing but the best part was that we were able to go up one of the bridge towers and then walk across the walkway at the top of the bridge!

The high-level open air walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets; as they were only accessible by stairs they were seldom used by regular pedestrians, and were closed in 1910. In 1982 they were reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, a display housed in the bridge’s twin towers, the high-level walkways and the Victorian engine rooms.

London's Tower Bridge
London’s Tower Bridge

The exhibition charges an admission fee but it is definitely worth paying. It uses films, photos and interactive displays to explain why and how Tower Bridge was built so you don’t actually have to stand there reading from your tour guide. We could also access the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.

London's Tower Bridge
Walking across London’s Tower Bridge

The proximity of the harbour and its location in the direction of the sea required for the bridge to allow the passage of large vessels. Hence the decision to create a moveable bridge which can be opened to accommodate boat traffic. The mechanism to open the bridge is hidden in the two towers. Until 1976, when the mechanism became electrified, steam power was used to pump water into hydraulic accumulators which powered the engines.

London's Tower Bridge
View from the walkway
London's Tower Bridge
London’s Tower Bridge

The bascules are raised around 1000 times a year. River traffic is now much reduced, but it still takes priority over road traffic. In December 1952, the bridge opened while a number 78 double-decker bus was crossing from the south bank. At that time, the gate-man would ring a warning bell and close the gates when the bridge was clear before the watchman ordered the raising of the bridge. The process failed while a relief watchman was on duty. The bus was near the edge of the south bascule when it started to rise; driver Albert Gunter made a split-second decision to accelerate, clearing a 3 ft gap to drop 6 ft onto the north bascule, which had not yet started to rise. There were no serious injuries. Gunter was given 10 pounds by the City Corporation to honour his act of bravery. Today, 24 hours’ notice is required before opening the bridge. It is believed that if you actually get to view this raising of the bascules it is good luck for your London adventure!

 

Tower Bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge, the next bridge upstream. A popular urban legend is that in 1968, Robert McCulloch, the purchaser of the old London Bridge that was later shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, believed that he was in fact buying Tower Bridge.

London's Tower Bridge
Leaving London’s Tower Bridge

We looked out over the historic city of London and couldn’t wait to explore the rest of the city!

London's Tower Bridge
London’s Tower Bridge

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford is the Great Hall from the Harry Potter Movies!

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Walking through the beautiful arch to enter the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

I couldn’t wait to follow the footsteps of the world’s favourite wizard through Oxford’s most spectacular College. Many of the scenes in the Harry Potter feature films are shot in various locations of the College and as you walk around the cloisters and quadrangles it is easy to see why. They say that by walking through the corridors you experience the atmosphere of Hogwarts.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

Christ Church is part of the University of Oxford in England and was traditionally considered the most aristocratic college of this university. As well as being a college, Christ Church is actually also a cathedral church of Oxford, namely Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Entering the cloisters

As we entered Christ Church we got to walk through the beautiful and intricately vaulted cloisters. The cloisters in Christ Church were first built 1000 years ago. This ancient vintage made them the ideal setting for various scenes. It is here that Harry is shown the trophy his father won as a seeker in Quidditch.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
These buildings are so beautiful

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Tom Quad…you are not allowed to walk across it

This college is actually the largest and most visited of all Oxford’s Colleges. In the middle of the College lies Tom Quad, the largest quad in Oxford, and Tom Tower, which was dedicated to Thomas of Canterbury. Unfortunately we ere not allowed to walk across this quad. The upper section of the tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682. The 7-tonne bell in the tower chimes 101 times each night at 9:05 pm, the time when the original 101 students were called back for curfew. Since Oxford is 5 minutes west of Greenwich, this is actually 9 pm Oxford time. We left way before these bells were due to be rung but I am sure it must be a beautiful sound.

We had to stand in line with hundreds of other people trying to get a glimpse of the famous Great Hall of Christ Church.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Walking up the 16th century staircase to the Great Hall

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Waiting in line…

We got to walk up the beautiful 16th century staircase leading up the Great Hall. It is here that as Harry and the new first-years enter Hogwarts they are greeted by Professor McGonagall. It was a bit crowded and unfortunately we couldn’t stop and get a photo as we walked up these stairs.

The Great Hall was replicated in the film studios to create Hogwart’s Hall. It is here that students eat their meals, receive daily owl post, and have certain special events.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
The Great Hall!!

The Hall is definitely not big enough to be used in the movie but I could see why they would create a Hall very similar to this one for  a magical world! As we walked through the hall we were actually ushered along and couldn’t stand still and appreciate its beauty for too long.

Many of the faces in the portraits that cover the walls are the real “Wizards” who have changed the way we understand the world.

Christ Church has a very long association with children’s literature – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were inspired and written here by Lewis Carroll. 

On the right of the Hall, is a portrait of Charles Dodgson (Lews Carroll – famed author of Alice in Wonderland). The best part is that there is a large stained glass window, featuring characters from Alice above the fireplace as well as brass characters in the fireplace itself. The fireplace of the hall was actually used in the movie version of this story.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Walking through Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
The Alice in Wonderland stained glass window!!

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
The Great Hall!!

In 1851, Charles Dodgson came to ChristChurch to study mathematics. He spent the rest of his life here as a student and teacher. It was while he wrote for a student paper that he was given the writing name – “Lewis Carroll,” by his editor.

It was at ChristChurch that Dodgson first met the children of the then Dean (head of the College): Harry, Alice, Lorina and Edith. He had asked permission to photograph the Cathedral from the Deanery garden. While in the process of setting up his cumbersome equipment he was approached by Alice and her two sisters who wanted to be photographed. Soon, their friendship blossomed and the girls were regular visitors to his rooms, and he to their nursery.

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
The ceiling of the Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
The fire place of Alice in Wonderland!!

The girls loved Dodgson to tell them stories, turning their everyday surroundings into Wonderland stories. Although the stories were fantastic in nature, Dodgson would use familiar things and people as the starting point.  Christ Church – the place which Alice had known all her life plays a very important part in many of her adventures in Wonderland!

There is plenty more Lewis Carroll and Alice information at other Oxford venues, including Alice’s Shop, which is the real site of the old Sheep Shop which appears in Alice through the Looking Glass. 

Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford
Inside Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

Bringing Oxford Castle’s Rich History to Life…

Oxford Castle
Im at Oxford Castle!!
Oxford Castle
Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle is a large, partly ruined Norman medieval castle on the western side of central Oxford, England, and was definitely one of the highlights of our Oxford adventure. We had a fabulous guide who told us tales of 1000 years of murder, romance, betrayal, escape and execution that happened right here in the walls of this castle. As this castle has a prison at its heart, it has been a place of incarceration since 1071 and actually continued until the closure of Her Majesty’s Prison Oxford in 1996.

Led by our character costumed guide the history of this castle and its turbulent past took form.  The castle was originally built in 1071 for William the Conqueror, to enable the Normans to control the area. In the 14th century the military value of the castle diminished and the site became used primarily for county administration and as a prison.

St George's Tower
We are entering St George’s Tower

We climbed the narrow winding stairs up the Saxon St George’s Tower, one of Oxford’s oldest buildings, to enjoy the beautiful 360 degree views of Oxford. It was a little windy out but looking out over the rooftops of this beautiful city made us forget the cold for a moment as the beauty took out breath away.

Oxford Castle
We made it to the top!
Oxford Castle
View of Oxford!
Oxford Castle
View of Oxford

As we descended into the deep 900 year old underground crypt I thanked my stars that I was not born a century ago and a prisoner in this castle. Here our guide told us stories about Mary Blandy who was a convicted murderess and actually became an 18th century celebrity. One of the most interesting stories was about and Anne Green, who survived her own hanging and narrowly escaped being anatomized by an Oxford medical student in 1650.

Oxford Castle
Locking mom into a prison cell!

The prison was mainly used to house prisoners from Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and also the University’s ‘rebellious scholars’ (as recorded in 1236). From 1613 until 1785, the prison and castle were owned by Christ Church, who leased the jail (gaol) to prison keepers.

One of the most interesting parts of the castle was the 18th century Debtors’ Tower which was also a Prison wing. People like Marshall William Smith, the King’s prison keeper, who in the 1600’s made Oxford Prison as feared and as notorious as Colditz.

Oxford Castle
Oxford Castle

In 1785 the Castle was redeveloped and they held public executions. Oxford Prison became famous for Jack Ketch, the public executioner and the man on whom the Punch & Judy hangman character was modeled. The last execution was in 1863.

This was a great way to learn more about the history of Oxford!

Oxford Castle
Looking out over the rooftops of Oxford!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Three-picture stories:

In a nutshell, a three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

  1. An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
  2. A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
  3. A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.

My 3-picture stories come all the way from Oxford, England

Visiting Oxford’s St Mary Magdalen church which became famous thanks to The DaVinci Code

Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen in the center of Oxford

It was our first time exploring Oxford and my mom and I started our adventure at the Church of St Mary Magdalen which is just to the north of the former city wall. 

Church of St Mary Magdalen
The street of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen
Entering the Church of St Mary Magdalen

St Mary Magdalen’s church is in what is today the centre of Oxford. It is just around the corner from where we were about to start our Oxford Red Bus tour and a great place to hide a bit from the cold. The church actually started out as a wooden church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen,. St. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, rebuilt the church in 1194, during the reign of Richard ‘the Lion Heart’ who retained an interest in the church.

In 1841-42, the young, and as yet unknown, Gilbert Scott rebuilt the chancel and the north aisle to complement his work on the Martyrs’ Memorial, thus giving the church Oxford’s earliest Victorian Gothic interior. Compared to other Oxford churches, it is relatively high, with a strong emphasis on Anglo-Catholicism.

Church of St Mary Magdalen
Inside the Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen

Thanks to the success of The Da Vinci Code, Mary Magdalen has become one of the most talked about people in Christian history. She is also one of the most remarkable, and what we know about her from the New Testament is as surprising as anything which has been speculated since.

The Da Vinci Code is, of course, a story, and not a history book. The feminine looking figure, in Leonardo’s painting of the Last Supper, which the book claims to be Mary is in fact St John, the beloved disciple, who is frequently presented with the youthful looks and flowing blond locks of a Renaissance man. There is no evidence whatsoever that Mary Magdalen had any relationship with Jesus beyond that of follower and friend, and unfortunately we know nothing of her tomb or mortal remains.

Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen
Church of St Mary Magdalen

What we do know about Mary Magdalen is that first and foremost, she was a follower of Jesus. Crucially, we are told that she stood as a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus, and most important of all, that she was the first witness to the resurrection on the very first Easter morning.

A great deal of iconography featuring Mary Magdalen portrays her washing Jesus’ feet. She is also forever to be associated with spices for anointing, but this is not a problem since we are sure, from the gospel accounts, that she and her companions went to Jesus’ tomb early on the first day of the week to anoint his body.

What makes Mary Magdalen one of Christianity’s most venerated saints is her fidelity to Jesus Christ on the cross, and her being chosen to witness and spread the news of his resurrection.

Every year around 22nd July, the Feast of St Mary Magdalen, the church is decorated with spices in her honour. I think that must be a beautiful sight.

Lacock village, backdrop to many Harry Potter scenes

Lacock village
Arriving at Lacock village
Lacock village
Lacock village

As we walked through the cobbled streets of Lacock I had to rub my eyes and ask ‘Am I still in the 21st century?’ Lacock is a timeless, traditional English village that looks like it has just stepped out of medieval times. Or the pages of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. This National Trust village is – as you would expect – perfectly preserved, with a wealth of centuries-old buildings and period features.

Lacock village
The people of Lacock village must be quite short!!

Set in rural Wiltshire, Lacock village is famous for its picturesque streets, historic buildings and for its use in the Harry Potter films.

Lacock village
Lacock village

Lacock village
Lacock village

Nothing is allowed to interfere with its looks, not even TV aerials or overhead cables. No wonder, then, that it’s the star of many movies and period dramas, including the adventures of a certain wizard from Hogwarts School.

Lacock doesn’t need to dress up for the occasion. All it has to do is be itself. And in doing so it extends a unique welcome as one of the most picturesque villages on the planet. The village is home to beautiful Lacock Abbey and the famous Fox Talbot photography museum.

Lacock village
Lacock village

Lacock village
Lacock village church

We wandered through the historic village filled with many great shops and places to have a relaxing meal. As we wandered around those ancient streets we discovered a mixture of period buildings ranging from black-and-white half-timbered to Georgian brick and honey-coloured Cotswold stone, 15th-century inns, and an ancient church.

Our first official stop was at the FoxTalbotMuseum.

The museum celebrates the achievements of former Lacock resident, William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.

 Lacock Abbey
Entering Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey, supplied many of Hogwarts’ classrooms.
Lacock Abbey, supplied many of Hogwarts’ classrooms.
Lacock village
Lacock Abbey courtyard

 Lacock Abbey
Lacock Abbey

The Abbey, located at the heart of the village within its own woodland grounds was founded in the 13th century and dissolved in 1539. The house eventually passed to the Talbot family. It is most often associated with William Henry Fox Talbot. In 1835 Talbot made the earliest known surviving example of a photographic negative, a photogenic print of the oriel window in the south gallery of the Abbey. Talbot continued with his experiments at the Abbey and by 1840 had discovered the negative/positive process to record photographic images by chemical means.

The cloisters of Lacock Abbey
The cloisters of Lacock Abbey

It is a quirky country house of various architectural styles. The Abbey is actually built upon the foundations of a former nunnery. Walking through the medieval rooms and cloister court, gave me a small taste of the Abbey’s monastic past.

Harry Potter location: Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Warming Room, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
Harry Potter location: Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Warming Room, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire

 Lacock Abbey
Lacock Abbey

Some interior sequences in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed at Lacock, including the cloister walk where Harry comes out from Professor Lockhart’s room after serving detention and hears the basilisk. During four days in October 2007 Lacock was also used to film some scenes for the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Warner Bros. announced that the spooky nights of Hogwarts were also filmed here with most of the main characters including Daniel Radcliffe.

Harry Potter location: Professor Snape’s Potions Class: Sacristy, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
Harry Potter location: Professor Snape’s Potions Class: Sacristy, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
Lacock village
Lacock village

 

England’s’ Fairytale Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle
Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle
Arriving at Bolsover Castle

Definitely one of my favourite outings in the East Midlands of England was my visit to Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire. Bolsover Castle is an unlikely mix of early Norman stronghold, Jacobean manor, country house, and romantic folly. The Norman castle was erected by the Peveril family shortly after the Conquest, but today little remains of that structure. The third Peveril was exiled in 1155 and Bolsover was siezed by the crown. We do know that there was a stone keep here around 1173, surrounded by a curtain wall. Parts of the curtain wall are incorporated in the “Wall Walk” in the castle gardens.

Bolsover Castle
Entering the ruins of the terrace range
Bolsover Castle
Feeling very short against the towering entrance

We started our Castles exploration in what was a vast and stately Terrace Range overlooking the Vale of Scarsdale. It is now a dramatic roofless shell but still very dramatic. I felt like a small kid exploring the ruins of what was once a stately building.

Bolsover Castle
What is left of the ballroom!
Bolsover Castle
Adel infront of the old stable door

In 1553 the castle was purchased from the crown by Sir George Talbot, later to become Earl of Shrewsbury. Talbot was later given the onorous post of gaoler to Mary, Queen of Scots, a duty which seriously dented his family finances. To ease the burden of debt, Bolsover was first leased, then sold, to Sir Charles Cavendish in 1612.

Bolsover Castle
Playing around in the ruins

The buildings we got to explore are largely the work of two men, Sir Charles and his son William, first Duke of Devonshire.

Bolsover Castle
I can just imagine how striking this place must have been
Bolsover Castle
Entering the Little Castle

In 1612 Sir Charles began what is now The Little Castle, a mock medieval keep. Cavendish built in a romantic style, consistent with his fanciful ideals of chivalry. He employed Robert Smythson to create from the Norman castle a mansion of turrets and towers in a grand mock-medieval style. Despite its imposing appearance, The Little Keep was designed with comfort, not defence. This castle provided luxurious living quarters, by the standards of the day, for Sir Charles and his retinue.

Bolsover Castle
This is the “Little Castle”, looks quite big to me!

As we entered the LIttle Castle building we were informed that there were 107 steps leading to the top of the castle on the main staircase. I did count the steps but came one short….needless to say I wasn’t going to climb them again just to make sure there are 107.

Bolsover Castle
Beutiful view out of the castle window

I loved walking through the beautiful rooms with their elaborate decorations. There is definitely a fairytale quality to BolsoverCastle, created by the sumptuously painted walls and ceilings of the Little Castle.

I loved the intricately carved fireplaces  and would have loved to see them all lit up on a cold winters night.  The richly-coloured murals and panelling of the castles’ miraculously preserved and beautifully restored interiors took me on an allegorical journey from earthly concerns to heavenly delights.

Bolsover Castle
The elaborately painted ceiling!
Bolsover Castle
The beautiful garden with its Venus fountain

We ended our visit with a walk through the small, walled garden with its Venus fountain in its centre. Here it felt as if I was walking in the footsteps of William Cavendish himself. 

Bolsover Castle
Leaving Bolsover Castle

A Quaint little Church in the Cotswolds, England

A Quaint little Church in the Cotswolds, England
While driving we spotted this Quaint little Church in the Cotswolds, England

I just love the countryside around the beautiful city of Bath. I love the low rock fences that stretch for miles along the narrow roads and through the rolling green fields of the South-West of England. The Cotswolds is an area filled witrh quiant villages and is a popular tourist destination and is known around the world.

The little church....
The little church….

While on a mini-road trip with my mom from Bath up to Cambridge we passed this little church along the side of the road.

England
Church found in the Cotswolds, England

We immediately stopped at this sweet little church here among the sheep filled fields of the countryside. Unfortunately the little church was locked so we couldn’t go inside. I do hope the inside looks as quaint as the exterior of this little stone building. I really dont know the name of this little church, maybe you know what it is called?

Dont you just love the welcoming blue door of the church?
Dont you just love the welcoming blue door of the church?

Dont you just love the welcoming blue door of the church?

 

I love that where you usually find gargoyles above the windows of the old churches this one has peaceful angles. Maybe because the little church is surrounded by a cemetery  the little church doesn’t need any scary gargoyles to protect it.

The Cheerful yet Fleeting Rapeseed Flowers of England

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Yellow fields stretch as far as the eye can see

During the month of June, England is filled with fields of yellow Rapeseed flowers! The green countryside of England turns a cheerful yellow as all along the roads in Cambridgeshire there are yellow rapeseed fields as far as the eye can see. I couldn’t wait to visit some of these cheerful fields with my mom. We had a fabulous time walking through these brightly coloured fields and trying to capture the flowers on film.

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Such a cheerful sight!!

The vibrant yellow flowers dominate many parts of rural Britain during the start of summer as oil from rapeseed is commonly used both in the home and in food production.

 

Rapeseed Flowers of England
In a field of cheerful yellow flowers!!
Rapeseed Flowers of England
The rolling fields of England are bright yellow!

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Bright Yelllow Rapeseed flowers!

Thanks to the recent warm weather and an increased demand from China and India British farmers are growing record crops of rapeseed. I have heard that it has even now become a tourist attraction as people from all over the world come to see the rolling fields of England covered in yellow.

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Rapeseed Flowers of England

I actually thought that I would have ample opportunity to drive around and visit varies rapeseed fields but the Rapeseed plants only bloom for about two weeks.

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Im in a sea of Yellow!!

Demand for the oil, known as Canola in the US, has rocketed as it is seen as a healthy home-grown alternative to imported olive oil. Rapeseed oil contains less saturated fat and has far more omega 3 fatty acids than olive oil and it also contains vitamin E. Sounds quite healthy but I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet. Wonder if it will affect the taste of food?

Rapeseed Flowers of England
The perfect place for a “YELLOW” experience

Rapeseed is grown for the production of animal feedvegetable oil for human consumption, and biodiesel.  

In North America, the term “canola” — a contraction of Canada and ola, for “oil” — is widely used to refer to rapeseed, and is now a trade name for “double low” (low erucic acid and low glucosinolate) rapeseed. Canola is also used in the production of margarine.

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Bright Yellow Rapeseed Flowers of England

Rapeseed leaves and stems are also edible and are sold as greens, primarily in Asian groceries, including those in California, where it is known as yao choy or tender greens. They are eaten as sag (spinach) in Indian and Nepalese cuisine, usually stir-fried with salt, garlic and spices. I am definitely going to be on the lookout for this next time I visit an Asian country or grocery store.

Rapeseed Flowers of England
Yellow Rapeseed Flower fields of England
Rapeseed Flowers of England
Rapeseed Flowers of England

The magnificent Painted Hall of Greenwich, London

Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre
Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre

March the weather in London is quite chilly and miserable so its the perfect time to explore the buildings found all over the city.  My friend Adel who actually lives in London now took me out to Greenwich for the morning. Greenwich is a district of South East London, England, and  is quite famous for being the spot where you can stand on the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.

Personally I think this is something I will come back and do in the summer when there is not an icy wind blowing about. Dressed warmly and wrapped up in our scarves we braved the cold and wet London had to offer that Saturday morning.

Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre
As you can see, we were dressed warm as it was quite chilly outside
Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre