Last week my husband had a one day conference to attend down in London. It was the school half term holidays and we had the offer of the use of a house for the week. How could we say no?!
The boys were so excited about the prospect, not just of a week in London exploring the sights, but of the train journey all the way down too! I have to say, I was pretty excited too!
The holiday didn't disappoint.
It was amazing.
We packed as much as we could into every day and became quite adept at jumping on and off various modes of public transport. We traveled by bus, underground train, overground train and even took the commuter boat along the river Thames one day!
Before going any further, I should warn you that you might want to go and grab a cup of coffee or something. There are quite a few photos and these are only from last Monday!
So, let's going.
First stop was the Imperial War Museum. With a husband who loves military history, and four boys, it had to be the first port of call.
A short walk from the War Museum takes you up to the River Thames and you can see the Houses of Parliament.
Just across from them is the London Eye, which was far too extortionately priced for us to even consider going on!
When we saw Big Ben, the boys were saying how strange it is to see something in real life that you know so well from television, newspapers and even film.
Just across from Parliament is Westminster Abbey, where William & Kate were married last year. As well as being the scene of many more Royal events, I should add!
Then, not too far from there we came upon Downing Street, home of the Prime Minister.
Although, you can't actually see it properly as it is hidden behind a huge fence and several heavily armed policemen.
Our next discovery was the Horseguards.
As we passed, they were lining up.
Turns out that every day at 4pm they have their inspection.
In days past, this was the entrance to the Royal Palaces and so that is where the tradition of the guards being here comes from. When not guarding the palace, and putting on quite a show for tourists, this battalion are the tank regiment, so my husband informs me anyway.
I love this next photo. It's so iconically 'London', don't you think?
We continued walking (we did A LOT of walking) up to Trafalgar Square.
Home of Nelson on his column.
And the lions.
Of course, all tourists visiting Trafalgar Square need to climb up to the lions and have their photo taken with them!
Once we had done that, we crossed over to the archway in the middle here...
...which takes you to the Mall, the road leading up to the Royal Palaces.
It was our day for stumbling across guard changes, because outside Clarence House these guys...
...were about to be relieved.
A little along from there and we reached the Queen's residence.
This is the memorial to Queen Victoria.
If you think this is grand, you should see the one she had built for her husband, Prince Albert! I'll leave that till another post though.
I was quite surprised when we found this lovely park across from Buckingham Palace. It had some very tame squirrels. One of them tried to run up James' leg!
We walked through the park and back along to the Horseguards Parade ground. The earlier photos of the Horseguards were taken at the other side of those archways in the middle.
Here's a question for anyone who's still with me and hasn't given up yet! The parade ground in the photo above was the venue for one of the sports in this year's Olympics. Anyone recognise it?
I shall tell all tomorrow :0)