September 13, 2017 8 comments

London…Hop On, Hop Off

Wow, our first trip into the big city and we almost missed it! We had purchased our train tickets online at a great discount because we had earlier obtained a National Rail Two Together card. We also bought our tour tickets online so we thought we were all set. But…when we picked up our tickets at the railway station I (Mark) realized I forgot our Rail Card at our home. It’s clearly stated that you must present both the card and tickets if asked when the agent comes through for their ticket check. Our new friend Jane, who we’ve met at our housesit, had graciously driven us to the station and now we had to phone her, and ask if she could come back and take us home to get the forgotten card. That also meant returning us back to the station, about a 20 minute trip each way. What a trooper, she returned to get us but needless to say we missed our intended train but caught the next one into London. So, after two trips to the train station, one train and two subways, we reached the Original Tour office to board our double decker bus for the narrated guided tour. 

Our Tour Experience 

First off, this tour is excellent! Our guides (we had two who split the trip) were incredibly knowledgeable of not only the sites, but the historical significance of each. The kings, the queens, the conquerors, the architects, who all contributed to the London we see today, get their due.

Our guide explaining how St. Paul’s Cathedral was bombed during WW2

It’s always amazing for us as Canadians to actually see and hear about how old many of the landmarks are in the UK, and how they’ve managed to age magnificently. Every building or statue that has been referenced in books or movies that we’ve all seen: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben to name a few, were experienced. In old cities there is always ongoing restoration, and London is not exempt. Scaffolding abounds around Parliament and churches all in need of some TLC. Sadly right now Big Ben is undergoing a facelift, which could take up to four years, so it will remain silent for a while. As the tour bus wove up and down the streets of London, we were able to capture a few of the sites with our camera. The pictures don’t really due them any justice as the sites are spectacular!  

City of London Dragon, marks the original entrance to the city
The London Eye
House of Lords
St. James Palace
Trendy London Flats…yours for only 5 million pounds
More prime real estate options
Even in September the crowds flock to the city
Architectural details
Tower Castle with tower in the background
British Parliament
The craftsmanship and details of construction

Initially the weather was fine, just slightly overcast with the occasional burst of sunshine. Nearer the end of the 2 ½ hour tour it got quite cool and windy, so we decided not to take the included Thames River boat tour. Our day in London was capped off with some pints and a light meal at The Admiralty pub in Trafalgar Square before we caught the subways and train to return home.







The tour was better than expected and we’ll use it as a reference as to what to explore closer when we return, maybe next year, who knows? The beauty of taking a tour like we did, is that it would likely be impossible to see everything on your own, and to drive it yourself would be insane. The high volume of traffic never stops, just like every major city in the world. Lastly I want to mention that no one ever came through to check our tickets so we may have been able to make the earlier train, oh well.

Happy Trails…

Linda & Mark

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8 Comments on “

    1. A little hairy to start, but totally worth every penny! Highly recommended way of seeing the sights so that you can narrow down what you want to explore further. London is a very dynamic city.

  1. Mark and linda Your pictures are so lovely Isn’t London a wonderful place? You can feel the history. Please be cautious after todays bombing. Again!!! Love Joan

    1. Yes, it’s a beautiful city…we were in awe! We will be careful as we have to take the London Tube System tomorrow to catch our train to York. Luckily, it’s a different line than the one affected today. Looking forward to a few weeks in North Yorkshire. Stay tuned! xo

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  3. I’ve done the hop on, hop off in London. We did a three day stay and the bus was the best way to get around London. I would definitely do it again. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    1. Yes, we think along the same line as you. Wish we had had more time, but at least now we know what we’d like to focus on next time. We’re returning to the UK next year for 2-3 months, so hopefully we get back to London.

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