Sunday, December 4, 2016

Day 9 - Cook breakfast -> Covent Garden -> St Paul's church -> Trafalgar Square -> The Athenaeum -> St James Palace -> Buckingham Palace -> St James Park -> House Guards Parade -> Big Ben -> Westminster Abbey -> House of Parliament -> Lunch at Giotto Italian

The next morning, we followed a half day London city walking tour by Sanderman. My son booked the tours online.
Though the tour is free, We give the tour guide a tip end of the trip based on her performance.
The tour guide, Rachel, was very good, professional, knowledgeable (she studied history and does theatre plays), full of sense of humour and very expressive. She made the whole tour very interesting.

Our ticket

We met at Covent Garden Station and after a brief introduction, we were introduced to the places of interest around Covent Garden.

Covent Garden’s 19th century Piazza

There are three markets located in Covent Garden’s 19th century Piazza, each offering a wide range of craft, gifts and more.

The Apple Market is found in the North Hall of the Marketing Building and sells British made crafts, jewellery, leather goods and more.

The East Colonnade Market has a variety of stalls selling products such as handmade soap, jewellery, handbags, hand-knitted
children's clothing, a magician's stall, sweets, artwork and homeware.

In the South Piazza, the Jubilee Market changes its wares daily. On Mondays, the market is dedicated to antiques. From Tuesday
to Friday, a general market operates with traders selling clothes and household goods. At weekends, the market offers arts and crafts.

Covent Garden Market - someone was singing opera here.

Near the Covent Garden was St Paul's Church. One needs to book many months to a year ahead to get married here. Many celebraties married here.

London transport museum ad jubilee market. The first market in Covent Garden piazza took place in 1654,
but the Jubilee Market was not built until 1904

Nice red brick building at the junction of Bedford Street and Maiden Ln and Chandos Pl. TGIF is situated at the corner shop.

Lovely, beautiful flowers

Statue of Edith Cavell, a British nurse from Norfolk - a monument to the First World War. The memorial is sited in
St Martin's Place, beside the A400. at the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square. he was matron at Berkendael Medical
Institute in Brussels when the First World War broke out in 1914. In addition to nursing soldiers from both sides without
distinction, she assisted some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. She was arrested in August 1915,
court-martialled, found guilty of treason, and shot by a German firing squad on 12 October 1915. Her story was used in
British propaganda as an example of German barbarism and moral depravity. Her remains were initially buried in Belgium,
but returned to Britain after the war in May 1919 for a state funeral at Westminster Abbey before she was finally buried
at Norwich Cathedral.

Trafalgar Square. It commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place
on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.

Trafalgar Square with Nelson column and the fountain. Nelson's Column is a monument to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died
at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The 169-foot (52 m) Nelson's Column at its centre is guarded by four lion statues. A number of
commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square but the Fourth Plinth, left empty since 1840, has been host to contemporary art
since 1999. Over the years, many different statues had been placed on it, when we were there it was the skeletal, riderless horse.
The horse is based on an engraving by Stubbs taken from ‘The Anatomy of the Horse’ Tied to the horse’s front leg is an electronic
ribbon displaying live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange, completing the link between power, money and history. The current object
is a bronze sculpture of a human hand in a thumbs-up gesture, with the thumb greatly elongated. To the top of the thumb, the sculpture is
7 metres (23 ft) tall.

Again, Rachel told us histories about the Wars England fought against Spain and the brillant war captain.

Nelson's Column was designed to honour Admiral Nelson, after his victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The granite statue is five metres
high and stands on a bronze platform made from old guns from the Woolwich Arsenal Foundry.

Opposite the square is the National Gallery.

Equestrian statue of George IV on the extreme right.

St.Martins-in the fields, a Georgian church in the background

Next stop was the Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum is a private members' club in London, founded in 1824. It only admitted women since 2002.
It is primarily a club for men and women with intellectual interests, and particularly (but not exclusively)
for those who have attained some distinction in science, literature or the arts.

The impressive clubhouse was designed in the Neoclassical style with a Doric portico, above which is a statue
of the classical goddess of wisdom, Athena, from whom the Club derives its name. See photo below.
The bas-relief frieze is a copy of the frieze of the Parthenon in Athens.

To get a membership one must be vetted by the previous class of occupiers and transfer a joining fee of £2,000
and an annual subscription fee of £1,500.

Nearby stands Crimean War Memorial - the statues of Florence Nightingale and Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea

A short walk later along Pall Mall, we arrived at St James Palace but we missed the change of guards! Rachel consoled us that there was something better in Buckingham
Palace, our next stop. This place is pretty quiet and did not attract many crowds as Buckingham.
St James's Palace is the official residence of the sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster,
although no longer the principal residence of the monarch, it is the ceremonial meeting place of the Accession Council and the London residence of several
members of the royal family.

Memorial to Queen Alexandria, built into the garden wall of Marlborough House, opposite St. James's Palace
A short walk brought us to Buckingham Palace. The number of tourists at the Palace were overwhelming, easily, few thousands people!
Everyone was trying to catch a glimpse of the change of guards. Crowds were at every corner of the Palace. The cermony begins at 11am.
Most people were already here before 11am to secure a good view.

Fountain in frontof palace

Change of guards ceremony.

Garden outside the Palace

After the change of guards, the band will march out from the palace onto the streets.
Police getting ready for the march out

Buckingham Palace

London eye taken from St James Park, a beautiful park.

London Eye was taken from this bridge

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster
and often referred to as the clock and the clock tower. The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower,
renamed to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012; previously it was known simply as the Clock Tower.
When completed in 1859, it was, says clockmaker Ian Westworth, “the prince of timekeepers: the biggest, most accurate
four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world.” The tower had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009.

A British cultural icon, the tower is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and is often in the
establishing shot of films set in London.

The dial of the Great Clock of Westminster. The hour hand is 9 feet (2.7 m) long and the minute hand is 14 feet (4.3 m) long.
The clock has become a cultural symbol of the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth Tower.

Queen Boudica Statue

St Giles in the Fields Church

Enroute to Westminter Square

Statue of Abraham Lincoln. There are a total of 11 statues of British, Commonwealth, and foreign statesmen in the westminister square.

HM Treasury Building Parliament Square

Middlesex Guildhall

The Royal College of St Peter usually referred to as Westminster College has been here (in the grounds of Westminster Abbey) since the 12th century.

The Methodist Central Hall, Westminster is a multi-purpose venue and tourist attraction in City of Westminster, London. It serves primarily as a Methodist church and a conference centre, but also as an art gallery and an office building
Westminster School Memorial outside Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbe. For 1000 years, the Abbey has hosted a fantastic variety of events; the crowning of kings and queens, weddings,
christenings and proclamations were all held within this magnificent building.

The Palace of Westminster from Parliament Square in London. The tower is named The Victoria Tower and forms part of the palace.
The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of
the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants.

One of the Metal Gate of Imperial War Museums, Churchill War Rooms

London eye

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