The very first impression I had about London was from 1984’s TV drama–"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" starring Jeremy Brett and David Burke. It always showed London as a foggy place where people wore dark-colored long coats and brought umbrellas to stroll on the busy streets. Later on, I recieved a card from a friend and there was the famous Palace of Westminster and Big Ben clock tower showing behind a thin mist and twilight, which made London a beautiful and mysterious place for me and I longed to be there.
St.Pacras international station is the first place I arrived in London. It’s on the immediate west of King’s Cross station that was adopted as the station where Harry Potter went to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
At the bank of River Thames, which is the second longest river in England that flows through the center of London and several cities such as Oxford and Windsor. The building on the right is Houses of Parliament. The London Eye is on the left.
Houses of Parliament, also known as "Palace of Westminster."
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben clock tower. Houses of Parliament has over 1,100 rooms and spans 265 meters. The present Houses of Parliament was mainly rebuilt after the fire in 1834 with very detailed Gothic-style towers. This scene is probably seen the most on cards and bookmarks, and it is indeed the first knowledge I had about Big Ben and Houses of Parliament while I received a greeting card from my friend. I was trying to capture this photo with various angels; despite the reconstruction scaffolds that compromised a bit of this gorgeous view, the light was not perfect either.
Big Ben clock tower, 55 meters above the ground.
The bridge in front of Houses of Parliament is Westminster Bridge.
Another side of Houses of Parliament, in which that delicately designed Gothic-style windows and towers astonish people from all over the world.
Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Houses of Parliament, was built in 1097 and the largest hall in Europe that time. Big Ben clock tower can also be seen here as it has 4 faces all equipped with clocks.
Big Ben seen from Westminster Square during dusk.
Westminster Abbey that locates to the west of Houses of Parliament. It is a church that serves as a coronation and burial site for British monarchs.
Tower of London. It was originally a "left-over" of a fortress from Roman period until William the Conqueror built the "White Tower" in the center in 1078. Tower of London served as a fortress, palace, and prison as well. It’s especially famous for imprisoning Henry Tudor’s 2 wives, one of them being Anne Boleyn, and his chancellor–Thomas More. Since imprisonment in Tower of London often led to the tragic fates, there were haunting stories of the ghosts of princes and maidens.
I was not able to squeeze the time out to view the inside of the Tower. I am quite familiar and interested in the history of Tudor period through the epic drama–The Tudors, and it was unfortunate that I did not get to see the genuine trail of this part of history. Maybe next time? Definitely!
Tower of London looks splendid from outside, but the stories of Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, Jane Gray, and many more who were executed after the imprisonment here, made me think that these walls witnessed their final moments and actually sent some chills to my back.
This is Trinity House, just on the north of Tower Hill subway station
Tower Bridge that spans on River Thames. It was constructed in 1894 by architect Horace Jones, who was inspired by the mechanical bridge on the canal in Netherlands. It is comprised with two towers and bridges.
The higher bridge connects the two 65-meter towers and its primary function is for people to gaze and admire the vision of London and River Thames. The lower bridge is for car traffic and pedestrians. The middle of the lower bridge can be separated and raised 83 degrees up to allow ships on River Thames to pass.
London’s economic and trade center can be seen from one side of the Tower Bridge
Hay’s Galleria was reconstructed from a wharf on the bank of River Thames. Now it contains stores, restaurants, and offices, just like a small shopping center.
Southwark Cathedral–the founder of Harvard University, John Harvard, was baptized here.
Shakespeare’s Globe theater is just near River Thames.
River Thames and Southwark Bridge. There are many bridges that span on River Thames, and Southwark Bridge is one of them.
Millennium Bridge was built in 2000 by Norman Foster to celebrate the millennium. This bridge serves primarily for pedestrians. It is also the background of one of the scenes in the 6th installment of Harry Potter movie–Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Saint Paul’s cathedral can be viewed while walking on Millennium Bridge. This cathedral was originally built only by wood in year 604 but had a major renovation after the flame that consumed London in 1708.
Closer view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
I actually took subway and got off at Tower Hill stop that’s near Tower of London and walked to Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Hay’s Galleria, Shakespear’s Globe theater, Mellienium Bridge, and finally arrived to Saint Paul’s Cathedral and hopped on the subway at the nearest station there. It was a nice stroll but you need a nice pair of walking shoes and strong legs…and minus the extra wrong roads I took…
Wondering what the least expensive and most convenient way to get around in London? Use an Oyster Card. Personally I do not know why it’s called an Oyster Card but feel the name’s kinda cute. Anyways, first you need to deposit a few pounds to get the card, but you can get the deposit back after you no longer need it and return it in any subway station. Then you just choose how many days you want to go around in London and store the required amount of money in the card. Tata~off you go–just swipe the card whenever you take the subway and you can hop on the subway as many times as you desire! This applies to busses in London area too. Works just like Taiwan’s MRT card, how charming!
I was surprised by London’s subways–not only they are extremely easy to understand and generally pretty clean, they also conveniently connect many trainstations that go out of London city.
Some nice views of London Eye, Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben at night.