London 2018: A Big Bus Tour and Hyde Park


Day 2, Monday, June 25, 2018

We slept in a bit – not that 8:30 is that late, but it is when we were all in bed by 9 the night before.  We got ready and were out the door by 10 am.

We decided to get a lay of the land and try out the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour that was included in our London pass.  We took the tube to the station where the buses pick up, and climbed aboard the Big Bus.  It started out so well…

A street scene from the Big Bus

 

Taryn’s favorite! Greene King Tavern

Then the bus hit a scooter.  Or perhaps the scooter hit the bus; it was a bit unclear what happened.  At any rate, the scooter driver (rider?) didn’t seem to be injured, because he drove (rode?) off, leaving the bus to sit there, on the side of the street, with the bus driver on the phone with the office, trying to sort out what he was supposed to do.

What he didn’t do was update any of the passengers, so we were just all sitting there wondering how long we would be sitting there.  Finally, after about 10 minutes we decided we would get out and explore on foot for awhile and then find another Big Bus to hop onto later.

We were right near Hyde Park, so we wandered in and explored.  There are all sorts of fountains with algae and pretty scenery.  Hyde Park has been an open park space since it was established as a hunting ground by King Henry VIII in 1536; it has been open to the public since 1637.  The park is also well known as a space where people can express their right to free speech – Speaker’s Corner has been a part of the park where people can debate and protest since 1872.

It was also a well known dueling ground in the 18th century, with 172 duels known to have occurred there, and 63 fatalities.  The military also used Hype Park as a place to conduct military executions.  With all that gore, I wonder how haunted the place is after dark!

In more recent times, Hyde Park has happier events associated with it, including an annual Christmas Market and music concerts.  Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Queen and the Live 8 concert all played in Hyde Park.

We also stopped by the Marble Arch.  It was built beginning in 1827, designed by John Nash after the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  It was intended to be the state entrance to a ceremonial courtyard at Buckingham Palace, but the palace was enlarged and the arch was moved to its current, rather inconvenient location on a traffic island.

Even though it was not completed with all the fancy friezes and the statue on the top, it is still quite pretty.  The horse head sculpture nearby is really cool too.  You can even play ping pong on the tables in front of it!

Me at the Marble Arch

 

A horse sculpture at the Marble Arch

After the Marble Arch, we managed to find a spot to get back on the Big Bus tour bus.  We planned to head over to the Tower of London, but once again, our plans went awry.  The bus was so packed and there was no air conditioning, so we were roasting hot as we rolled along.  We only made it as far as Westminster Abbey before we were all sweating to death.  We decided to change our plans and go to Westminster Abbey instead that afternoon – just so we could get off the bus!

Costs: BigBus Hop On/Off Tour – included in London Pass (34 pounds without pass).

 

 

 

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