Day 9, Monday, July 2, 2018
After lunch at the Borough Market, we walked across the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian only bridge over the River Thames. This bridge is incredible! It is a steel suspension bridge that was originally opened in 2000. However, it got the nickname, the Wobbly Bridge, because of a huge swaying motion that was an issue on the opening day of the bridge. The swaying was so bad that they had to close it down and make modifications to the design; it wasn’t opened again until 2002. Thankfully the swaying is no longer a problem, especially since it was breezy the day we visited!
The breeze was nice on such a hot day – I still can’t believe that we were treated to two weeks of incredible sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s while we were there. We got great views of the river and the boats passing under the bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral’s south facade is framed in the supports of the bridge. What a view and it is free!
Next we went over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s has an incredibly long history. The first church on the site was built in 604, but burned in 675. The second one was destroyed by the Vikings, and then a third church was built in 962. Of course, there was a fire at the next church in 1087, but it was rebuilt by the Normans who wanted to make it the longest and tallest church in the world; another fire slowed down the work. It was finished in 1240. The current St. Paul’s is believed to be the fourth to have stood on the site, and it was built between 1675 and 1710. Services at the current cathedral began in 1697. The decor around the choir area was added in the late 1800s. The cathedral was originally a Roman Catholic Church, but… you probably know how the Catholics fared in medieval England. St. Paul’s is now an Anglican Cathedral.
Taryn and I visited, but the guys didn’t want to, so they went and found a pub to wait out our visit. St. Paul’s is stunning, but unfortunately, they don’t allow photos inside. I did sneak one… St. Paul’s also has two really interesting features. The basement of the church is where their crypts and burials are; there are several pretty interesting burials there, as well as smaller areas to worship. The truly impressive experience is not for the unfit… You can climb up the steps to the tower and go outside on top! St. Paul’s is located at the highest point in London, so the view from there is awesome. Of course, there are 528 steps to get to the top…
Of course Taryn and I chose to climb the steps and check out the view, along with every other tourist in London. The spiral staircase was narrow and a little nerve-wracking, and it was certainly hot! At one spot there is a seating area above the main section of the cathedral and you can look down and see into the church. What a neat perspective! Then we continued up the stairs. It took longer than we expected because we had to wait for the people in front of us, so pack your patience if you decide to go. It was so worth it when you get to the top, step outside and see the view! And the breeze cooled us down after all that stair climbing! I loved it!
Climbing down is faster because you are heading down, and there isn’t the bottleneck of people on the stairs that you have on the way up… We got to the bottom, took some photos of the outside of the cathedral and found the guys at the pub.
We walked over to check out the London Eye, but ultimately decided not to go on it. It was really packed and I’m sure the line would have taken a while. The cheapest ticket was 27 pounds. Nobody really seemed that into it because we had already seen the view from the Shard, the Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral… It is pretty though!
We headed back to the hotel and decided to do a quick, fast food dinner at Nando’s Chicken; they are supposed to be known for their Portuguese chicken. I didn’t think that it was anything special and was sort of annoyed because I tried to order a salad as a side, but was told that they ran out. Next thing you know, Brandon, who ordered AFTER me, gets a salad! Seriously?!!?
The rest of the evening, Taryn and I relaxed in the room (we didn’t want to walk anymore!) while the guys went and did their laundry and went to the pub. We had such a busy day and were going to have another big day the next day!
Tube Stations: St. Paul’s to Earl’s Court
Costs: Millennium Bridge – free, St. Paul’s Cathedral – 20 pounds (free with London Pass), dinner at Nando’s Chicken (fast food)
Fitbit Steps: 18,760