Tag Archive | Trafalgar Square

London 2018: Trafalgar and some Pie

Day 6, Friday, June 29, 2018

After our tour of the Ben Franklin House, we walked over to Trafalgar Square.  We checked out the buskers and the chalk artists.  Some of them had a lot of talent and creativity!

We wandered through the National Gallery for a bit; I loved that London has so many free art and culture museums.  It was so cool.  We barely scratched the surface, spending about an hour wandering the galleries and checking out the art.  You could easily spend days there, but we were there at the end of the day, and you can only do so much museum wandering before you get worn out.

The National Gallery

 

A tiger at the National Gallery

After the National Gallery, we found the Admiralty Pub, where Brandon was waiting for us because he got museumed out before the rest of us.  The Admiralty had an awesome special, where you could get three sample sized beers and three pies for 18.95 pounds!  All four of us got the same special and then we all decided which beer and which pie were our favorites.  One thing is clear.  I am not a fan of English beer.  It’s too flat and generally too warm for my taste.  Mostly on this trip, I drank cider.  The pies were excellent though!

The pie trio included Steak and London Pride, with carmelized shallots, button mushrooms and thyme, Sweet Potato and Mature Stilton with wilted spinach, nutmeg, baby onions and rosemary, and Chicken Tikka Masala, with coconut, coriander and toasted almonds.  The beers were London Pride, ESB and Frontier.  My favorite was the sweet potato pie, with the steak pie coming in second.  The others favored the Chicken Tikka Masala pie. It was cool to be able to try different styles and flavors, instead of committing to just one.  It was a great meal!

My pie and beer trio at the Admiralty Pub

We headed back to the hotel on the tube and got there a little after 9; it was another good day.

Tube Stations:  Charing Cross to Earl’s Court (hotel)
Costs: The National Gallery – free, dinner at the Admiralty Pub – beer and pie trio 18.95 pounds, plus a cider.
Fitbit Steps: 14,550 (5.56 miles)

 

London 2018: This and That and the Royal Mews

Day 6, Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday morning we slept in a bit, then headed over to tour the Ben Franklin House.  After waiting for about 30 minutes for the house to open at noon, we discovered that you had to pre-book tickets and the noon tour was already full.  UGH…  Oh well, we got to see a pretty park on the way over and check out a pub called the Sherlock Holmes.  We decided to book the last tour of the day at 4:15, and do some other sightseeing in between.

A park close to the Ben Franklin house

 

The Sherlock Holmes Pub

Next up – Trafalgar Square.  Yep.  It’s a square – what more is there to say?  It has statues, and a fountain, and is ringed by historic buildings – in a word, beautiful.  Several of the statues were blocked from view by a concert stage that had been erected for an upcoming event.  We didn’t stay too long, but we did end up there again later in the day, so I will save my photos for that post.

A horse statue at Trafalgar Square

From there we wandered down to Buckingham Palace, via The Mall, and passed through an impressive arch called the Admiralty Arch.  It was completed in 1912, commissioned by King Edward VII as a memorial to his mother Queen Victoria.  Along the way, we saw a model posing for a photographer in the middle of the street, but the middle lane is reserved for royalty, so they could get away with standing in the middle lane of the street.  Big city sights.

Admiralty Arch – completed in 1912

 

Admiralty Arch

Once we got to Buckingham Palace we took a look at it, and scoped out the best spot to watch the changing of the guard on another day.  We saw the gardens, which were pretty, but a bit wilted in the heat.  We went back to Buckingham Palace later the next week to see the changing of the guard, so I’ll save the photos for then.

The Buckingham Palace Gardens

Next we walked to The Royal Mews, on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.  The mews was at one time a place where falcons were housed, but in more recent years they started using it for the carriage horses.  A mews got its name because falcons go through a cyclic loss of feathers, called molting, or mewing.  When they started using the mews for stables, the name stuck.

The Royal Mews was fascinating for me.  The royals only use Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays for their carriages; interestingly using the Cleveland Bays helped to save the breed from dying out.  The greys are used to transport the queen and the royal family, while the bays are used to transport high level officials such as ambassadors.  They have several horses there in stalls, so you can see them close up.

One of the Windsor Greys, snoozing

The carriages were incredible; one of them is gilded!  The Gold State Coach was commissioned by George III in 1762, and has been used for every royal coronation since George IV in 1821.  It weighs four tonnes and needs eight horses to pull it.  It is so heavy that it can only be pulled at a walk and it requires 27 meters to stop!  Ah, the things you learn when you read the plaques.  It is quite the showpiece.

The Diamond Jubilee coach is the newest coach, built in 2014 in Australia.  The interior wood comes from donated pieces from over 100 historic sites across Britain.  The gilded crown on the top of the coach can hold a camera to record its journey.  However, let’s just say that there are so many coaches that it became difficult to tell them apart – the Glass Coach, the Irish State Coach, the Scottish Coach, so many coaches, so little time…

They also had a few of the cars on display, in case a carriage wasn’t suitable for that day or that event.  It must be tough to be a royal.

After the Mews, we were ready to eat.  Taryn and I were interested in a farm-to-table style pub with fancier ingredients than the usual pub fare, but the guys weren’t interested.  After a bit of an argument, we got lunch at a wood-fired Italian pizza restaurant.  Sometimes it is tough to find something everybody agrees on!  We then took a wander through St. James’ Park, before continuing the day’s touristing.  There was still so much to do!

A view at St. James’ Park

 

Me in London’s St. James’s Park

Tube Stations: Earl’s Court (hotel) to Charing Cross Station
Costs: The Royal Mews – 12 pounds (free with London Pass), lunch – pizza (I thought the name of the restaurant was Capricciosa, but I am unable to find it online – sigh…)