Our first full day in London started(after breakfast) with a trip over to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. On the way, we stopped for a photo-op at a phone booth.
I don’t remember this being such a mob scene when I was last there 20 years ago. We were about an hour early getting to the palace and people were already surrounding the area waiting for the event. It got even more crowded over the hour. The ceremony also seemed to be bigger than back then as well, but I may be misremembering that. It’s fun to see once, but if I go back again, I will skip this.
We then headed over to the Churchill War Rooms. I was really surprised at how long the lines were. We were told the wait to get in without a timed entry ticket was 1.5 hours. As we were looking online to see about buying tickets for the next day, the line suddenly started moving, so we waited. The wait was a lot shorter than expected and we were able to get in. It was a very interesting museum and I had it eventually tell the kids that they had to move faster through so we could get to our next destination. I would highly recommend this.
We then walked past Westminster Abbey on the way to the Houses of Parliament. My daughter wanted to sit in on a Parliament session, so we only took pictures of the abbey and didn’t go in. At Parliament, we were told that it was too full and we should check back in an hour. While we waited we went back to the Supreme Court building that had a free entry sign out front and ended up sitting in on a trial there. We then went back, got in to Parliament and sat in on a session about retail issues.
From there, we walked across Westminster Bridge to get a photo of Big Ben and then took the Underground to Kensington, walked through the gardens to the Albert Memorial and the Diana Memorial Fountain. We had a few issues getting to the area where we planned to eat dinner due to a major fire in an expensive hotel(pop star Robbie Williams was there and evacuated) blocking most of the roads to the station. We made it to the pub, walked down to Downing Street and Trafalgar Square and then took the bus back to the apartment.
The bus ride was good, but slow, which stressed out my son who had a Skype interview that night and barely made it back in time. He got off the bus a stop early and ran to the apartment. The two of us went out after to a local craft beer place where we ran in to a random student band dancing down the street.
It was a long day, but very fun.
Walking stats: 26,414 steps. 29 flights climbed. 9.5 miles.