Yesterday we made a last-minute decision to spend our final day at Greenwich so we quickly made plans and headed out late in the morning after walking the dogs. In retrospect, we wish we had left earlier and made a full day of it or even planned on a second day as Greenwich is jam packed with things to see and the bonus is many of them are free!
Our journey involved a quick bus ride, then on the tube to the Embankment Station where we got off and walked across the street to the MBNA Thames Clipper pier for a trip on the river to Greenwich. You can use your Oyster card on the water bus and its much cheaper than the more touristy ‘hop on hop off’ tours (about half the price) and you can see the Parliament Buildings, Big Ben, Westminster in the background, the London Eye and the London Tower Bridge… all along the Thames. As they say its more about the journey than the destination which took us about an hour but we totally enjoyed the experience of the water bus. It’s a great way to get around all the London sites with stops in front of them if you want to shorten the walking. Here is a link and some info about where you can catch the MBNA Water Bus and the areas it services.
As soon as you get off at the Greenwich Pier you are in the middle of all the action, just walk straight ahead and you’ll get to the Tourist Information Center and Old Royal Naval College Visitor Center. To the right, you’ll see the Cutty Sark Ship and further ahead you’ll run into the Greenwich Market with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops surrounding the area. We choose to go straight ahead, through the beautiful park and to the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Peter Harrison Planetarium to get to the Prime Meridian. This is the place on earth where east meets west at 0 degrees, 0 minutes and 0 seconds, the starting point for the worlds navigational systems. I didn’t want to pay for the tourist trap and we only had a few hours so I took a quick photo and we continued on to tour The Queens House, had some lunch from the street vendors in front of the Painted Hall and headed back home on the underground from the Cutty Sark for Maritime Station across from the Market.
It was a quick tour for us but had I known we would have planned on at least two days in Greenwich; there is the National Maritime Museum, The University, Painted Hall and so much more to explore. Here is a good map to help plan your trip, everything is walkable and easy to find as the whole town is well signed pointing you to the important sites. Here is a link to our photos at Greenwich.
The previous day we made a trip downtown to continue exploring some of the sites we passed by quickly on our first day. From the Embankment Station, we walked across the Hungerford bridge and along the waterfront past the London Eye for a nice stroll along the Thames to the Westminster Bridge. It was a bit eerie crossing the bridge as this was where a week earlier that crazy terrorist had run down and killed people with a rented car, flowers were still hung along the bridge in memorial. It didn’t deter tourism though as the bridge and streets were jam packed, the news had said that tourism was up 61% for this Easter weekend.
On the other side, we walked around the Parliament buildings and along Westminster Abbey for a better look at these impressive structures. Across the street from Parliament we caught a bus up to Trafalgar Square and wandered through the west side theatre district and made our way to China Town where we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately, the food was terrible and overpriced but the experience was great since London has such a vibrant China town. Another great day gone by in this English capital, we really enjoyed our visit. Here are the pics from our two weeks in London.
London has been so much fun, more than I had expected and so we’ll plan to return here in the future to continue our explorations. Besides being such a stunning cosmopolitan city it is a major hub for the rest of Europe. Traveling from its major airport Heathrow and the smaller Gatwick connects throughout the world and Europe but some great deals can be had from its satellite airports like Luton or Stansted where we are flying to Croatia from tonight for about $60 CDN. Now we leave for more foreign waters following the Adriatic Sea touring the south of Croatia where we hope to experience the mild Mediterranean climate it is known for. Stay tuned for posts from the beautiful Croatian coastline!