Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 Today we’re picking up right after our tour of the Tower of London. Just a few steps away from the White Tower is the iconic Tower Bridge (often mistaken for London Bridge). It has been turned into a museum that allows visitors to ascend the towers and walk across the skywalk bridge 42 meters above the River Thames. If you don’t care to visit the museum, you can walk along the bridge at street level without sacrificing too many views.
Jon and I had no issue buying tickets onsite and Tower Bridge seemed relatively empty compared to the Tower of London. We climbed about 200 stairs up the north tower and skipped the museum exhibits. The bridge was built between 1886 and 1894 and made of materials all from Britain. We also passed on seeing the steam room because we were getting too hungry, but in 1976 the bridge transitioned to electric power.
The highlight of going inside Tower Bridge is walking across the glass floor with only the bridge and river beneath you. We also enjoyed seeing London from a different perspective. You can see the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral above the skyline foreshadowing our third excursion of the day.
Proof that we walked on the scary part that is not actually scary. We didn’t see any bridge lifts while we were in London, but it would be worth looking up ahead of time!
We headed to Borough Market for lunch and it was quite the experience! I pictured it being more like Seven Dials Market, but it was completely outdoors and packed. I’d been wanting to go to The Black Pig after seeing someone post about it on Instagram, and it took us about ten minutes to find the booth. I ordered the Honey Truffle Parmesan (slow roast free range pork shoulder, honey truffle mayo, fennel & apple slaw with 30mo aged parmesan on toasted ciabatta) and Jon picked the Salsa Verde (slow roast free range pork shoulder, aioli, fennel & apple slaw with Italian salsa verde on toasted ciabatta). These sandwiches were delicious and also very filling! I’d definitely recommend stopping by Borough Market for lunch if you’re visiting London.
After lunch we headed to St. Paul’s Cathedral passing by Shakespeare’s Globe on the way.
St. Paul’s Cathedral isn’t nearly as grand as Westminster Abbey, but we still had a great time walking through. Sir Christopher Wren, the architect, wanted a simple, open church but his vision was later changed by Queen Victoria and only the entrance remained unadorned. I just realized when writing this that we forgot to go up to see the galleries. It’s possible they were closed by the time we got to the cathedral, but we were a bit tired from all our sightseeing and walking so it might’ve taken us a while to get up the 528 steps.
The original cathedral burned down from a fire, so St. Paul’s Cathedral was rebuilt from 1675 to 1710. The new design by Sir Christopher Wren was inspired by St. Peters in Rome and features the iconic 365 foot domed ceiling. St. Paul’s Cathedral survived many bombings during WWII and is now a symbol of resilience.
This cathedral is most known for hosting Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding to Prince Charles and hosting Queen Ann, Queen Victoria, and Winston Churchill’s funerals. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving was held here, but Her Majesty wasn’t feeling up to attending.
This Duke of Wellington Memorial took 54 years to complete and honors him for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Behind the alter is the American Memorial Chapel honoring the 28,000 Americans in Britain that lost their lives in WWII. You can also find a picture of George Washington on the stained-glass windows.
Jon and I enjoyed listening to a free audio guide, but you can also take a free tour to see areas not available to the public.
We took the tube back to our hotel and rested for a bit before it was time to head out to dinner and to Mamma Mia! We planned to go to Pilgrim Pizza, but the wait was too long so we went to our favorite Anita Gelato. We knew it would be quick and it’s never failed us before. I got my usual Cookieman and Caramel Cheesecake and Jon got Caramel Cheesecake and a new flavor that tasted a lot like Cookieman. The London Anita Gelato location had just opened a week before our trip, I think it was meant to be!
We finished our first full day seeing Mamma Mia and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to! It differed slightly from the movie, but was the perfect show to see in London. It was incredibly high energy and so hard to not sing along with every song. The actress that played Donna, Mazz Murray, was incredible and her voice gave me the chills! The only negative about the show was there was quite a bit of talking/singing by the audience around us and you had to buy the programs separately for five pounds. I’d rank this show third behind Hamilton and the Music Man. I’d highy recommend seeing Mamma Mia if you’re in London, it was so fun! Jon and I kept singing Waterloo throughout our time in London because we would pass by the station on the tube.
Stay tuned for our day in Windsor touring the Queen’s favorite residence 🙂
Posts in my Paris and London Anniversary series:
- Day 1 – Saint Chapelle, the Concierge, and Notre Dame
- Day 2 – Palace of Versailles
- Day 2 – Versailles Garden
- Day 2 – Touring the Versailles Summer Homes
- Day 3 – Louvre Museum
- Day 3 – Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe
- Day 4 – Montmartre & Sacre Coeur
- Day 4 – Musee d’Orsay & Crepes
- Day 5 – Luxembourg Gardens & Eglise Saint-Eustache
- Day 5 – Going up the Eiffel Tower
- Day 6 – Rodin Museum
- Day 6 – Palais Garnier & Galleries Lafayette