Day 29: Saturday 26th July
London is a very big place. In Sydney, 4.5 million people live in Sydney but there are more than 9 million people living in London and it can be scary in such a big city when you don’t know it. So Miss Hannaford and I went on a special bus tour of London. The top of the bus had no roof so we could see the sights easily.
The first thing we saw was Westminster Abbey. The abbey is one of the biggest churches in the world and it is where the King or Queen of England is crowned. The present Queen is Queen Elizabeth II and she was crowned here in June 1953.
Right next door to Westminster Abbey is the Palace of Westminster where the British Parliament meets. The most famous part of the parliament building is the tower, which in 2012 was officially named the Queen Elizabeth Tower. The world knows the tower by another name- Big Ben. The name Big Ben doesn’t refer to the tower but the largest bell inside the tower that chimes the hour.
The next stop on the tour was Horseguards Parade. This is a big open square area with buildings on 3 sides. The soldiers who are on guard here for the Queen, sit on horses and wear very shiny armour. Some of the soldiers where red coats under their armour and have white horse tails coming out of their helmets and the other soldiers wear blue coats under their amour and have red string coming out of their helmets.
The next stop was Trafalgar Square. This place is very famous in London because it has a really big column in the middle of it with a man standing on top of it. The column is called Nelson’s Column and the man standing on it is Admiral Horatio Nelson who defeated the French and Spanish fleets at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805- one of England’s most decisive naval battles.
Our next stop was to travel over Tower Bridge. Many people think of this bridge when they hear the song London Bridge is falling down but that is a different bridge in London. This famous bridge is called Tower Bridge because it is right next to the famous Tower of London.
Here is a video Miss Hannaford made while we travelled over Tower Bridge!
Once we crossed the bridge, the tour finished back at Buckingham Palace so Miss Hannaford and I decided to visit one of the last palaces in Europe where the King or Queen actually live! The Queen was away on her holiday in Scotland so members of the public are allowed to visit the palace. We started by looking at her horses and carriages in the Royal Mews. Mews is another word for stable. We even saw the Gold Coronation Coach that is only used for coronations. It is completely covered in gold and it weighs 4 tonnes! It is on display with 4 models of horses harnessed to it but it actually takes 8 horses to pull that coach and because it is so heavy, the horses can only get the coach to move at walking pace!
After visiting the Royal Mews, Miss Hannaford and I walked around to the front of the palace to see the Queen Victoria Memorial- the tall white sculpture with a gold angel on the top that is always seen outside the front of the palace on tv. We were also able to walk right up to the gates that the queen uses when she leaves and returns to the palace.
Our last stop of the day was to actually to go inside Buckingham Palace and see the state apartments where the Queen actually entertains her guests. We went into the throne room and through the grand ballroom. Every room is decorated with lots of gold and very expensive ornaments and furniture. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the palace but I found these ones on the internet so you can see what we saw.
When you walk out of the State Apartments you walk into the Queen’s back garden. Many people dream of having tea with the Queen at the palace and the palace has set up a cafe on the back terrace of the palace so you can say you had tea at the palace! Miss Hannaford really enjoyed her cup of tea and a royal cake followed by a walk through the Queen’s garden on the way to the exit.