Tower Bridge, Westminster Walk (London)

My family and I travelled to London in June 2013. 

Day 2 Part 2 (click here to return to the London overview):
In this post, I will share with you my personal account on the following places:
- Tower Bridge 
- Bus 15
- Trafalgar Square & Nelson's column
- National Gallery
- Admiralty Arch
- The Mall (The street leading to Buckingham Palace)
- 10 Downing Street
- Big Ben & The Palace of Westminster
- London Eye
- Wagamama
- Westminster Abbey

Tower Bridge:
After visiting the Tower of London, we left the castle for the Tower Bridge. I'm pretty sure you all have heard the traditional nursery rhyme and singing game, "London Bridge is Falling Down" (also known as "My Fair Lady"). There are plenty of theories of where the nursery rhyme originated, but none of them are related to the tower bridge! It is probably a misconception as the bridge can open its bascules to allow the passage of ships. The meaning of the rhyme is not certain. It is suggested that it relates to many difficulties experienced in bridging the River Thames. 

If you are interested in seeing the bridge lift, schedule your trip to coincide with the bridge lift timings. Click here for the bridge lift timings. You could enter the Tower Bridge Experience (£9.00 adults/£3.90 child) which houses the bridge's twin towers and high-level walk ways. The original steam-driven machinery which is used to raise and lower the bridge is part of the exhibition.

However, my family chose to enjoy the bridge by walking across it instead of visiting the exhibition due to time constrains.
The Tower Bridge from Tower Bridge Rd

Exterior of the high-level walkways of the Tower Bridge Experience.

Bus 15:
I had a choice to take the tube or the bus to Trafalgar Square. But I decided to choose the latter as you will be able to see more on ground level (It's cheaper too). If you are patient, you could wait for bus 15H which comes every 15 minutes. You can get a taste of what bus travel in London used to be like. However, I hopped on the normal bus 15 which is still double-decked and red but with 'next stop' announcements.
London Buses route 15 (Heritage)
The Modern bus 15 with a display of the bus stop names. Sit on the right for views of St Paul's Church!.

Trafalgar Square & National Gallery:
I alighted near Trafalgar Square and walked to the National Gallery which houses one of the greatest collection of European painting in the world. Works of Claude Monet, J.M.W. Turner, Leonardo da Vinci,& Vincent van Gogh are being displayed. If neither of these artists' name strike a bell, I have attached the picture of Sunflowers painted by Vincent van Gogh. The best part is the entrance to see them is free!
The exterior of the National Gallery. Photographed by Koo Hansen
Picture of Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh being displayed at the National Gallery. Photo retreived from

Nelson's column:
After enjoying the paintings at the National Gallery, my family walked to Nelson's Column. Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson (famous for his service in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars), who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The pedestal is decorated with four bronze relief panels, each 5.5m square, cast from captured French guns. They depict the Battle of Cape St Vincent, the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Copenhagen and the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar. The whole monument is 51.6m tall.
Nelson's Column 

Admiralty Arch & The Mall:
Sunday is the perfect time to walk to the Mall as the street is closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays. The road runs from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square. Admiralty Arch plays an important role on ceremonial occasions. Processions at royal weddings, funerals, coronations and other public processions such as the 2012 processions at the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games all passed under its arches.
Admiralty Arch, Photographed by Koo Hansen
The Mall!
Enroute to 10 Downing Street via St James's Park!
St James's Park

Robert Clive statue. He is often credited with securing Indian and the wealth that followed.

10 Downing Street:
I read many guide books who led me to this place! 10 Downing Street is one of the most important political building in the world. In the last 275 years, behind its black door is where most of the important decisions affecting Britain. This is the residence of the Britain's Prime Minster. Some of the most famous political figures such as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher have lived and worked in Number 10. In 1989, due to the increase in violence, Margaret Thatcher ordered for security gates to be erracted and public access to 10 Downing Street became limited. Today, you can only peak through the gates that I have photographed.
Gates of 10 Downing Street

Big Ben & The Palace of Westminster:
Unfortunately, the Big Ben tour is only avaible to UK residents only. The Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell housed within the Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben's official name is the Great Bell.  However, you can visit the Houses of Parliament with a guided tour(£20.00) or attend a debate for free! The galleries are open to public when the Houses are sitting(meeting), which is from Monday to Thursday and on Sitting Fridays. Free tickets are necessary to ensure entrance and you will have to arrive early to queue outside St Stephen's Entrance. Click here to find out what is to be debated. We didn't stop by as it was closed by the time we arrived!
Big Ben & The Palace of Westminster. Photographed by Koo Hansen

Night view of Big Ben & The Palace of Westminster

London Eye:
We arrived at the London Eye close to 7:30pm which is considered late. We bought the ticket (£19.95 before discount) online to get the 10% discount and avoid the ticketing lines. The London Eye is currently Europe's tallest Ferries and receives 3.5 million visitors annually. The entire structure is 135 meters tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters. It is located on the South Bank of the River Thames! There is a total of 32 sealed and air-conditioned ovoidal passenger capsules and they hold up to 25 people. One revolution takes about 30 minutes! Though the ride was short, we were able to see much more of London.

London Eye (left) and London County Hall (Right)
View from the London Eye
One of the Capsule of the London Eye 
View from the London Eye. St. Thomas' Hospital

Wagamama is a British-headquatered restaurant chain which serves East Asian food in the style of a modern Japanese Ramen Bar. Since my family decided to try some "Asian" food, we visited the Wagamama branch near London Eye. The first plus points are the free wifi and green tea! The broth was MSG laden flavouring and the noodles tasted like pasta. It isn't really Japanese food but the grilled meat was AMAZING. It was well charred as if it was barbequed. I recommend anyone to get the Donburi (bowls of rice with meat) or curry. It is probably a better option as compared to their ramen.
Wagamama Ramen (£9.50)
Pork Ramen (£8.50)

Westminster Abbey:
Unfortunately, we did not enter the Westminster Abbey as we did not have the time to visit it during the day. It is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English. You can enter Westminster Abbey at £18.00 which includes a free audio-guide. Or you could enter the regular services for free! The Abbey does not charge people who wants to worship and the Evensong is when the Abbey choir sings. Evensong is at 5pm on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus at 3pm on Saturday and Sundays.
Westminster Abbey. Photographed by Koo Hansen
That concludes Day 2 of London! Click here to proceed to Day 3 Part 1.

Otherwise, click here to return to the London Overview.

Here is the map and the route I travelled on day 2. (Best viewed on google chrome)

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About Haoming Koo

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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