“Cheers and welcome to London!” These were the first words our extremely perky and knowledgeable tour guide said to us as we emerged from the Tunnel Underground to the Magical City that unfolded before us. We had signed up for a six-hour walking tour (free, of course. We are college students after all) and intended to cover as much ground as possible that first day.
Margaret, our tour guide, began the tour in the leafy 'Green Park' and marched us onwards toward Buckingham Palace. Sadly there was no Queen of England spotting (but we saw squirrels so … basically just as cool?). The changing of the guard also wasn't happening that day, but we did see the changing of the cavalry, which was equally as impressive. More impressive than the procession itself was the hats that laid on top of their heads. Our tour guide said that the hats were made from real imported bearskin and that some of them are over 200 years old.
We next headed over to former palaces, where she explained the history of the Kings and Queens of London, down to every last wife of Henry VIII (which is, like, a million). Margaret then took us over to the Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I never knew this before, but Big Ben is actually only the name for the bell within the clock tower. The clock tower itself is simply called “the clock tower,” a rather uninspired name.
After lunch, we regrouped and continued on our tour. We saw the famous Fleet Street (Sweeney Todd, anyone?), St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, the London Bridge, and the Tower Bridge. Interestingly enough, the London Bridge is actually quite simple and unimpressive. Many people mistake the Tower Bridge, a much more extravagant looking bridge, for the London Bridge. However, the truth remains that, without the history, the London Bridge is nothing more than any other old bridge.
We concluded our tour at the Tower of London, a beautiful castle known for public executions and imprisonments. My friend Drita went off with her cousin, and Janice and I continued to explore the rest that London had to offer. Our next stop? Shakespeare’s Globe.