London - Our initial taste While we were briefly in London before departing to Ireland for a week, we managed to squeeze in some sight seeing - jumping on a 'Fat Tire' bike tour. This was a leisurely 4 hour bike ride around central London, and was a great way of getting oriented.
While we didn't go into any of the sights on the tour, we were given a pretty good commentary on each sight and its history. This gave us a pretty good idea of what we should come back and see.
After our time in Ireland, we jumped on a flight out of Dublin to Liverpool - the 2008 European city of culture!
We were flat out in Liverpool - landing at about 8am, and a bus booked back to London at 5pm, we had to squeeze as much out of our time there as possible.
Initially we dumped out bags at the train station - no point carting an extra 20kg each!
We then wandered down to the Albert Dock, with the intention of arriving to our 'Magical Mystery' Beatles tour just before 12.
Having some time to fill we went through the free Slavery Museum at the Albert Docks Maritime Museum. This was pretty interesting, and illustrated how involved Liverpool was in the slave trade (it was basically the centrer of the slavery business in Europe).
We then jumped onto the Beatles tour which took us through the city and suburbs of Liverpool - taking us to some of the most significant Beatles locations, including George, John, Paul, and Ringo's childhood houses, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, and the Cavern Club.
After the tour, we had a quick beer at the Cavern Club, before heading back down towards the docks to jump on a ferry cruise across the Mersey.
So that was about all we could manage to squeeze out of Liverpool in our time there. We jumped on the bus, literally minutes after it began to rain (our timing with weather has been great).
The bus ride was pretty boring - all 5 hours of it, but we made it back to London city by about 11.30pm, enough time to jump on the Tube and get back out to Fulham where we were staying with friends.
Back in London
Back in London we set out to see all the sights we had toured passed on our bike tour.
The day was pretty full on - we managed to see Harrod's, West Minster Abby, Big Ben, the Houses of Parlament, St. Pauls Cathedral, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, London Bridge (which is actually very boring and plain!), then we finished the day by getting back to West Minster for the Evening Song Choral service - this was pretty awesome.
The sound of the choir in the Abby was fantastic (although the big draw card for us was that by going to the service, you get into the Abby for free - saving about 14 pounds each).
Some where along the line (can't remember where now?), we also managed to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. This was defiantly something worth seeing - and as usual, we took a ton of pictures.
In the Abby, we managed to see the tombs of Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Winston Churchill - pretty awesome.
The following day we headed up to Grenich - which was a spectacular 25c day. If we had realised how good it was in Grenich, we would have made sure we spent some time in a beer garden there, but we had already arranged to meet friends in the city.
We grabbed one of the ferries up the Thames to Grenich - this is great for nice views of Big Ben, the Tower of London, and the Tower Bridge.
In Grenich we did a walking tour which took us through the Naval buildings, and explained much of the history of the area. We ended up at the Observatory - the location of the Prime Meridian, and where world time is measured from.
Later that afternoon, we headed into the city to catch up with a few old mates who had moved over from Australia.
We had big plans for our last day in London - we wanted to head to Bath and Stonehenge, but unfortunatly we left some of the planning to the last minute and this didn't end up occuring. This gave us th opertunity to head back into London and do some of the sightswe haddn't got to yet.
We visited the Winston Churchill War Cabinet, and Mueseum which was fantastic. We then headed to Notting Hill, and down Portabello Road - although being a week day the markets were not overly active.
From here we headed into Oxford and Regent streets - having lunch in a pub in Soho.
Following this we headed to Lester Square and located the nearby Her Majesty's Theater to catch the 'Phantom of the Opera' - which was a great show.
This basically wraps up our time in London - we made sure that we left some things to do next time we come back!
Will try to get some of our London pictures up shortly.