Revisiting London in March 2014

Jul 11th, 2014, 12:11 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,308
I'm following your trip report with interest. We were in London last March for two nights as a stopover on our way home and encountered some great weather as you described... sunshine and no coats!
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Jul 14th, 2014, 11:11 AM
  #22  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 123
Day 6

This was my last full day in London. I woke up to a bright sunny and warm day. I had a few last things to see and do, but nothing really planned other than the Inns of Court tour with London Walks at 11.

It was nice to take my time in the morning, watch some TV and do some organizing and packing. I left my hotel about 9 and took the Tube to Leicester Square to see what shows might be available for the evening. There were not many deals and most of the musicals I had seen or had no real interest in paying a lot for. I chose to see Jeeves and Wooster as it was starring actors I had recognized: Matthew MacFaddyen and Steven Mangen…more on the show later. I walked to a very quiet Trafalgar Square, sat a few minutes in the sun, and then went and got a bite to eat at the Café at St. Martin in the Fields. I had some scrambled eggs on toast and it was just the thing to keep me fueled for my walking tour.

I got to the Holborn tube station about 10:45 and met up with the growing group assembling to meet Molly, our guide for the Inns of Court tour. I chose this tour, as it would take me through some more areas I was unfamiliar with, in particular The Temple and Temple Church. Molly was a lot quieter and less animated that Simon was, and I was surprised she was not going to use a microphone, but she was very engaging and we were soon in some quieter areas. We walked to Grays Inn, where we had a tutorial on the UK legal system of solicitors, barristers and “going for the silk”. It was a fascinating history and the Inns are set up to be professional associations for barristers and act law schools to train barristers, you must join an Inn to be a practicing barrister. A solicitor (lawyer) is the first step on the legal ladder. They function to take care of civil matters, contracts, etc. if you need to go in front of a judge, then you need a barrister and barristers must be accredited to one of the four Inns of Court. Each of the Inns has its own character, symbols and traditions. The Inns date back to medieval times and have evolved over the centuries to the areas we have today. The Inns are: Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. The walking tour covered each of these areas which typically involved going through a series of courtyards and immaculate green spaces. The buildings mostly date from the Tudor era through the early 20th century, with many have to have been rebuilt after bombing during the War. The buildings that you see are mostly the home to chambers (law firms) and each Inn has its Tudor dining hall, chapel and other communal spaces for the use of its members. The Inns are usually gated areas and are not open all of the time for the public most of them are open for a few hours from late morning until mid-afternoon. The courtyards and green spaces are immaculate and taken care of very well, with the Temple gardens being very nice. We even passed the shop that makes the wigs and robes for the barristers! This was a fascinating walk, and it takes you through some very beautiful areas of London and ends at the Royal Courts of Justice. You can also go see court proceedings at the Royal Courts if you like.

I walked back into the Temple area, and stopped to see the Temple (Templar) Church. Temple Church is a wonderful, very old church built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. This is one of the oldest churches in London. The most distinctive feature is the round part that is very distinctive, and contains the effigy tombs of several Templar Knights. I arrived in time to hear a free organ recital, from the organ master of York Cathedral. It was lovely and it allowed time to contemplate the ancient building while listening to some great music. It was a short half hour concert, and we were able to then tour and look around the church afterwards. I walked to the Temple tube station and took a quick ride to The Tower of London where I had a quick bite to eat and walked the perimeter of The Tower and shopped in the gift shop for some last minute gifts.

I had two other spots to see on this trip and I took the tube to Westminster, so that I could walk down Whitehall and try to stop in to the Household Cavalry Museum on Horse Guards parade. I got interested in the Household Cavalry after seeing them in action at the royal wedding…very impressive! I was sad to see that the museum was closed for a private event, maybe I will make it next time. The next stop was to be Banqueting House. That too was closed for a private event it’s the only Historic Royal Palaces site I have yet to see in London. It is always good to have a list started for the next trip! I returned to my hotel to relax a bit and pack before I set out again for dinner and to see Jeeves and Wooster.

I took the tube to the West End and stopped for a pre theater dinner at Bella Italia and then made my way to see Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense , starring Matthew Macfadyen as Jeeves and Steven Mangen as Wooster. Perfect Nonsense it was….a very funny and expertly acted farce. I was blessed with yet another great performance, all of the actors were in top form and had the audience laughing throughout. It was a great way to end my final evening in London. I lingered a bit and strolled up to Picadilly Circus to have one final look and say a sad good bye to my London.

I had a smooth trip back to Chicago and the cold and snow, but my heart was still in St. James Park surrounded by green grass and daffodils.
olympicgaym is online now  
Jul 15th, 2014, 02:13 PM
  #23  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 123
For those who have followed this report, thank you.

I am constantly adding to my list for future visits to London. There is always something else to see and do there, the city is always new but yet comfortable and familiar. I hope to return again soon.
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Jul 15th, 2014, 02:48 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
Thanks for a great TR to my favorite city in the world. I jotted down lots of notes for my upcoming trip. Thanks for sharing!
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