I’m back with another set of photos from my recent trip to London! I added some iPhone photos in the mix this time since I have hundreds on my camera roll still. I can’t possibly spam my Instagram *that* much with London latergrams so I’ll slowly chip away at the photos by adding some here. These photos are mostly from the Westminster area which I passed through on several days. I walked so much during the trip and let myself get a bit lost. During one of my solo adventure days, I found myself back in this area. Then again another day. It is such a crazy feeling to be lost and look up to see Big Ben. Suddenly, you don’t feel so lost anymore with such a recognizable landmark in front of you. During the weekdays, the crowds were significantly smaller so it really didn’t feel like I was swimming among a sea of tourists. Click here to see part 1 of my London travel diary.
Horse Guard’s Parade
Every morning at 11am you can see the changing of the guard at this parade ground on Whitehall. We literally stumbled into the crowd that was gathered to watch the guards and it was a fun little “show” to see for a few minutes. I love that you can see the London Eye peeking out over the building in the photo below. At the time, of course, I had no clue where we were or what was inside the buildings. Unlike most things in London, this was free to watch. People always recommend Buckingham Palace for watching the changing of the guards but the palace was closed to the public so we only passed by. If you miss it at Buckingham, I suggest catching this as its nearby and there are fewer people. There are some huge open spaces in this area that are great for photos and a stroll.
Such an iconic spot in London and I highly recommend a visit. It’s certainly worth the steep admission and I would even wait in line. Speaking of which, the line was wrapped around the church on Saturday. Jared walked up to the front to ask a guard if this was the right line for people who had purchased tickets online and he just let us inside. So…always ask I guess! We saved probably close to an hour. (By the way, British people call them queues.) If you attend a service, you can go for free. Obviously you don’t get to visit all parts of the Abbey that are included in normal admission but the main church is extraordinary on its own.
Unfortunately there are no photographs allowed in most parts of the abbey but truthfully pictures would not do it justice. If you’re on the fence about getting tickets to the abbey, just look up some photos of it. It’s just breathtaking in person. The church is ginormous and has hundreds of years of history so you can easily spend a few hours inside. Make sure to actually listen to the free audio guide as you walk through. I was surprised at how many tombs were inside!
King Charles Street, Westminster Bridge, & London Eye
If you’re on foot, which I highly recommend, walk from Buckingham Palace through St. James Park to King Charles Street. This will lead you right to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Across the Westminster Bridge you can find the London Eye and plenty of other tourist traps. The area is generally very crowded due to the density of attractions. If you’re not a fan of crowds, I would suggest not going further than the bridge. This is a great path to take on foot however because you will get to see a lot of beautiful architecture. Seeing London from a taxi is just not the same.
I’m mentioning King Charles Street because I thought it was a really nice area. Coming from the park, you will see a statue of Robert Clive. Pass the statue and you find yourself in between two very large buildings. Surprisingly, it is quiet and a nice place to take some photos.
The area right by Big Ben is probably the craziest part of London that we visited. Just crowds and crowds of people walking every direction. Can we also take a moment to talk about how fast British people walk? They don’t mess around. If you’ve ever stumbled around, trying to follow Google Maps, during lunch hour in London – good luck. Try not to get trampled by British people wearing suits and trench coats! That’s another thing I noticed- people dress much nicer for work in London. This is only noteworthy to me because I work at a tech company in the Pacific Northwest where we take the word casual very seriously.
You can’t actually visit the clock tower sadly however you can visit the Houses of Parliament. The tower is so tall that it’s actually better to see it from across the river in my opinion. I read that going right at sunrise is a nice time to go because the area is generally less packed. So if you’re really serious about getting a shot for Insta, give up sleep. There are several red telephone booths nearby as well and you’ll see tons of people stepping inside them for photos. Naturally, Jared and I did too because you can’t go to London without one of these photos. Although most booths are grimy and littered with trash this is a photo opp you have to take!
Recently there was an attack near Parliament and on the Westminster Bridge so it is a bit surreal to me that I was just there. The incident is extremely sad but it’s incredible to see how the city has responded. This past weekend they even had a women’s act of solidarity where women stood on the bridge holding hands. I love this powerful image.