"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Sioux under General
1 Comment


We needed to be at Buckingham Palace very early, to ensure we got a good view point to watch the Changing the Guard ceremony. Although it was a long wait, we had fun chatting to other tourists and a very friendly policeman, who could get rather stern when people climbed onto the statues on the Victoria Memorial!

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Changing the Guard at Buckingham

Palace, which is also known as ‘Guard

Mounting’, is the ceremony where the

Old Guard hands over responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace to the New Guard. The ceremony is about 45 minutes and, with a heavy police presence and weather permitting, usually happens daily or every 2nd day and has become a tourist highlight.


Guarding the Sovereign traditionally belongs to the Household Troops, better known as ‘the Guards’, who have carried out this duty since 1660. But this responsibility is periodically changed to other regiments of the British Army. Musical support is provided by a Regimental Band or Corps of Drums with pipers occasionally taking part in the ceremony. All the Guardsmen taking part in the ceremony are highly trained infantry soldiers, who in addition to their combat role undertake ceremonial duties. The strength of the Guard is governed by The Queen’s presence. If the Royal Standard is flying above the Palace, The Queen is in residence and the number of sentries is increased. 

The wait was worth it and thanks to my sister’s brilliant advice, we had ‘front-row-seats’ and had the Guardsmen and horses passing right in front of us! The main procedure takes place behind locked gates, so we had to be happy with the view we had and wait for                                      the ‘off-duty’ Guardsmen to come back out again.

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From there we walked through St James Park, via ‘Duck Island cottage’ of course, and on

to The Guards Museum, a military museum in Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace.

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                                                                                              The museum tells the story of the regiments it represents, from the

                                                       17th century to the present day. The displays include many examples of different Guards                                uniforms, paintings, weapons, models, sculptures, and artifacts which all follow the history of the regiments and detail 

               what being a soldier in the Guards is all about. I was fascinated with all the mini collectible-figurines that were on                            display, from King Arthur’s days to modern times. A stunning collection. 

From there we headed to Horse Guards Parade, a large parade ground which is the site of the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch’s official birthday. The area has been used for a variety of reviews, parades and other ceremonies since the 17th century. Tournaments, including jousting, were held here during the time of Henry VIII. It was also the scene of annual celebrations of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I. The Duke of  Wellington was based in Horse Guards when he was Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, and the current General Officer Commanding London District still occupies the same office and uses the same desk. Wellington also had living quarters within the building, which today are used as offices. 

Photos with the Guards were a must-do; and then it was back down to Big Ben and the hop-on-hop-off bus terminal. We had decided that was the best way to see as many sights as possible.  

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Harrods is a luxury department store located in Knightsbridge and is owned by the state of Qatar. The store has 330 departments covering 90,000m2 of retail space.

The Harrods motto is

Omnia Omnibus Ubique,

which is Latin for

“all things for all people,


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A lot of the sights were seen from the comfort of the open-top level on the bus, and we got off where we wanted to see more.

Boadicea and Her Daughters is a bronze sculpture featuring

Boudica, queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising in Roman Britain. It is considered to be the masterpiece of its

sculptor, who worked on it from 1856 until shortly before his death in 1885. It erected into its current position until 1902.

A full window decal on a London shopfront

The statue on the top of Wellington Arch depicts Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, descending on the chariot of war. The face of the charioteer leading the quadriga is that of a small boy (supposedly the son of Lord Michelham, who funded the sculpture). It is the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.

The sculpture called Brothers, which is 6.4m wide, was made from resin and, as per the artist, described as “a joining of minds”, intending to show that all people have the “capacity” for good and evil, as well as exploring the theme of ‘togetherness’. The 6m tall giants represent two individual people, and their connection through being siblings.

Still Water is a 10m high bronze sculpture of a horse’s head, located at Marble Arch.

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The Shard, towering over the walls of The Tower of London

                                                                      Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge built in 1886–1894. It crosses the River 

                                                                      Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of England. It is 240m in 

                                                                      length and the two towers each 65m high, built on piers. The central span of 61m between the towers is

                                                                      split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. Each bascule weighs over 1,000 tons, and both are counterbalanced to minimise the force required and allow raising in five minutes, and took 8 years to build. Two massive piers, containing over 70,000 tons of concrete, were sunk into the riverbed to support the construction. Over 11,000 tons of steel provided the framework for the towers and walkways, and clad in Cornish granite and Portland stone, both to protect the underlying steelwork and to give the bridge a pleasing appearance. The total cost of construction was £1,184,000 (equivalent to £122 million in 2015). The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII). 

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All-Hallows-by-the-Tower is the oldest church in the

City of London and was in 675AD, 300 years before 

the Tower of London. An arch from the original Saxon

church still exists. In the crypt beneath is a second 

century Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, clear

evidence of city life on this site for nearly 2,000 years.


The church housed numerous bodies which brought

in for temporary burial following their beheading or 

executions on Tower Hill, including those of Thomas 

More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud. In 

1666 the Great Fire of London started in Pudding 

Lane, just a few hundred yards from the church. All 

Hallows survived through the efforts of Admiral Penn 

(William Penn’s father) who, along with his friend 

Samuel Pepys, watched London burn from the tower 

of the church. William Penn, founder of 

Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and

educated in the old schoolroom. John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797 and the Marriage Register entry is on display in the Undercroft Museum. The church suffered extensive bomb damage during WWII and only the tower and the walls remained. It was rebuilt after the war and rededicated in 1957. 

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We stayed off the bus at Tower Hill, wandered around the streets for a while, stopped for a late lunch, and then took a Thames Ferry back to Westminster.

St Magnus the Martyr Church dates back to the 1100’s. Its prominent location and beauty has prompted many mentions in literature. In Oliver Twist Charles Dickens notes how, as Nancy heads for her secret meeting with Mr Brownlow and Rose Maylie on London Bridge, “the tower of old Saint Saviour’s Church, and the spire of Saint Magnus, so long the giant-warders of the ancient bridge, were visible in the gloom”. The church’s spiritual and architectural importance is also celebrated in the poem The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. 

The 62m tall Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known simply as the Monument, is a Doric column near the northern end of London Bridge, that commemorates the Great Fire of London. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, and 62m from the spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started in 1666. The Monument comprises a fluted Doric column built of Portland stone topped with a gilded urn of fire. Its height marks its distance from the site of the shop of Thomas Farriner (or Farynor), the king’s baker, where the Great Fire began. 

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Pickfords Wharf in Clink Street was one of several wharves built in 1864, between Cannon Street railway bridge and London Bridge. The demise of the London docks and bomb damage led to the warehouses falling into disuse. Designated a Conservation Area in the mid-1970’s, resulted in the uncovering of not just further remains of Winchester Palace but beneath the Palace the remains of a large Roman building, probably a bath house for use by military personnel.


Today, Pickfords Wharf is a popular gathering place, especially in the summer months and ‘houses’ offices and £1million+ apartments in historic Clink St, overlooking the replica of The Golden Hind.

The top of the Monument is reached by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps. A mesh cage was added in the mid-19th century at the top to prevent people jumping off, after six people had committed suicide from the structure between 1788 and 1842. 

The colours of late evening setting sun brushed the buildings in a soft golden hue, and tinged the deeping blue sky with the faintest touch of pink. We all sat back and relaxed, enjoying the coolness of the evening and the beautiful skyline of historic London as we floated slowly past.

We all sat back and relaxed, enjoying the coolness of the evening and the beautiful skyline of historic London as we floated slowly past many other monuments and sights.


Another fabulous day out, but it was 8.30pm and dinner time so we headed to the underground and back to the hotel for an early night, we had a long day planned for day 3!


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One response to “Family holiday fun time #5 – Day 2 in London town”

  1. Chris Viljoen says:

    Looking Good Sioux!!

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