London and Beyond--Spring '93
The City

The Morgan House Hotel We stayed at the Morgan House Hotel, located on Bloomsbury right around the corner from the British Museum. This hotel is very much like dozens of others right down Gower Street. But the price was right and the location was wonderful. The British Museum can be one of the most overwhelming tourist visits in the world. There is so much to see that the visitor can easily become exhausted making an effort not to miss anything. We enjoyed staying at the Morgan because we were able to make several short visits to the Museum, concentrating on one area at a time. At any time we became tired, the hotel was just three minutes away. We have always believed that the most important consideration in choosing any place to stay is location.
Trafalgar Square, London's most famous, is heavily populated by Londoners, tourists, and (especially) pigeons. Nelson's Column stands in the center surrounded by fountains. The great streets--Whitehall, the Strand, the Mall, and Pall Mall--come together at the Square, and on its edges you can visit the National Gallery or St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Trafalgar Square
Big Ben Right at the end of Westminster Bridge on the Parliament side stands a statue of Queen Boadicea riding her war chariot and surrounded by her daughters. This Icenian queen led an uprising against the Romans in 60 A.D. but poisoned herself after it failed. Rising above her is the tower housing Big Ben. On my first trip to London, I learned that Big Ben is not the clock, nor is it the structure itself. Instead it is the Great Bell of Westminster which was hung in the tower in 1858. Today tourists can visit sessions of Parliament, but we have never had the time (nor the inclination) to do so.
The Tower of London is the symbol of Britain's past, a time when heads could roll at the whim of a king. The Yeoman Warders (the Beefeaters) provide an interesting guided tour of the complex for those who are interested. Tourists can also write ahead and get tickets to the Ceremony of the Keys that takes place each night at 10:00. Don't be discouraged if there's a long line at the entry point or at the Jewel House; in both cases, the line moves pretty fast. The Tower of London
Guard We have never figured out what all the different guards represent. Everyone enjoys stopping on the walk down Whitehall and patting the steeds of the Queen's Life Guard. I suppose that the only function these horses serve is that of "live photographic opportunity." As for the guard in this photo, I'm not sure where he's placed. We saw similar guards at two or three of the buildings in the center of the city. There are a couple of places that one can observe the Changing of the Guard. Of course, you can join the huge crowds at Buckingham Palace each day, or you can opt for the less crowded changing of the Horse Guards in the court yard near the mounted horsemen.
Lying only a short rail journey from the center of London is Hampton Court Palace. This huge Tudor mansion was built by Cardinal Wolsey, but after Henry VIII coveted it, it became his. Like Windsor later, Hampton Court suffered a terrible fire in 1986, but most of the furniture and artworks were saved. By the time of our visit, there was little evidence of the fire. We especially enjoyed the way in which the kitchens are presented for the sightseer. Hampton Court
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is the country home of the royal family. It lies about thirty minutes away from Central London by rail. At the time of our visit, there was still extensive restoration going on after the devastating fire in the royal apartments. Directly across the river from Windsor lies Eton, the famous public school. The town of Windsor manages to remain charming even with the heavy foot traffic moving up the hill from the station to the Castle.

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