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The Fantastic Tower of London

 

Twr Bridge Open Tower of London Raven crisps

Now, I have lived in and around London for the last 27 years. I worked 50 metres from the Tower of London for 5 of them and I have never visited the Tower of London before.

The Tower is now my No. 1 Recommendation for when you visit London. We spent 5 hours there and could have spent longer. It did help that Boy 1 & Boy 2 are obsessed with history. Horrible Histories especially, and especially especially the Tudors.

There is so much to do in the Tower – we started off with a visit to the Raven enclosure where the Warden explained that the Ravems were so intelligent they had worked out how to steal crisps from picnicing tourists, wash off the flavours they don’t like in their water bowls and then crunch them down! Not sure I would have thought of that one….

(More on crisp stealing avians later…..)

Then the highlight of the visit – a 45 minute tour around the Tower with a Yeoman Warder (or Beefeater). Moira was really good fun, mixing information with gruesome detail and jokey asides to keep the interest levels up. We explored by ourselves after the tour, visiting the chapel, all the different museums and galleries.

Not really our type of thing, surprisingly the only gallery that was slightly underwhelming was the Crown Jewels. Once you have seen one mightily impressive jewel encrusted gold thing the excitement levels tend to wane…..

Back to the Ravens – we found a suitable spot for lunch, Uncle Chris went to get coffees and came back with an additional packet of posh crisps (OX flavour). Then the Ravens decided they were hungry, hopped up onto the bench, stole the unopened bag of crisps, ripped it to shreds and pecked away for their lunch. They are fairly fearsome creatures close up! I would like to say that Uncle Chris & I bravely shooed the Ravens away to claim back our lunch but that would be a lie….. retreat was the wiser course of action.

Brilliant day out, I cannot recommend the Tower of London more highly. An absolute must-not-miss on your visit to London.

 

Clink St Prison Museum

Museum front Calan and prisoner Caio manacles

Red Bus thought it was time to share a bit of experience about where to go and what to do when you visit London. We hope that when you visit our amazing City you have some fantastic experiences and there are so many lovely historic and modern buildings and museums to visit.

We took a very short stroll from our Clink St shop (about 20 metres) to visit the Clink St Prison Museum. Looks a bit gloomy from the outside, which I suppose is the point!

Thing 1 & Thing 2 like the gruesome and the scary (they’re 10 & 8) but I wasn’t sure about whether this would not be too much for them. Turns out they thought it was great. There’s loads of stuff to read on the walls and the museum is quite small but we managed to spend about 1 hour inside – any more would be pushing it. And we learned loads!

There’s a couple of interactive screens (some of which worked) but mostly there are posters explaining the history of prisons and the Clink St prison in particular.

The Thing’s favourite was the screen showing different types of torture carried out in those good old days – and they took great delight in recounting them to Mum when we got back later that day. The one involving hungry rats, a metal cage and an exposed belly went down particularly well.

All in all a diverting hour’s entertainment, although Thing 2’s now stated desire to eat rat at some point probably won’t be followed through….

Things To Do In London

So many people come into the shops and ask us whats the best things to do in London?

So we thought we could put together some ideas via our new blog.

So lets start with the obvious – A walk along the south bank where you can take in some of the top tourist attractions including The Thames, Tower of London, Tate Modern and Shakespeares Globe. Especially good with a nice ice cream and a little sun but also good for a cold winters day in the evening as long as your dressed up for the cold.

If you want to see the entire city a great place to view it is from the top of St Pauls Cathedral. You can also see it in its entirety from the top of the Shard.

Our museums are rated as some of the best in the world and they are free (small donation if you wish too). The British Museum and the National Gallery are great and you can actually be lost in time with both. The Cabinet War Rooms and Sir John Soanes are a little smaller but still make for a great day out.

Hyde Park, St James Park and Hampstead Heath are a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature at its finest and again make for a great day of fun and frolics.

If you fancy something a little different where you can learn more about the history of London there are also London Walks arranged that will give you more info on Jack the Ripper, Ghostly going on’s and take you to the Harry Potter filming locations.

There is so much to see and do in London that we think a few days isn’t enough so make sure you allow yourself to do all the things you want to do. Should you need further information why not pop into one of our shops and ask our friendly staff for any help you may need.

Some Facts About London

London is the UK’s capital and it comes as no surprise that a lot of visitors will make London a place to visit when they come over to the UK. So here at Red Bus Shop we wanted to give you a few fun and informative facts that you probably are not aware of –

1 – Did you know that up until 1916 people could walk into Harrods and buy drugs over the counter and it was legal. Cocaine amongst other things were readily available to buy. However going in there now and asking may result in an arrest.

2 – Black cab drivers have to learn a map that consists of 320 basic routes which entails 25000 different streets before they can actually pass the test and become a cab driver in London.

3 – People in London speak in over 300 different languages throughout the day. In fact we believe London is one of the most multi-cultural capital cities in the world.

4 – Did you know Winnie the Pooh was actually a bear at the ZSL London Zoo back in 1914 and through to 1934 and that she was a female bear.

5 – Jerry Springer was actually born at Highgate station in Feb 1944 and that there has only been 3 babies born on the underground even though 3 million trips are taken by people using the tube daily.

That is just the start of it. There is so much history in London and what is a better way of remembering it than buying a souvenir whilst on your travels?