[Travel] Dream Trip To Western Europe In November 2019 (Day 3)

by - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

On the previous post on my blog, I was updating the stories on Day 1 and Day 2. Then, I would like to continue on Day 3 in London, England on 30 November 2019 (Saturday). This day we started our day after breakfast at the hotel around 07:00 am. I feel relieved, when I don't feel jetlag, even the journey is more than 15 hours. On Day 3, we're having the Tour Guide for the half day city tour and this is our first Tour Guide in this Europe Tour. The first location we're visited is the famous palace in London, which is Buckingham Palace. 

Our Tour Guide in London, England.
The Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the center of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning. 

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and become known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century, it was enlarged, principally by architects Josh Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace becomes London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works at art from the Royal Collection.

The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly colored scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream and gold color scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House

The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The staterooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring. We got free time around 20 minutes at Buckingham Palace for taking a few photos before we proceed to the next destination. 

Actually, on the second day (29 November 2019) we're in London, its have something happen and our route of the city tour in London will be changed a little bit from the original itinerary. The next destination is Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament (Big Ben). We're also walking around the Parliament Square Garden for a few minutes, just to take photos around there. These three destinations are close by to each other and it's easy to go there by London Underground train as know as Tube. If I not mistake, the nearest tube station in this area is Westminster Station.

The Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site of English and, later, British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey nor a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar" – a church responsible directly to the sovereign. 

According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey (Thorn Island)) in the seventh century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have been in Westminster Abbey. There have been 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100, including on 29 April 2011 the royal weddings of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Miss Catherine Middleton. As the burial site of more than 3,300 persons, usually of prominence in British history (including at least sixteen monarchs, eight Prime Ministers, poets laureate, actors, scientists, military leaders, and the Unknown Warrior), Westminster Abbey is sometimes described as 'Britain's Valhalla', after the iconic burial hall of Norse mythology. 

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. 

The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 315 feet (96m) tall, and the climb from ground level to the belfry is 334 steps. Its base is square, measuring 39 feet (12m) on each side. Dials of the clock are 23 feet (7m) in diameter. On 31 May 2009, celebrations were held to mark the tower's 150th anniversary. 

Big Ben is the largest of the tower's five bells and weighs 13.5 long tons (13.7 tonnes; 15.1 short tons). It was the largest bell in the United Kingdom for 23 years. The origin of the bell's nickname is open to question; it may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its installation or heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt. Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup.

The tower is a British cultural icon recognized all over the world. It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and parliamentary democracy and it is often used in the establishing shot of films set in London. The clock tower has been part of a Grade I listed building since 1970 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. On 21 August 2017, a four-year schedule of renovation works began on the tower, which is to include the addition of a lift. There are also plans to re-glaze and repaint the clock dials. With a few exceptions, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday, the bells are to be silent until the work is completed in 2021. 

Parliament Square is a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster in central London. It features a large open green area in the center with trees to its west, and it contains twelve statues of statesmen and other notable individuals. As well as being one of London's main tourist attractions, it is also the place where many demonstrations and protests have been held. The square is overlooked by various official buildings: legislature to the east (in the Houses of Parliament), executive offices to the north (on Whitehall), the judiciary to the west (the Supreme Court), and the church to the south (with Westminster Abbey). 

TIP 8 – Please extra careful from a pickpocket, when you around the tourist spots. Put your bag or handbag in front of you, especially when you take your photos. It does avoid nightmares along your trip. 

The next destination on this day is Christmas by the River. One of the best spots for takes the great view of Tower Bridge and City Hall London. Before that, our London Tour Guide does request the driver bus for pass by the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, and Downing Street. To be honest, for the first time tourist that came to London – for sure I'm not sure the places and also recognized the places by seeing from the bus. I just take as many photos as I can from the bus, when the driver bus passes by these places. Maybe some of these places I recognized from the social media that I see before came to London. 

I'm excited to explore more than 70 twinkling wooden cabins and savor seasonal fare with Christmas by the River at London Bridge City. The traditional Christmas market stretches along the Queen's Walk from London Bridge City Pier to The Scoop at More London. It can be great views by taking in London's iconic city skyline, including views of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London. 

It's such the great Christmas vibes by getting hands-on with craft workshops at the pier's pop-up station such as making a wreath or Christmas jumper decorating, with activities supporting a chosen charity. Sway away to music performances or pick up unique presents on a Christmas shopping trip, including stocking fillers and edible treats from the Christmas market's independent traders. It's will be nice if we can stay longer in this place because I feeling not enough time to explore and also taken more beautiful photos around this place. We just get time around 15 minutes only. 

The Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London. As a result, it is sometimes confused with London Bridge, about half a mile (0.8km) upstream. Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. It is the only one of the trust's bridges not to connect the City of London directly to the Southwark bank, as its northern landfall is in Tower Hamlets. 

The bridges consist of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tension forces imposed by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical components of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. 

The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians, whereas the bridge's twin towers, high-level walkways, and Victorian engine rooms form part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, for which an admission charge is made. The nearest London Underground tube stations are Tower Hill on the Circle and District lines, London Bridge on the Jubilee and Northern lines and Bermondsey on the Jubilee line, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway. The nearest National Rail stations are at Fenchurch Street and London Bridge. 

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. 

The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site. 

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armory, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defenses lagged behind developments to deal with artillery. 

The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who have fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its ending reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over 400 years. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. 

In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, and the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, and operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. 

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, the British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar. The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13th century and originally contained the King's Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash, but progress was slow after his death, and the square did not open until 1844. 

The 169-foot (52m) Nelson's Column at its center is guarded by four lion statues. Several commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square, but the Fourth Plinth left empty since 1840, has been host to contemporary art since 1999. The square has been used for community gatherings and political demonstrations, including Bloody Sunday in 1887, the culmination of the first Aldermaston March, anti-war protests, and campaigns against climate change. A Christmas tree has been donated to the square by Norway since 1947 and is erected for twelve days before and after Christmas Day. The square is a center of annual celebrations on New Year's Eve. It was well known for its feral pigeons until their removals in the early 21st century. 

Downing Street is a street in London that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Situated off Whitehall, a few minutes' walks from the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing. For more than three hundred years, it has held the official residences of both the First Lord of the Treasury, the office now synonymous with that of the Prime Minister, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, the office held by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

The Prime Minister's official residence is 10 Downing Street; the Chancellor's official residence is Number 11. The government's Chief Whip has an official residence is at Number 9. The houses on the south side of the street were demolished in the 19th century to make way for government offices now occupied by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The tern "Downing Street" is used as a metonym for the Government of the United Kingdom. 

That is all our half-day city tour in London before we head to the London Central Mosque for prayer and lunch. The lunch is paid by ourselves but we already make a sandwich in the morning at our hotel so we just eat the sandwich for lunch. The London Central Mosque (also known as the Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) or Regent's Park Mosque) is a mosque located near Regent's Park in London, United Kingdom. 

It was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, completed in 1977 and has a prominent golden dome. The main hall can accommodate over 5,000 worshippers with women praying on a balcony overlooking the hall. The mosque holds a chandelier and a vast carpet, with very little furniture. The inside of the dome is decorated with broken shapes in the Islamic tradition. There is also a small bookshop and halal café on the premises. The mosque is joined to the Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) which was officially opened by King George VI in 1944. The land was donated by George VI to the Muslim community of Britain in return for the donation of land in Cairo by King Farouk of Egypt and Sudan on which to build an Anglican cathedral. 

Then, we're going to Oxford Street for shopping activities on the day. We've been given time almost 3 hours for shopping at Oxford Street. Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe's busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. It is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, and traffic is regularly restricted to buses and taxis. 

The first department stores in the UK opened in the early 20th century, including Selfridges, John Lewis & Partners, and HMV. Unlike nearby shopping streets such as Bond Street, it has retained an element of downmarket trading alongside more prestigious retail stores. The street suffered heavy bombing during World War II, and several longstanding stores including John Lewis were destroyed and rebuild from scratch. Despite competition from other shopping centers such as Westfield Stratford City and the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Oxford Street remains in high demand as a retail location, with several chains having their flagship stores on the street, and has several listed buildings. 

The annual switching on of Christmas lights by a celebrity has been a popular event since 1959. As a popular retail area and the main thoroughfare for London buses and taxis, Oxford Street has suffered from traffic congestion, pedestrian congestion, a poor safety record, and pollution. Various traffic management schemes have been implemented by Transport for London (TfL), including a ban on private vehicles during daytime hours on weekdays and Saturdays, and improved pedestrian crossings. 

I think most of the famous stores among Malaysian tourists are the Primark Store once they travel to the European side. It has a lot of Primark stores around Europe and the price is quite cheaper and reasonable to us. I not sure the Primark Store located at Oxford Street is a big store or not, but it has a lot of people in the store and its have a variety of choice. Just make sure, you have enough money and big luggage too. As tourists, we're also entitled to claim the Tax Refund too, just let the cashier know about that. We've been spending almost £190, just at Primark Store Oxford Street.

TIP 9 – About London's souvenirs; some shops are selling the souvenirs that related to London, like the keychain with the price of £10 for 3. I do recommend you looking and does some survey with many shops before you buy it. Most of the souvenirs types are the same but the price is different.

P/S: A few things that I buy at Primark Store and Boots Stores (same as Watson Store in Malaysia) so you can look at the average price in London. The price of the things in the photo are Olbas Oil (12ml) – £4.49 x 4 bottles = £17.96 (RM 96.09); Nivea Hydro Care Lip balm – £1.86 (RM 9.95); and Burts Bees Honey Lip Balm – £2.99 (RM 16.00). Another than that, you can see in the photo. The currency rate on this trip is RM 5.35 for £1.

Then, we're going to the Mr. Fish Restaurant for our dinner. The menu is fish and chips. The meal portion of the fish and chips is quite big for us, like for 2 persons. It's our last dinner in London. That makes me sad when thinking about that. I do feeling that I will back to London, England again in the future because I do have a lot of places want to visit, especially when related to Harry Potter. After dinner, we're going back to the hotel and started packing our luggage for the next trip to Paris the next day.

That is all my stories on day 3 of this trip. Just for your information, I have been writing the extra note tip about Dream Trip to Western Europe in November 2019 based on my experience during this trip. Feel free to read it. Here, the link to the continued stories about the Dream Trip to Western Europe in November 2019Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, and Day 12.

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