Our last few days in London were spent in the city and afar. On Monday we made our way via train to Windsor Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited royal residence in Britain.
At 11am we witnessed the changing of the guard (a very grand procession) before visiting Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Nearly every item in the house is built on a 1:12 ratio and includes fully functioning plumbing and electricity, a working vacuum, miniature books with printed pages and genuine vintage wine in the cellar.
After touring the castle we made our way across the bridge to Eton where we joined a walking tour and were treated to a brief history of the college. The college costs approximately £30,000 per annum including food and board, and is for boys only. There are also many longstanding traditions, including a uniform of black tailcoat and waistcoat, books carried under one arm instead of in a bag, classes known as ‘divisions’ or ‘divs’ and teachers referred to as ‘beaks’.
Former pupils include nineteen British Prime Ministers, members of the Royal family, Prince William and Prince Harry, and Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond novels).
For dinner we popped into the Swan (our local in Hammersmith) for divine fish and chips on me – Ed’s reward for not complaining the whole way over on the plane.
On Tuesday we split up for a couple of hours – Ed travelled up the Shard for breathtaking views of London through his trusty binoculars and I stopped in at a coffee shop for a cup of tea before walking along the Thames and exploring the Tate Modern.
In the afternoon we took a tour around Lord’s cricket ground and through the Marylebone Cricket Club pavilion – a highlight of the trip so far for Ed.
We then walked the zebra crossing like John Lennon and his mates before meandering through Regent’s Park and into Marylebone. In a little side street we found Le Fromagerie and overindulged in a delicious cheese platter and crackers. I was in heaven!
To finish the day we met Ed’s cousin Erica for a few beers, dinner and lots of laughs on Pimlico Road near Chelsea.
On Wednesday, our last full day in London, we took the train out to Shoreditch and explored the graffitied streets on our way to the Spitalfields Traders Market. We (only just) resisted award winning pies and Movenpick ice cream to save room for delicious Indian food on Brick Lane.
After our Indian feast we took the train to the British Museum where we quickly toured around the collections and saw such highlights as the Rosetta Stone (which was used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics) and an extraordinary array of mummies and art.
We spent our final morning in London walking around beautiful Hammersmith and going out for breakfast in Brackenbury Village. We packed our suitcases and lugged them four floors down the stairs, to the station and around Gatwick airport to take our afternoon flight to Edinburgh. I must say a BIG thank you to Ed who helped me out with my bag as we made our way up and down staircases over the course of the day – what a star!