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Seeing London (Day 3 of 3) – Double-Decker Exploration

My wife and I just spent 4 days in London with our 1 year old child (although he can’t talk yet, we think he liked it!). This post is part 3 of a 3 part series, with suggestions for how to make the most of your time in the EU’s biggest city.

Upper-deck view of London city life

I’ve blogged here before that one of my favourite ways to see London is to head for “the Tube,” take a ride in any direction and randomly hop off  wherever the spontaneous mood takes me.

We of course had to do this once again, but this time we toured the city by double-decker bus, one of the best ways to get a birds-eye view of London’s city life. (As you can see from the photo, our child liked the upper-deck front seat.)

The red double-decker bus is an iconic symbol of the UK; you’ve possibly seen one in a movie and knew immediately you were watching London. Not only are the buses used for tours, but the majority of London’s public transit buses are in fact double-deckers (they make practical sense; more people per area of road). For just over 1£ for a ride, you can’t beat the price for such a view!

Big Ben’s Clock Tower

Enjoy the ride, absorbing the street life below you as the bus weaves its way throughout the city. It’s a view like no other (there’s a reason double-decker tours are so popular). But after we’ve seen enough from our view seats, we decide its time for lunch, and hop off in an area that seems over-supplied with restaurants.

After lunch, we take a little stroll and find ourselves on Brompton Road, one of the key shopping areas of London and home of the world famous Harrods department store, which has been on that location since 1849. Whether you are in the shopping mood or not, I strongly recommend a tour of the store nonetheless for its aesthetic beauty and historical relevance.

After a little shopping break, we’re back on the red double-decker, touring London from our dome with a view. We decide to roam through the city for another 45 minutes or so, before hopping off at the sight of famous clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, home of parliament of the UK. Although often referred to as “Big Ben,” the clock tower is actually just a clock tower; “Big Ben” is the heaviest of its five bells.  The original Palace of Westminster was built on this site in the eleventh century, but much of it was destroyed by fire in 1512.

In the vicinity are also Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret’s Church, who combined are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. No trip to the Westminster area of London would be complete without a stop in Victoria Tower Gardens, a public park along the Thames riverbank. You won’t be alone in this area; it’s likely one of the most popular tourist spots in the city. But I assure you’ll have a nice time.



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