We spent the majority of our Saturday on the East end of London. Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude). The town became the site of a royal palace, where many famous Tudors were born like Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. While the palace fell into disrepair during the wars, it was later rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors, and then served as the Royal Naval College from 1873 to 1998. Now in the hands of the Greenwich Foundation, these buildings are open for the public, or used by the University Greenwich. We had the opportunity to visit the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, a neo-classical masterpiece and the famous painted hall. This hall is recognised as the greatest piece of decorative painting in England and has been described as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’.The walls and ceiling were painted by Sir James Thornhill between 1708 and 1727. It features symbolism to deliver powerful messages about monarchy, religion, maritime power, navigation and trade. Fortunately, we had some time to explore the Maritime museum, where we admired the figureheads and the golden globes. As for the view from Greenwich Park, it was breathtaking and well worth the struggle uphill. At this point, our hunger got the best of us. Thankfully, you can always find an exciting market when in London. We enjoyed the most delicious pulled pork wrap and burrito! Yummy
Next stop: Canary Wharf. Not well known for tourists, but is a key business district in East London. It is one of the UK’s two main financial centres – along with the traditional City of London – and contains many of Europe’s tallest buildings, including One Canada Square. I call it the new financial district of London, as well as the most futuristic space in the country. In a sense, it reminds me very much of Chicago – the skyscrapers, clean atmosphere, and river running through the area. A short stop, but an enjoyable one for something different among all the history!
We spent the remaining of the afternoon in London, visiting Tower Bridge, Borough Market, Southwark and Harrods! Anna absolutely enjoyed the afternoon! She was mesmerized by the bridge and lost in the world of fashion at Harrods. You can almost say we saw all of London by this point, but we still had two days of adventures together.