Our last day in London was full of unexpected surprises. Predicted to be cold and gray, the weather was spectacular. Full sun with a nice breeze and temps in the low 70s. We started our day at the Churchill War Rooms. This is one of the most well-done museums we’ve toured – highly recommend this if you are in London and haven’t been. The museum takes you into the actual war rooms that were used during WWII under the White Hall building in Westminster. These rooms have been virtually unchanged since the doors were locked in 1945, and Queen Elisabeth approved the founding of the museum in the early 1980s. I didn’t realize that Churchill was a published author before he became a political figure. He certainly was one of the most prolific speakers and writers of his time. One of my favorite quotes about Churchill was from a Daily Telegraph reporter, “he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”
The “nerve center” of the Map Room was where the “glamour boys” worked and coordinated all communication to/from the prime minister and his cabinet members and chiefs of staff. Each phone represents a different scrambled line to a different military branch. This was considered state-of-the-art technology at that time, as was the use of air conditioning in this underground space! They also brought in sun lamps so the workers could get artificial sun while living and working underground.
After the tour, we walked to the lovely St. James Park and saw great views of Buckingham Palace in one direction and the London Eye in the other from the Blue Bridge. We kicked back, relaxed, and enjoyed some sunshine in the park before proceeding on.
As we left the park, we walked along the mall – the drive between Admiralty Arch and Buckingham Palace. Do you know why this long road is paved red? A red carpet for the queen, of course. The road is also made of a softer material to be easier on the horses that often frequent this road. It was actually very cushiony! We assume the flags were out in preparation for this weekend’s Trooping the Colour, something we will sadly miss.
As we continued along, we passed this great graffiti of beefeaters.
We then walked through Trafalgar Square and the location of one of my favorite museums – the National Gallery. No time this trip to visit, but we had a great stroll through the area. St. Martins in the Field Church is also located here – take a look at the gorgeous craftsmanship of this ceiling!
After a nice quick bite to eat and stroll through Covent Garden, we made our way back to our hotel for a short nap before the evening’s festivities. Here’s a photo of our hotel lobby – the original lobby of the Hotel Russell.
Hannah will celebrate her 21st birthday while she is in London, so we decided to surprise her with tickets to Hamilton! It certainly did not disappoint – the VIP reception was top-notch, the Victoria Palace Theatre was breathtaking, and the show itself was unbelievably great. What a wonderful way to cap off a lovely visit to London!
After a drink with Hannah and her friends at the very trendy Sketch (tea room by day, night club by night), we called it a great day and night.
Now on to Scotland! After a nice train ride through the countryside, we will arrive in Edinburgh late afternoon. Cheerio!