London Past and Present


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London is a world-class city with modern architecture, a world financial center, and easy-to-see history going back more than two thousand years. We got a taste of it all on a clear day shortly after arriving into St. Katharine Docks. We started with the fabulous views from The Shard, completed in 2012, and stepped back two millenium to visit Roman Walls dating from 200AD. Over the course of the day, we viewed architecture throughout the centuries and finished up in the modern finanical center.

Below are trip highlights from February 12th in London, UK. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

2/12/2018
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Dawn

A clear, calm dawn from our berth at St. Katharine Docks. We’re really enjoying it here.
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London Bridge Station

Passing through London Bridge Station en route to take in the view from The Shard. The station opened in 1836 and is one of the oldest in the world, but you couldn’t tell from looking it. A near decade-long renovation was completed in 2017 and it looks brand new. The station is the fourth-busiest in London, with over 50 million passengers a year.
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View From the Shard

The fabulous view north to downtown London from the viewing platform 800 ft (244m) above the street at the top of The Shard. London Bridge is leftmost, with Tower Bridge at the far right. The Tower of London is just left of Tower Bridge and St. Katharine Docks is a little to the right, beyond Tower Bridge. The warship moored in the river is the World War II ship HMS Belfast, another visit on our to-do list.
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View West

The view west up the Thames from the Shard. The London Eye and the Houses of Parliament are visible in the distance where the river bends.
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Hermitage Moorings

Hermitage Moorings, just east of Tower Bridge, viewed from The Shard. You can just see the spot at the far right end where we moored on our first night in London.
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St. Katharine Docks

We can’t quite see Dirona in this view to St. Katharine Docks from The Shard. We’re moored behind the brown buildings at the bottom of the picture.
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Tower of London

The Tower of London from The Shard.
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Platforms

Looking down onto the multiple train platforms at London Bridge Station. A lot of trains came and went in the short time we were atop The Shard.
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St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the north side of the Thames and west of the London Bridge, was designed by famous London architect Christopher Wren and opened in 1711. The cathedral dome is the 2nd largest in the world and weighs 65,000 tons.
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London Eye

The London Eye Ferris Wheel viewed from The Shard, with the Houses of Parliament at the right.
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Bus

We picked up an Oyster transit card at London Bridge station and are using it on our first London transit trip, on a single-level bus.
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St. Paul’s

We got off the bus near St. Paul’s Cathedral on our way to the London Visitor Center. The cathedral is on our to-do list, but not today.
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Visitor Center

Heading into the London Visitor Center to pickup some maps and brochures.
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Viaduct Tavern

The Viaduct Tavern looks like a great place to stop for a pint, but we’ve got an errand to run first.
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The Fence

We dropped off a package at Fedex in Clerkenwell, then stopped in at The Fence gastropub near Farringdon Station for an excellent lunch. After lunch, we returned to St. Katharine Docks following a Lonely Planet-recommended “Taste of the City Walk” that would take us through London old and new.
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Smithfield Market

Colorful Victorian arches at Smithfield Market, London’s last surviving meat market dating back 800 years. It’s the largest wholesale meat market in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. The market supplies inner City butchers, shops and restaurants with quality fresh meat and was empty when we passed on a Monday afternoon—the operating hours are weekdays between 2am and 10am.
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St. Bartholomew-The-Great

St. Bartholomew-The-Great dates from 1123 and is one of the most ancient churches in London.
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Roman Wall

Ruins of the Roman Wall that enclosed the ancient City of London starting around 200AD. It was one of the largest construction projects in Roman Britain.
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Barbican

Looking west across the lake at Barbican estate from the highwalks between the apartment buildings there. More Roman Wall ruins are on the left and St. Giles Cripplegate church is on the right.
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Tower of St. Alban

This tower is all that remains of a Christopher Wren-designed church that was destroyed in World War II bombing.
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Guildhall

The striking courtyard at 15th century Guildhall, home to the municipal government of the City of London.
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Royal Exchange

The grand and imposing Royal Exchange was opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 1570.
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Interior

The Royal Exchange building no longer functions as a financial institution and has been wonderfully converted to contain stores and restaurants.
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Jamaica Wine House

We found ourselves in this lovely alley, home of Jamaica Wine House, and couldn’t resists stopping in for a quick glass of wine.
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Leadenhall Market

Beautiful Victorian-era Leadenhall Market was the setting for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
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Lloyd’s

Moving firmly into the 20th-century, we took in the dramatic post-modern Lloyd’s of London headquarters, with its exposed stainless steel ducting, vents and staircases.
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Crane

There’s lots of construction happening in downtown London. We were intrigued in how a crane was mounted to the outside of this curved glass building.
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Parking

Even for scooters, parking is dear in downtown London. We watched this man make several attempts to leave before he could extract his scooter from between the other two.
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Gherkin

At the base of 30 St Mary Axe, aka “The Gherkin”, that we can see from our berth.
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Apple Tree

The sculpture “Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl” with The Gherkin visible in the background.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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