Today was a full day! In the morning Melissa and I went to the British Library, where we saw the original manuscripts by Austen, Brontë, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Eliot, and the Beatles. We also saw the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Magna Carta! Whoo! Thanks Dad for the recommendation.
At 1 we headed to Westminster Abbey but the line was too long to make it into a tour, so we browsed the gift shop before walking down Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and getting mixed in with the Climate Change protest going on.
At 3pm we attended the Westminster Abbey Evensong service. SO BEAUTIFUL. And the choir boys were SO GOOD and so young. Beautiful, beautiful, and absolutely worth it.
At the end, we headed home amid the cold to warm up in our room before heading out again. Tonight’s agenda: historic pub crawl! Melissa and Megan and her sister came out with me to see the historic sites of London. We only hit three, since they were so far away from each other, but it was a great night of non-touristy sightseeing!
First stop, The Mayflower (117 Rotherhithe Street, Rotherhithe, London, SE16 4NF), a restored 16th century public house which was named after the ship chartered by the Pilgrim Fathers, who left Rotherhithe for America in 1620. Our roots!
Next stop, The George (77 Borough High Street, Borough, London, SE1 1NH), London’s only surviving galleried coaching inn. The George was rebuilt in 1676, after a devastating fire swept Southwark. It was next to Chaucer’s choice for the starting point of his ‘Canterbury Tales’ in 1388. The Middle Bar was formerly the Coffee Room, a haunt of Charles Dickens. Coooolll.
Unfortunately, the pub was hopping mad with private parties and people, so we left pretty soon. Onwards to East London via the DLR, to The Prospect of Whitby, (57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London, E1W 3SJ), one of the most famous pubs in London. It dates from 1543 and has survived through 15 monarchs. In the seventeenth century, it had a reputation as a meeting place for smugglers and villains, and became known as ‘Devil’s Tavern.’
Word in the pub, though, was that the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (our next stop) was closed, so we called it a night. All in all, a good tour-less-traveled through the darker, quainter, truer parts of old London. Took us long enough to do it!