Today's post will conclude the activities of day #7 in London. After leaving Fortnum and Mason we got on a tube to Covent Garden. During my 2007 visit, our group had Afternoon Tea at Tea Palace in Notting Hill, but they later relocated to Covent Garden. I was hoping to visit their new shop, but unbeknownst to me they closed the store, and just have an online business now. Covent Garden is an interesting place to visit, so it wasn't a wasted trip. We probably could have spent most of a day in the area since there's much to see. If you recall, the musical My Fair Lady begins with a bustling scene in Covent Garden.
~ Tube Station Entertainers ~
Covent Garden is located in the southwest end of London, and is a tourist location containing theaters, cafés, pubs, small shops and three market halls. There are street entertainers too. I don't know what to call the two men in the photos below - mimes?? They definitely got the attention of everyone because it appears as though they're sitting and standing in air. They moved from time to time, and smiled, blinked, and made gestures, so they were real people. Interesting!
~ One of the entrances to Covent Garden Market ~
~ A café inside Apple Market ~
Even though Tea Palace is no longer there, two other tea purveyors are - Whittards, and East India Company.
~ More entertainment on the lower level of the market hall ~
~ Outside Apple Market ~
~ A Ladurée location at Covent Garden ~
From Covent Garden we had one last stop before heading back to our hotel - St. Paul's Cathedral, where Lady Diana Spencer's 1981 fairy tale wedding to Prince Charles took place.
With it's world famous dome, St. Paul's Cathedral is the masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren [who is entombed in the crypt]. In 1666 the Great Fire of London destroyed the former cathedral, and Christopher Wren was given the task of building a new church. The first stone was laid on June 21, 1675, and the cathedral was completed in 1711, but services were held there beginning 1697. It's the second largest cathedral in Britain, and the funerals of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher were held there.
~ The Cathedral is English Baroque, Renaissance Architecture ~
Below is the Two Tower, West Front
It sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. The dome is said to be the finest in the world, reaching a height of 366 feet. The only dome larger is Michaelangelo's dome at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. For the physically fit, 560 steps lead visitors along three galleries to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of London.
We missed the last tour at 4:00 p.m., and Evensong at 5:00 p.m., but they allowed us to go inside when the Evensong was over for a quick look.
Afternoon Tea is served in the cathedral's basement café Monday - Saturday 3:00-4:15 p.m. Wouldn't it be great to tour the cathedral, have Afternoon Tea, and then attend the Evensong service? I've written that down in case I ever get to go back!
~ A view of the cathedral dome between two buildings ~
~ End of Day #7's Sightseeing Adventures ~