Another morning, another Pret breakfast near the Tower of London.
We walked across the Tower Bridge and it seemed like we had timed it to perfection. The sirens went off, the gates swung closed, there was about to be a bridge lift. We hung around for a while and sadly the bridge started talking and announced the bridge lift was cancelled. Oh drats. We have not actually seen it open before.
Tower Bridge is a Grade I listed combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones and engineered by John Wolfe Barry. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust founded in 1282. The bridge was opened by Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales in 1894. The bridge is 800 feet (240 m) in length and consists of two 213-foot (65 m) bridge towers connected at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, and a central pair of bascules that can open to allow shipping. Originally hydraulically powered, the operating mechanism was converted to an electro-hydraulic system in 1972. The bridge is part of the A100 London Inner Ring Road and thus the boundary of the London congestion charge zone, and remains an important traffic route with 40,000 crossings every day. The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians, whereas the bridge’s twin towers, high-level walkways and Victorian engine rooms form part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
We walked along the River Thames and across the Harry Potter Bridge past St Paul’s Cathedral.
After catching the underground a few stops and a short walk we were back at Museum Lane. The beautiful Natural History Museum caught our eye a couple of days ago. We hoped what was inside was just as impressive. There was a wee ice rink outside that Eloise was surprisingly keen for after yesterday‘s fun. Dad’s back was still fully cooked though.
We walked through the front door and it did not disappoint. There was so much cool stuff to see. We spent most of our time in the Dinosaurs, Birds, Volcanoes and Earthquakes Exhibitions.
Although commonly referred to as the Natural History Museum, it was officially known as British Museum (Natural History) until 1992, despite legal separation from the British Museum itself in 1963. Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881 and later incorporated the Geological Museum. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections.
Eloise was excited when she spotted Andy’s famous clock from Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures.
The animatronic dinosaurs were entertaining. It was a great day to visit as only yesterday a “giant Christmas jumper [had] been created for a Tyrannosaurus Rex”. When we turned the corner we were unsure how the children would react, they seemed to find it fascinating. Eloise was glad it had a jumper on to keep warm.
“The animatronic T.rex is sporting the festive knit, which has been made by a family-run firm in Leicester. British Christmas Jumpers has previously produced sweaters for Ed Sheeran and the Houses of Parliament. Director Snahal Patel said the latest design was the company’s biggest job yet and took staff 100 hours to complete. “We’ve never done anything like this. My dad’s never done anything like this and he’s been in this business for 35 to 40 years,” Mr Patel said. “It’s probably the biggest thing we’ve made and going forward into the future there are other big projects planned.” The jumper is 12 times heavier than a regular jumper and human-sized versions are also available to buy from the museum shop to help fund the venue’s work.”Carla Treasure, from the attraction, said they wanted to do something fun to encourage people back after a tough year.”
Super Mum and the children then caught the escalator through the Death Star to the Volcanoes and Earthquakes Exhibition. The exhibition included a simulator which we walked onto assuming and hoping it was not too vigorous. It was fairly tame but would be alarming in a real-life situation. Eloise was more concerned she could not reach the shopping baskets or the noodles.
A quick check in the British Geological Survey for some sweet merch for uncle Kochy.
We were going to go shopping but were all worn out after the past few days so headed back to the hotel.
On the way back, we Googled the bridge lift schedule. It was opening hourly today for maintenance procedures. We had to check it out. It lifted quicker than we expected.
After lunch, we got back to the hotel just in time for Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures. You could see the gears spinning in Eloise’s head as she connected the dots.
After a much-needed rest, it was into the London attire as we set off to find dinner. Tonight we ventured across the Tower Bridge to Christmas by the River. Walking along the Christmas stalls there were impressive decorations, far too fragile for this family.