Tuesday, September 23, 2008

London and The High Seas

There is a lot of naval history and world history in London. The River Thames makes London a natural place for watery adventures. Spend a day following the Maritime attractions of London.

Take the 45 minute boat ride from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. No trip to London is complete without at least a short ride on the River Thames. The sights of the city line the shoreline and have a different character when seen from the deck of a boat. You'll past the H.M.S. Belfast, well worth a visit, and see the Tower of London. There is a chance that you'll have a chatty boat Captain who will point out the many odd and interesting things along the way-they like you to tip for this service. The River Thames is a busy place and the day we rode the river there was a boat moured next to the H.M.S. Belfast-our chatty Captain told that he knew nothing about this ship as it had just come in that morning, but he could tell us a bit about H.M.S. Belfast.

Greenwich is the home of Flamsteed House, the former home of the Royal Observatory. The Queens House is here, which was the model for the White House in Washington, D.C. The Cutty Sark is here as well.

Cutty Sark- Cutty Sark has travelled across the world, sailing under both the Red Ensign and the Portuguese flag, visiting every major port in the world through the course of her working life. Seems the Cutty Sark is closed at the moment for renovation and will be reopening in 2010.

Queen's House-The 17th-century Queen's House represents a turning point in English architecture. It now showcases the National Maritime Museum's fine-art collection and provides a unique venue for weddings, corporate and private events.

Trafalgar Tavern-In Victorian London there was one pub that represented the best of Britain’s naval might and cultural standing. A place where William Gladstone and Charles Dickens could be seen dining side-by-side. An oasis away from the industrial sprawl, but yet at the centre of an Empire. Exactly 170 years later the Trafalgar Tavern still stands in the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site, and it remains one of London’s most essential public houses.

Thames Flood Barrier- Together with the Barking Barrier and significant gates at the entrances to the old Royal Docks, the Thames Barrier is currently the responsibility of the Environment Agency's Thames Region. On the north bank of the Thames and with stunning views of the awesome flood Barrier lies a jewel in the crown of London's parks-Thames Barrier Park. Set within 22 acres of lawns, trees and uniquely contoured Yew and Maygreen hedges you can discover the delights of this urban oasis.

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