There is so much to see and learn in the great city of London.
During our recent holiday trip to Europe with my daughter, Alexis, her children, Jude and Truman, and our dear friend, Kevin Sharkey, we had the opportunity to tour many historic and interesting places - we visited cathedrals, museums, markets and other London treasures. Many friends and colleagues also gave me extensive lists of their favorite restaurants and sights - we were so well-prepared for this most exciting and informative excursion.
Here are more of my photos - and tomorrow, images from the second half of our trip. Visit my Instagram page @marthastewart48 for a sneak peak at some of my photos from France. And remember, if you click on each photo below, you can see it in a larger, more detailed view, and click through the gallery.
While my grandchildren napped, we visited the famous St Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral located on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. The original church on this site was founded in 604 AD. This church, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by architect, Sir Christopher Wren. https://www.stpauls.co.uk
In front of the cathedral is the 1886 statue of Queen Anne by sculptors Richard Claude Belt and L.A. Malempré, and Wren. Queen Anne was the reigning monarch in 1710 when the cathedral was completed. This statue is the second to occupy the space after the original fell into disrepair following years of poor weather and neglect.
The cathedral’s dome, framed by the spires of Wren’s City churches, is 365-feet high. It was the tallest building in London from 1710 to the 1960s, and remains among the highest domes in the world. At the dome’s base is the well-known Whispering Gallery, a circular walkway halfway up the inside of the dome, where a phrase whispered against one wall can be heard against the far wall about 112-feet away.
Also outside the cathedral is an inscription commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It reads, “Here Queen Victoria Returned Thanks to Almighty God for the Sixtieth Anniversary of Her Accession, June 22 AD 1897.”
This is the entrance to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Inside the front doors is the cathedral’s baptismal font, a blue veined Italian marble piece carved in 1727 by Francis Bird.
The interior of St Paul’s Cathedral is stunning. St Paul’s is often nicknamed ‘the Nation’s Church’. Many National services are held here each year. Among the most notable – the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher. Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria and peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars were also held at the cathedral. And, you may recall, so was the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
The main internal space of the cathedral is under the impressive dome which extends the full width of the nave and aisles. It rises above a gilded cornice at 173-feet to a height of 214-feet. At the highest point is an oculus inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
This is one of two large cruciform sculptures by artist, Gerry Judah. The pair arrived at St Paul’s to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I and to remind visitors of those who died.
This is a limestone Mother and child sculpture by Henry Moore in 1943 – it is so beautiful.
Here is the choir looking east. St Paul’s Cathedral choir is made largely of men and boys. The earliest records of the choir date from 1127. The current group consists of up to 30-boy choristers, eight-probationers, the Vicars Choral, and 12-professional male singers.
Below is the cathedral’s crypt – the largest in Western Europe. It extends the entire length of the building. There are more than 200-monuments and memorials in the crypt. Sir Christopher Wren was the first person to be buried in St Paul’s Cathedral. This is the Winston Churchill Memorial Screen.
These beautiful iron work gates were commissioned by the Cathedral Chapter and designed and made by the blacksmith James Horrobin in 2004.
Churchill attended St Paul’s Cathedral throughout his long, political career, and admired the designs and works of Christopher Wren. His funeral at St Paul’s was meticulously planned from the procession to the ceremony, and to his final burial place at Bladon in Oxfordshire.
The Union Jack or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George of the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland.
On this day, we also met with friends and ate at Le Colombier Restaurant, a charming and refined French brasserie. Here I am with illustrated books publisher, Edward Booth-Clibborn. http://www.le-colombier-restaurant.co.uk/home.shtml
And here I am with his wonderful wife, Julia Booth-Clibborn.
This is Kevin with Edward and Julia’s son, Laurence.
And this is my godson, Augustine, and his fiancee, Juliette.
London’s decorations for Christmas were wonderful.
Here is London’s Tower Bridge and the ramp to the river boats at the Tower of London, the Queen’s Royal Palace and Fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames. The Tower Bridge is a combined drawbridge and suspension bridge built in 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of the city. http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/#gs.WriYMPw
We also made time to visit the London Transport Museum. It covers all aspects of the city’s transportation and is open to the public every day – the children loved it. http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk
On display are many examples of buses, trams, trolleybuses and rail vehicles from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as artifacts related to the operation of passenger services and the impact transportation has had on the city and its population.
We walked through the Borough Food Market – a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, Central London. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in the area and recently celebrated its one-thousandth birthday. http://boroughmarket.org.uk
We saw many beautiful foods, such as these pink oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus djamor. The brightly colored pink oyster is a tropical mushroom that grows best in areas with warmer temperatures and high humidity.
For shoppers, there was a wide selection of mushrooms from which to choose.
And, so many different colored carrots. As you know, from seeing the carrots I grow at my farm, these vitamin-packed vegetables come in an array of colors – red, yellow, white, purple, and of course, orange.
There were also lots and lots of candies.
We had to stop in at Neal’s Yard Dairy, a beautiful shop that offers nearly every cheese imaginable. https://www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk
There are hard and soft cheeses like Red Leicester, Appleby’s Cheshire, Shropshire Blue and Colston Basset and Stilton – all sourced from farms around the UK and Ireland.
If you love cheese – add Neal’s Dairy Yard to your list of places to visit.
Here is the gate to Queen’s House, a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 in Greenwich by architect Inigo Jones. The house now forms part of the National Maritime Museum and is used to display parts of their substantial collection of maritime paintings and portraits. It was used as a VIP center during the 2012 Olympic Games. http://www.rmg.co.uk/queens-house
We all just loved seeing the iron work around London – so beautifully made.
The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers to be made and one of the fastest.
The Cutty Sark is listed as part of the National Historic Fleet. She is one of only three remaining original composite construction clipper ships from the 19th century.
While in London, we also enjoyed a real pub meal at the Town of Ramsgate Pub, a friendly and welcoming establishment in the heart of East London, and in the center of the ancient hamlet of Wapping. http://townoframsgate.pub
We had a ploughman’s lunch, also known simply as “ploughman’s.- an English cold meal including cheese, pickles and bread. Sometimes, these lunches also include apple, boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions.
Truman took this photo of me – he’s an excellent four-year old photographer, don’t you agree?
Before leaving for the second half of our European trip, we enjoyed a driving tour of Bond Street on the way to the airport and saw more of the lovely holiday decorations. Bond Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London. It links Piccadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north and has been popular for retail since the 18th century.
I love these peacock feather lights!
We passed the Ermenegildo Zegna flagship boutique on Bond Street. The shop had the best lambs in the windows.
Everything looked so beautiful! Tomorrow, Photos from our journey to Paris. Don’t forget to visit my Instagram page @marthastewart48 to see more of my photos.