City of London

Today, we spent most of the day in the City of London. We started out at the Sky Garden and ended at St. Paul’s Cathedral to the west.

Sky Garden

After we exited the Underground at the Monument station, we found the nearby monument to the fire of 1666 that destroyed much of London. It is possible to go to the top, though we did not do that today. Instead, we continued onward to the “Walkie Talkie.”

This building, at 20 Fenchurch Street, gets its nickname from its appearance. It looks more like an electric razor to me. The Sky Garden is at the top three floors.

Upon arriving at the top, we headed right to the outdoor viewing platform. The sky was still overcast and visibility was a bit limited. Still, we could clearly see all the nearby landmarks like The Shard across the Thames and the HMS Belfast on the river.

The glass wasn’t great for photography as it was both tinted and angled up a bit due to the curvature of the buildings. I was able to photograph to the left a bit to get the Tower Bridge into this frame though.

Looking out of one of the windows to the left, we could see all of the Tower of London. Out on the horizon, we could see the cluster of skyscrapers at Canary Wharf.

Looking up, we can see the glass roof above the outdoor viewing area and the tinted glass at the edge of the building.

Once inside, we walked up to the next floor. We noticed 007 on a mission! Wait… Actually, it looks like someone rappelling down to do some maintenance.

To the rear of the building, we could see some of the other taller buildings as well as “The Gherkin,” or more formally 30 St. Mary’s Axe.

In addition to restaurants, there is also a bar. We visited in the morning so it was not open.

The next floor up looks out over the first floor of the Sky Garden, or 35th floor of the building. It is a nice space!

Although it is called the Sky Garden, there aren’t too many plants. They mostly line the left and right sides where stairs go between the first and second floors.

After having an early lunch nearby, we took one last look at the building. The sky was starting to clear!

Leadenhall Market

Next, we headed north to Leadenhall Market, just about a block away.

It seems to be a nice area. Not much was going on though.

Parts of Harry Potter were shot here in Leadenhall Market. It was used for Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron. The Leaky Cauldron is in what is now a migraine clinic to the left of #42. There is a scene where Hagrid is walking with Harry and it is clearly this exact location!

The Royal Exchange

We continued walking west to The Royal Exchange. This historic building, dating back to 1844, is now a small upscale shopping center. There is one very interesting thing in these two photos…

Darth Vader fishing! Or, “Darth Fisher.” This piece was created by Streetart Frankey, an artist from Amsterdam.

We exited via the front of the building.

Further away in front of the building, near the road, there is an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. The horse is anatomically correct.

The Bank of England is next to The Royal Exchange.

Mansion House, the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s residence, is also right by The Royal Exchange. The Lord Mayor seems to run the City of London, as opposed to the Mayor of London who is responsible for all of London.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

We continued onward to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The original building was the tallest in the world for a period of time, though it was destroyed in the fire of 1666.

We went inside and did the introductory tour which started a few minutes after we arrived. We learned a bit about the history of the building as well as what is contained within.

This is the font which is the source of holy water for baptism and other activities that require holy water. Apparently, the water comes from the Thames and is routinely topped off. It is blessed which is what makes it holy.

One of the most visible monuments on the main floor of the cathedral is this rather large one dedicated to the Duke of Wellington. Although it looks like there is a casket, there is no body here. All bodies are down below in the crypt!

This cross, one of two, commemorates World War I.

Looking up from below the dome. The visible portions are actually the inner dome. There is an external structure that encases it.

This portion of the cathedral looks different from the rest. The story is that one of the monarchs complained and that resulted in some redecorating. The cathedral’s management stopped doing this at some point.

The dome from the side.

A monument dedicated to Lord Nelson, hero of Trafalgar and the guy atop the stick at Trafalgar Square.

A different monument, this one dedicated to Lord Cornwallis. The text mentions some of his successes. It doesn’t mention that he lost the Revolutionary War, resulting in the successful establishment of the USA. He is portrayed as quite a villain in The Patriot.

A few scenes from the far end of the cathedral.

“Mother & Child”

After exploring the main floor, we headed down into the crypt. There was a chapel for the Order of the British Empire.

The Duke of Wellington’s casket.

Lord Nelson’s casket.

Christopher Wren, who designed the current St. Paul’s, is buried here.

An additional memorial to Christopher Wren. He also had worked as an astronomer and also designed the Royal Observatory.

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