London Bridges Falling Down, and Other Iconic British Architecture

From London Bridge to Parliament, Big Ben, the Tower of London and more, the capitol city of England houses some of the most iconic and traditional architecture in the Western world.

London also has a particular draw for Americans, as it gives us a glimpse into our pre-USA history…even if the King’s English is WAY different from American English.

Needless to say, when my wife Carrie and I learned that we could start our backpacking adventure across the world with either an hour-long layover in London or a week-long one for the same price, we opted for the former.

Tower Bridge and the River Thames on a cold and rainy late-December day
Tower Bridge and the River Thames on a cold and rainy late-December day

Coming off of a whirlwind of goodbye activities in my hometown of New York City, we were beyond exhausted when we finally arrived at the London flat of a wonderful couple that we met backpacking in Guatemala a few years earlier. Instead of spending our days exploring the city, we instead holed up, slept in and watched movies.

Big Ben From Westminster Bridge
Big Ben From Westminster Bridge

One of the few times we did get out, we attended the Tower of London Key Ceremony, which we had ordered tickets for months earlier before leaving home. What follows is an excerpt from my travel journal from visiting London, England.

Tower Bridge on a cloudy December day
Tower Bridge on a cloudy December day

Before going to London we had heard about The Ceremony of the Key at the Tower of London: a 700 year old mysterious event where we hold candles and walk through the tower as they lock up the Crowned Jewels…or so we thought.

London Eye
London Eye

In reality, we stood outside for 35 minutes as the tower guards performed a ceremony involving the closing of the tower’s gates, the transfer of the key from the guard to the night watchman and a lot of army talk. Still, it was a very cool ceremony and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting London.

London Eye at Night
London Eye at Night
London Eye From Across the Thames`
London Eye From Across the Thames

This and That

When I’m traveling, I like to keep a journal of random thoughts and musings which I call “This and That.” This, is my London edition.

We got upgraded to first class on our London to New Delhi flight for some reason that we do not know, but I never want to go back to coach again. I actually wrote this blog entry from 35,000 miles above the ground.

I still love Big Ben and double decker buses as much as I did when I first visited London at age 4

Buckingham Palace Gate at Night
Buckingham Palace Gate at Night

While it was Christmas season and there were lights and displays in the more touristy areas, it just didn’t feel like it does in the USA where it beyond commercialized.

You think our airport security is harsh, try flying through Gatwick!

I set my camera on the escalator step of the London Tube with a 10.5mm fisheye lens and used a remote to hold the shutter open while it moved
I set my camera on the escalator step of the London Tube with a 10.5mm fisheye lens and used a remote to hold the shutter open while it moved

The biggest benefit of the economic crisis is that the dollar was quite good in conversion rates. Gone are the days of 2 to 1 Pound to Dollar.

We met a very nice couple searching for cheap flights to Dalaman Turkey for their honeymoon. They said many people flew to Dalaman from London.

After just under 2 weeks in London, Carrie and I have already picked up some of their ways of speaking. (Flat, quite, dodgy, mobile, thanks love, quaint, cheers, etc)

It pretty much rained or was cloudy the entire time we were in Europe

Being a huge fan of James Bond, most-every structure also has a 007 connection as well.

George Lazenby stood by these ornaments during a photo shoot for On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the 1969 James Bond movie
George Lazenby stood by these ornaments during a photo shoot for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the 1969 James Bond movie

Andrew and Lucie were the best hosts ever! Thanks so much guys…it was great to see you and now you have to come visit us Stateside so we can return the favor :)

Piccadilly Circus is like London’s Times Square…filled with lots of neon and too many people!

Picadilly Circus is one of the busiest parts of London, England
Picadilly Circus is one of the busiest parts of London, England

We are now members of the couchsurfing community, which is an online networking site where people offer up their couch for a night or two for free. There are members worldwide and we hope to use this as a great way to see the local’s way of live as we travel. To learn more, check out Couchsurfing.com

While in London we saw a graffiti filled cement park where people were doing all sorts of freestyle jumping acrobatics, flips and more

A display of all types of freestyle techniques was taking place under a walkway next to the River Thames
A display of all types of freestyle techniques was taking place under a walkway next to the River Thames
A Picadilly Circus intersection during Christmas season
A Picadilly Circus intersection during Christmas season

Share the Journey

  • Amelia Baldree

    Great photos of London, Greg!

    • Greg Goodman

      Thanks Amelia! I’m still jealous that you were there for the HP premier, even if you didn’t get to attend :P

  • http://www.londonwalkblog.blogspot.com London Walks

    Great shots of London! Loving particularly the Westminster Bridge detail shots with Parliament in the background.

    • Greg Goodman

      Thanks so much!

  • http://www.dreamytours.com/ Best Travel Destinations

    London is no wonder the “Lady” of Europe and one of my dream destinations! Such a pleasant-to-read story and amazing photos, Greg! Like your website much! :)

  • http://apostcardaday.blogspot.com/ Sheila @ A Postcard a Day

    I came here to see how you are getting along with Adbeans but I’ve been sidetracked. :)

    Just thought I’d point out that it is Tower Bridge in the two pictures, not London Bridge. http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Hi Sheila. Great to hear from you and thanks for pointing out my glaring error… Though, people reading this now might not know what you’re talking about, as I fixed it :) Hope all is well.

  • http://dontstopliving.net Jonny Blair

    Nice site Greg and absolutely amazing photos. The thing that attracted me to it was your quirky titles, most bloggers (myself included sometimes) tend to stick to boring ‘top 5 things in London’ etc. titles . Also I think Tower Bridge actually is also known as London Bridge sometimes (as it was there before the current London Bridge) at least to tourists…I could be wrong. Jonny (http://dontstopliving.net)

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Hey Jonny. Thanks for your comment and for your kind words. I do love the quirky titles, though I think that the standard top 5 and such are better for SEO. As for the Tower Bridge/London Bridge, it’s a good debate. I originally had it titled Tower Bridge, but an earlier comment suggested that I change it to London Bridge… Now I think I’ll just keep it the way it is and let people hash it out in the comments :) BTW, love your site!!!