Located on the famous River Thames, the Tower of London is not just a tower. In fact, it includes many, many towers because it’s en entire castle and fortress. The reason it’s called the Tower of London is because of the white tower (more like building) built by William the Conqueror in the 1000s. The Tower of London has had a variety of different uses over the years from royal residence to prison to housing exotic animals that were gifted to the monarch. My mom and I spent the majority of a long morning at the Tower of London. Due to just how famous it is, we decided that the entrance fee was worth it. It’s too bad that it didn’t come with audio self-guided tour though because that would have probably given us more information than the placards. You could literally spend an entire day here though with all the museums, exhibits, and galleries inside.

Read more about our United Kingdom adventure here:
Scotland – edinburgh, the old cityall things national museum • holyrood views 15th century st. giles cathedral closes abound edinburgh’s castle headed north dunkeld, the first stop the highlands killiecrankie’s soldier’s leap a wee dram of tomatin here comes the snow clava cairns’ standing stones crossing the bridge to skye isle of skye sites the old man of storreilean donan castle the heeland coo kilt rock “city” of portree black and white glen coe the last loch celebrating william wallace it’s the food!
Wales – cardiff’s majestic castle countryside it’s the food!fantasy costell cochcaerphilly castle + dragons dusk cardiff buildings the national museum collection mermaids in cardifffireworks
England – bath’s abbey bath’s baths bath’s royal crescent bath’s eats bath’s pulteney bridge bath’s medieval sights mysterious stonehengesalisbury’s cathedral the queen’s calvary westminster cathedral’s stripes the london eats westminster abbeyit’s portrait land!  tower bridge cambridge the city cambridge the colleges

An English photo adventure:

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Read more about our United Kingdom adventure here:
Scotland – edinburgh, the old cityall things national museum • holyrood views 15th century st. giles cathedral closes abound edinburgh’s castle headed north dunkeld, the first stop the highlands killiecrankie’s soldier’s leap a wee dram of tomatin here comes the snow clava cairns’ standing stones crossing the bridge to skye isle of skye sites the old man of storreilean donan castle the heeland coo kilt rock “city” of portree black and white glen coe the last loch celebrating william wallace it’s the food!
Wales – cardiff’s majestic castle countryside it’s the food!fantasy costell cochcaerphilly castle + dragons dusk cardiff buildings the national museum collection mermaids in cardifffireworks
England – bath’s abbey bath’s baths bath’s royal crescent bath’s eats bath’s pulteney bridge bath’s medieval sights mysterious stonehengesalisbury’s cathedral the queen’s calvary westminster cathedral’s stripes the london eats westminster abbeyit’s portrait land!

Westminster Abbey gets all the action. In my head, a cathedral is large while an abbey is small, but at Westminster, this is all backwards because Westminster Abbey is about as giant as it gets. It’s also the most famous because it’s where the English monarch gets crowned and has held that privilege since 1066. It’s also the resting place of seventeen monarchs! According to the Abbey’s website, “The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.”

When my mom and I arrived at Westminster Abbey, we were dismayed to see the ridiculous line wrapped around the entrance several times. We waited over an hour to get in. From there we paid an expensive (but worth-it) entrance fee that came with a handheld self-guided tour device, which as incredibly informative. It was amazing to walk through this giant architectural and historical building and learn everything I ever wanted to know and never even thought to learn about coronations, the history of the Church in England, and more. I’ve never seen so many tombs and epitaphs before either. It was very neat. Of course no pictures are allowed inside so I didn’t break the rules even for this blog. Nevertheless, once outside, a few areas allowed pictures and here they are.

Read more about our United Kingdom adventure here:
Scotland – edinburgh, the old cityall things national museum • holyrood views 15th century st. giles cathedral closes abound edinburgh’s castle headed north dunkeld, the first stop the highlands killiecrankie’s soldier’s leap a wee dram of tomatin here comes the snow clava cairns’ standing stones crossing the bridge to skye isle of skye sites the old man of storreilean donan castle the heeland coo kilt rock “city” of portree black and white glen coe the last loch celebrating william wallace it’s the food!
Wales – cardiff’s majestic castle countryside it’s the food!fantasy costell cochcaerphilly castle + dragons dusk cardiff buildings the national museum collection mermaids in cardifffireworks
England – bath’s abbey bath’s baths bath’s royal crescent bath’s eats bath’s pulteney bridge bath’s medieval sights mysterious stonehengesalisbury’s cathedral the queen’s calvary westminster cathedral’s stripes the london eats

An English photo adventure:

Even though I had initially flown into London, I decided not to spend any time there until the end of my loop around the United Kingdom. This made sense since for the last part of my trip, the plan was to meet up with my mom and sister. My sister was studying abroad in London for a semester.

Due to the requirements of her study abroad program (orientations etc.) my sister wasn’t able to join my mom and me on all our adventures in London. On day one, we visited Westminster Cathedral. This cathedral is iconic with its red and white stripes. It’s size is also utterly immense and completely jam packed with so many mosaics that you wouldn’t believe without seeing it in person. In fact, practically all the art on the walls, ceilings, and floors are Neo-Byzantine-style mosaics! Just thinking about how much time it would have taken to complete all of it (a century and there’s still more to come) is mind blowing!

Read more about our United Kingdom adventure here:
Scotland – edinburgh, the old cityall things national museum • holyrood views 15th century st. giles cathedral closes abound edinburgh’s castle headed north dunkeld, the first stop the highlands killiecrankie’s soldier’s leap a wee dram of tomatin here comes the snow clava cairns’ standing stones crossing the bridge to skye isle of skye sites the old man of storreilean donan castle the heeland coo kilt rock “city” of portree black and white glen coe the last loch celebrating william wallace it’s the food!
Wales – cardiff’s majestic castle countryside it’s the food!fantasy costell cochcaerphilly castle + dragons dusk cardiff buildings the national museum collection mermaids in cardifffireworks
England – bath’s abbey bath’s baths bath’s royal crescent bath’s eats bath’s pulteney bridge bath’s medieval sights mysterious stonehengesalisbury’s cathedral the queen’s calvary

An English photo adventure:

Considering my limited time between leaving Wales and heading to London to meet my mom and sister, Salisbury wasn’t exactly on my list of must-see places, but the only way for me to get to Stonehenge was to start from Salisbury so low-and-behold, I had a few hours after Stonehenge before I had to get on the train to London. During that time, I decided to walk around the city center for a little bit, but my main goal was to see the Salisbury Cathedral.

Formerly called the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Salisbury Cathedral is one of those churches that you read about in books set in early English times. It’s enormously tall, has an incredibly floor plan, encompasses a ridiculous number of rooms and parts, and is just magnificent to look at. The architecture is impressive from every angle. The stained glass windows are bright and incredibly detailed. And the vaulted ceilings seem impossibly high. The steeples too, like, how does the entire structure not just fall down?

Read more about our United Kingdom adventure here:
Scotland – edinburgh, the old cityall things national museum • holyrood views 15th century st. giles cathedral closes abound edinburgh’s castle headed north dunkeld, the first stop the highlands killiecrankie’s soldier’s leap a wee dram of tomatin here comes the snow clava cairns’ standing stones crossing the bridge to skye isle of skye sites the old man of storreilean donan castle the heeland coo kilt rock “city” of portree black and white glen coe the last loch celebrating william wallace it’s the food!
Wales – cardiff’s majestic castle countryside it’s the food!fantasy costell cochcaerphilly castle + dragons dusk cardiff buildings the national museum collection mermaids in cardifffireworks
England – bath’s abbey bath’s baths bath’s royal crescent bath’s eats bath’s pulteney bridge bath’s medieval sights mysterious stonehenge

An English photo adventure: