We built this city on Rock and Roll

Published: July 7th 2013
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It seemed like only moments later and we were up and going again. We headed down to check out breakfast but with a queue nearly out of the door we voted to set off and find subsistence on the way.

Woolly says – I was pretty hungry but had to trust to Jo and Zoe that food wouldn’t be long in arriving, a handy Starbucks provided us with fruit toast, tea and juice, sorted. Keeping my paws tucked in we were back to the underground, I lost track of the stations and the escalators until we found ourselves outside Tower Bridge and the other side of the Thames. A short stroll through the wonderful smells of Borough market and the remains of Winchester Palace was a trip in itself. We paused at the Golden Hind for a photo opportunity, I was already dreaming of helping Sir Walter Raleigh on his travels when Jo rudely interrupted my illusion to tell me that it was only a replica not the real ship, what a shame. By now we could see the Thames and the beautiful vista of St Paul’s cathedral in front of us while behind us was the starting point for the day, The Globe Theatre.

We had all been looking forward to this, not knowing quite what to expect the building looked very authentic and having paid our £13.00 GBP each (Zoe got a student discount of £3.00 GBP), we took our audio guides in hand and went to explore the exhibition prior to our guided tour. The place was packed with tourists, Woolly took the sensible option of staying in my bag, poking his trunk out to see what was about. The exhibition was really good and gave us loads of information on the building of the original globe down the road in 1599 and how the money had been raised to complete the current globe in 1997. Along with costume design and making, the music and instruments used in the performance and the live of the Baird himself we were running out of time to listen to the guide tape and see everything. Turning our headsets off we wandered through the last 57 points of interest before meeting our actor guide under the tree.

Woolly says – I liked our guide, he spoke loud enough for every one of the thirty strong group to hear but without shouting, he tried to be funny at times but we let him off as he was very informative. Taking us into the theatre itself was a real wow factor, beautifully constructed with painted ceilings on the stage and in the ‘posh’ boxes, and the tiers of wooden benches he explained how there had in fact been three Globe theatres but only two were thatched. To use the current thatched roof the trustees had had to have all sorts of special permission as thatch isn’t allowed within three miles of the city. I really enjoyed him telling us about the audience and how once inside no matter how long the show that’s where they stayed, rain, snow or sun even worse if the needed a visit, they went where they were!!! I’m glad it’s a bit more civilised now!

It was an excellent visit and well worth checking it out, it would have been lovely to stay and watch that afternoon’s performance but we had more to do.

Woolly says – just as I thought I might make it onto the stage I was whisked away and before I could twitch my tusks we were back on the tube. This time when we surfaced I found myself right by the Tower of London. With London Bridge right behind it I couldn’t wait to take the tower by storm and having pre-paid for our tickets at Leicester Square the night before (£19.00 GBP each and another student discount of £3.00 GBP for Zoe) we found that the normal price was £23.00 GBP, we were pretty happy with our deal. I got very excited when I saw my first Yeoman, I wanted to ask to have my photo with him but there were queues of people waiting to do the same so Jo dragged me off and we began our exploration. First stop was the Medieval Hall, it had beautiful stone work patterns but it was difficult to see much else as the whole world seemed to be there at the same time, we went up and down the towers until the lines became too much and we retreated to the grounds for a sit down.

Having found an empty bench we were happy to sit for a while and watch the Yeoman’s at work but spying the queue for the Crown Jewels a rest would have to wait.

Woolly says – My paws, my paws, a Kingdom for new paws! It seemed to take hours of shuffling forward to get to the entrance, I grew bored of counting Ravens and playing spot the Yeoman Guard, finally we were inside and I got ready for the most valuable collection of jewels to come into view – it didn’t. Still we shuffled forward but now with small amounts of history presented to us, would we ever get there? At last I saw something shiny and glittering in front of me as we stepped onto a moving walkway we slowly glided past the crowns of previous Monarchs, they were fabulous and so intricate I could only gape in awe. Off the walkway and we continued the shuffle into another room housing the biggest golden dishes, plates and table decorations, how much would all of this cost? Jo told me it was priceless and as they are one offs impossible to place a value. Another room came into view and we were able to take in the wonders of the Queens inauguration gown, it must have weighed an awful lot with all that gold on it, finally there was the current Queen’s Crown, it was truly stunning with a Ruby as big as my head, I‘m very glad I don’t have to wear it! Then it was over and we were back in the sunshine.

We were glad we had gone to see the jewels but it had taken a long time to go round so we sped off to investigate what else the Tower had to offer.

Woolly says – A rest seemed a thing of the past, I followed Jo and Zoe as we made our way through the White Tower which was so full of people I couldn’t see anything. The one floor was full of interactive displays and we tried our hand at fencing and shooting arrows. Up more steps and into the Bloody Tower which was a bit disappointing as there was no blood at all only the story of two Princes, Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. The two brothers were the only sons of Edward IV of England. When they were 12 and 9 years old in around 1483, they were lodged in the Tower of London by the man appointed to look after them, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. This was supposed to be in preparation for Edward's coronation as king, but after Richard took the throne for himself it is assumed that they were murdered, nothing has ever been proved. The tour continued into the tower of torture and punishment, housed in Wakefield Tower, which showed us a replica of the rack, before I knew it we were outside and heading to the ferries, do these pair every stop?

Part of the package we had booked included a free trip down the Thames to Westminster, usually charged at £19.00 GBP per person this was a BIG bargain. The river was great with a running commentary on what we were passing and interesting information on the history of the country. The London Eye came into view and we docked at Westminster just in time to hear Big Ben.

Woolly says – Westminster and Big Ben were so intricate and something to be very proud off, I kept my eyes peeled in case they need a new MP to sit that day. Off we went again, up Whitehall we sauntered, stopping to see if David was in at Number 10, before finding myself looking at a horses bottom (all we could see) at Horse Guards Parade. What a city and so much to see the buildings alone would take a year to write about. I was amazed at every turn, Nelson was so high and his lions were nearly as big as our house and still we kept going. I started to recognise places from the night before as we arrived back into Leicester Square, at last a sit down?

Before the much needed sit down we wanted to decide on our evening’s entertainment, film or theatre? We do love the theatre and having viewed the cheap options we decided to squeeze the budget a little. Thirty pounds later and we were set for the musical Rock of Ages, a film I had already seen and to be frank hated, tonight could be interesting.

Woolly says – Zoe and I thought this was a good choice as if nothing else the music should be right up our street and we were right. The storyline was a bit thin on the ground but we rocked our way through Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and many other of the iconic rock songs, my paws were tapping and clapping all the way. Tired beyond tired we took our last underground ride of the day back to the hostel and a rest at last.

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