What I Did on My Summer Vacation: July 23–Pictures from Big Ben, Hampton Court, and More

July 23rd, we went back to the streets for more fun and exciting London experiences. (Note: at the time, there was no rioting in London, so we didn’t see anything like that.) Up on the docket for the day? Seeing Big Ben, checking out Westminster Abbey, and heading out to Hampton Court Palace.

Things didn’t go quite as planned–at least not at first. I’d budgeted two and a half hours for Big Ben and Westminster. Due to an unforeseen delay, we only had an hour. When we got there, we discovered every other tourist in London had decided to visit those same places that day. The whole area was elbow to elbow *packed* with people. The kids were complaining, I had to carry DC again (which aggravated my already sore back), and the line to get into Westminster Abbey was at least 45 minutes long, which meant that by the time we paid our $50 to get in, we’d have all of 15 minutes to see the place.

We didn’t go in. This was pretty disappointing for me–Westminster had been really high on my Things I Want to See in London list, but such is life. I’ve technically seen it before (Junior year of high school), so I just did my best to get over it. I’m way too cheap to pay $50 for 15 minutes of packed crowds.

Now somewhat dubious about our day, we headed out to Hampton Court Palace, where things got much better, I’m happy to say. They’ve really done good things at that place–there are free tours all over the place, the kids can dress up in costumes, there’s a hedge maze (which TRC loved), beautiful gardens–all around a great time. (Check pics below for more comments.)

We ended the day by getting some fish and chips, or as I prefer to call it, hamburgers and more fries than you could choke a horse with. (They take their chips very seriously in London, or at least they did where we bought them.) (I also discovered there that Fanta has aspartame in it. For those of you who don’t know, I’m allergic to aspartame: it gives me horrendous migraines. I only drank a bit before I found out, but the rest of the trip, I was really nervous I was going to get a bad migraine. Blech.)

Anyway–it turned out to be another successful day. Yes, my back hurt even more than the day before, but what’s a bit of pain in the face of adventure? On with the pictures:

Since when did they build a giant ferris wheel across from Big Ben? Not my favorite design choice, but apparently it’s done very well for itself.

TRC’s first official trip picture that he snapped. He did a pretty darn good job.

At Hampton Court Palace, TRC and DC resumed their plans to make a successful acorn selling business. I’m still not sure exactly how this is supposed to work, but TRC has it all figured out.

Hampton Court Palace: Not too shabby, for a summer home.

I was looking for interior decoration ideas. Too much?

The king’s throne. I don’t know about you, but Henry VIII can keep his wives and his throne. I’ll take running water and a flush toilet, and we’ll call it even.

DC shows off her outfit and a palace hall.

TRC was our guide on the hedge maze. He’s an expert.

Made it there with only one wrong turn. Go TRC!

Denisa’s true views of herself come out at last:   🙂

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