Another absolutely fabulous week in London come and gone. Unbelievable how fast time is flying!! We did so much again this week, it was exhausting in the best way!!
Some of the highlights included; the British Library (the Magna Carta exhibit & close to Platform 9 and 3/4!), Runnymede, Windsor Castle, the Banqueting House, Oxford, and Stratford-upon-Avon(historic Shakespeare sites)!!
The British Library is home to exhibits featuring historic pieces of writing. It houses one of the original 4 surviving copies of the Magna Carta, as well as notes from Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, The Beatles, Royal correspondence, and one of the first copies of the King James Version of the Bible! I loved it!! So much amazing history in one room. The British Museum is also right next to King’s Cross station which houses Platform 9 & 3/4 from the Harry Potter movies! Totally touristy but still fun!
Runnymede is that historic location where the Magna Carta was signed, which is regarded worldwide as the first constitutional document! There is a monument there that was put up in the 1970s by American lawyers in the middle of a field. We hiked out to it in pouring rain and ankle deep mud! Definitely underwhelming but is an interesting place, mainly because it doesn’t look like it’s changed much in the 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed. I spent a lot of our time there imagining what it would have looked like when the Rebel Barons and King John met to discuss the document.
Windsor Castle is beautiful!!! I loved all of the time we spent here. You are able to tour the Royal apartments which are furnished with beautiful, historic artwork and furniture. You can do self guided tours throughout the extent of the castle grounds, which I did and I felt like I learned so much! My favorite things during my time spent here included the historic chapel, and unexpectedly stumbling upon paintings by Rembrandt in the King’s Dressing room! We also ran into some Mormon missionaries as we were touring the grounds.
We ended up at the Banqueting house after a failed attempt to travel to the Hampton Court Palace. Basically just a historic room with a really cool mural on the ceiling. There are bean bags and mirrors in this room that let you admire the artwork without straining your neck which I appreciated!
Oxford was so cool! We spent two hours on a tour led by a University student at Oxford, learning about the history of different colleges and buildings all over the campus. I loved looking at the amazing architecture everywhere in this town, but it was SO COLD! Like maybe the coldest I’ve ever been. But so worth it!!
After visiting Oxford we made our way to Stratford-Upon-Avon which is known for its historic Shakespearian history! We stopped at Anne Hathaway’s cottage (which had the cutest gardens!!) and the house where Shakespeare was born. I learned a lot about status symbols at that time (gloves and pockets!!) and enjoyed the performance of a few scenes from some of his most notable plays by a pair of actors on hand at the Shakespeare center. After visiting Shakespeare’s house we stopped at Holy Trinity Church, where he was buried, but it was padlocked closed so we wandered the grounds instead of visiting his memorial. Then we were set loose for dinner, (Weatherspoon’s! Super yummy) and then went to the Royal Shakespeare company’s performance of 12th Night! I loved it. Craziest longest day ever, but so worth it!
Yesterday we went back to Borough Market for more food! I ended up eating a delicious stir fry with chicken, udon noodles, and potstickers! We also picked up some strawberries with warm chocolate drizzled over the top which were soooo good! After the market we were freezing from being outside so long and it was raining, so we stopped back at the center to regroup. Later that night we went to Camden Town and visited Cereal Killer Cafe which had a really cool atmosphere and yummy ‘cereal cocktails.’
Today we had church, and I’ve been assigned to the Lea Valley ward! We have to take two trains to get there and it takes about on hour to get there and and an hour to get back to the center. I’ve been assigned to play the piano in their primary, which is so fun! There are so many small kids with the cutest accents. They’ve been learning the song ‘My Heavenly Father Loves Me” which is one of my favorites. I love hearing them sing it! I also got to play the piano in Sacrament Meeting which was cool too!
I LOVE LONDON!!!