We agreed we’d rather fly seven hours on Icelandair’s 737 Max than on their 757. It was a relatively short and pleasant flight to London Heathrow.
We took the train from Terminal 2 to 4 and enjoyed a decent night’s sleep at the Heathrow Hilton.
After a filling buffet breakfast, still a perk for Hilton Diamonds at foreign properties, we wended our way along the lengthy pedestrian tube that links the Hilton (and now a couple of other hotel properties) to Heathrow Terminak 4.
From there we utilized our handy London Underground app to convey us from LHR to the Southwark (pronounced suth-uk) station, about an eight-minute walk from the Hilton Bankside.
You only have to ride it once to understand why Londoners quickly nicknamed it The Tube.
We made our way to the Hilton Bamkside and checked in just before 2:00PM.
This gave us time on a somewhat sunny afternoon to explore this glorious portion of London along the south bank of the Thames. Walking around the Tate Gallery, which we’d visited on our March 2020 stay, we caught our first glimpse.
We also sneak a peek at The Shard, the 72-storey skyscraper that at just over a thousand feet (309.6 meters) is still one of the tallest buildings in the UK and Europe.
We spied the Tower Bridge in the distance and set it as a goal, not bothering with the nearby London Bridge, richly historic but less interesting visually.
Along the way, we took a peek at one of several replicas of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind(e), the 102-foot vessel in which the famous privateer circumnavigated the world in the late 1500s.
This replica was built in the 1970s and has also circumnavigated the world while sailing 160,000 miles, including a stop at Vancouver’s fabulous Expo ‘86 (we’re prejudiced but we were there). Here’s the golden hind (a female red deer) herself, named in honor of Drake’s patron - sort of like a corporate sponsor.
We next had a great view of another ship, HMS Belfast, a 613-foot light cruiser built in Belfast in 1936 by the builders of Titanic. It saw a lot of action in WWII before being permanently moored in the Thames as an exhibit.
We walked by the visually spectacular Hay’s Galleria, formerly the “larder of London” where the legendary tea clippers docked in the 1800s.
We hadn’t known that the famous Tower Bridge was built in the late 1800s.
It’s a drawbridge adjacent to the Tower of London.
On our way back we wandered through the Borough Market. It’s one of London’s oldest markets, having been in business for a thousand years or so.
There is history at every corner here. We even wandered by a museum commemorating The Clink, London’s original prison. We’d never known why people talk about being locked up in “the clink.”
The Hilton Bankside serves up some tasty food at Happy Hour, and that was our first night’s dinner. The second night we returned to Capricci, the cute little Italian joint we’d enjoyed in March 2020.
It was just as good the second time around.
The weather forecast indicates tomorrow may be an inside day. We’ve never been to the British Library, and a return to the British Museum is always worthwhile
We’ll see what tomorrow brings.