London’s temperature in may varies from 10 to 20 degree Celcius and when you’re lucky, you can meet Mr. Sunshine peeking over the clouds over the City. On that day, our tour was quite packed and spread around London. The plan was to spend Day-1 on nearby areas in Central London, and spend the second day strolling places outskirt London. On that second day, we went to Greenwich Observatory (about 1 hour trip from our YHA London Central, our acommodation). And then from Greenwich Observatory we went to Greenwich Pier to embark on Thames River Boat Cruise and stopped by near the Tower of London. That made our next destination was Tower of London. We continued strolling to Tower Bridge, The Shard and covered the highlights around the complex before heading north to Warner Bros Studio for Harry Potter Studio Tour (about 1,5 hours from Tower Bridge).
Greenwich Royal Observatory
The journey towards Greenwich Observatory combines between underground station and bus. We arrived about 10 am, but it was gloomy it felt like 6 am in the morning. In the complex, there are National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory, and Queen’s House & Cutty Shark.
Yes, the term Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which usually used as a referral for civil time standard was taken from this Beautiful City of Greenwich. Although GMT is now replaced by UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), some countries including UK and its commonwealth still using GMT (Indonesia is GMT+7). The use of GMT term can be traced back to 19th centuries. At that time, UK maritime grew advance and mariner used chronometer (timepiece to measure time of known fixed location) on Greenwich Meridian to calculate their longitude. Greenwich Meridian by convention was considered to have a longitude zero degrees, therefore mariner calculate their longitude from Greenwich Meridian.
Before heading to the Greenwich Observatory, we passed Greenwich Park which immediately made my heartbeat stopped. It was this pedestrian way flanked with trees on which grows pink flowers that when we passed by was fell out by the wind blows and decorate the road with it. I felt like I was in the set of pride and prejudice movie =)
Anyway, from the observatory, you can see where is the exact 0 longitude position, as well as overlooking Greenwich area. It such a beautiful view.
After exploring the museum, we went out towards Greenwich Pier (where the Thames River boat cruise departs). On the way there, we saw this giant ancient ship which is known as Cutty Sark, a clipper ship built on 1869. It was the last to be built and the fastest. The name Cutty-sark was picked from a nickname of a witch character of British poem. It had been sailing to China and Australia before it aged and parked in Greenwich for educational and historical purposes.
Thames River Boat Cruise
f you use London Pass, cruises is included (the normal price is $18). We just showed the card and hopped on! The company for this cruise is City Cruise. It hops on and off on Westminster, London eye, Tower bridge, and Greenwich. And since our next destination was Tower Bridge. We hopped on from Greenwich and hopped off in Tower Bridge.
Tower of London
Tower of London is also included in London Pass (the normal prices is GBP 22). The Tower of London was built in 11th century and it’s one of UNESCO world heritage site. It is named so considering its’ four white tower. The building has three gates/wards and occupying the area of 12 acres. The building (the tower) function was vary from royal residence and fortress. Only after 19th centuries the building became historic monument and tourist attraction. Half an hour wasn’t ideal time. I would love to revisit it for another 2 hours.
Tower bridge is the other London attraction I felt very hard to leave. If you think of it, it’s a bridge, period. But when I was there, I felt that it was more than just a bridge. Of course, I love the architecture, it has two towers on top of the bridge and both of them are immaculate. The surrounding was also a great landscape overviewing Thames river and many other famous building such as The Shard, City Hall, Tower of London, and many others. But what makes tower bridge special to me was the cheering atmosphere surround it.
Warner Bros's Harry Potter Studio Tour
Going to Warner Bros studio took about 1,5 hours. We went to Euston Rail Station, Hopped On London Midland towards Northampton and then stopped at Watford Junction to walk to Watford (Herts). Then we took Watford Junction Railway Station and after stopped on the fourth stop. And that wasn’t it, we then took Bus #311 (the bus has Harry Potter picture on it – Big time!) which directly dropped us to the studio. We knew we were on the right direction since there were so many children along the way (Ha!).
To follow the tour, you need to purchase the ticket in advance. We bought the ticket online and exchange the online ticket on the entrance gate. For Harry Potter fanatics, visiting this place must be heaven for you, there were so many things harry-potterish. We went into Hogwarts dining hall area, the dormitory where the Griffindor fellas sleep, Dumbledore’s office, and they even had Mock up of Hogwarts Miniature you can hop on and pretend that you were on of them. It was such a great experience.
3 hours is considered average when you visit the Studio. The area and the exhibitions were vast and vary you don’t want to miss every single detail that the studio offers. Needless to say, it was one of experience you should have in London (especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter, but hey, who doesn’t ?) ;)
~ it was beautiful, gloomy-turned-to-sunny day in London @May 3rd 2015 ~
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