Sky Garden, Tower of London, & Westminster Abbey

Despite my scratchy throat rapidly evolving into a full blown head cold, I pushed through our jam-packed first full day in London.

We awoke early in the morning and crossed London Bridge toward our first stop of the day, Sky Garden. Along the way, we admired some views overlooking the River Thames and the London skyline including some of its most iconic buildings, like The Shard.

Up in the air at Sky Garden

We arrived at the “Walkie Talkie” Fenchurch Building, where we took the elevator up to the 35th floor to the Sky Garden — an indoor landscaped public garden that houses two restaurants and offers panoramic views of the city. We had reservations for breakfast at Darwin Brasserie, where I had a decent traditional English breakfast.

Witnessing history at Tower of London

After breakfast, we moved on to visit the Tower of London. I had been here once back in 2017 and recalled that it was one of my favourite things we did on that trip. We were able to get discounted tickets via the Days Out Guide, which offers 2 for 1 admission to various London attractions if you travel via National Rail.

This historic castle situated on the north bank of the River Thames was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and has played a prominent role in English history. It has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. Most notably, it was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, with prisoners including Elizabeth I before she became queen.

On our way out of Bloody Tower, where the “Tower Princes” King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury are thought to have been murdered in the 1480s, we were surprised to come across the Tower yeoman gathered for a ceremony.

This turned out to be part of the accession proclamation for King Charles III, a ceremony convened to formally declare the death of the Monarch and the accession to the successor to the throne, so we had the chance to watch history in the making — pretty cool!

Crossing Tower Bridge

We wrapped up our visit to Tower of London following the accession proclamation, and crossed the iconic Tower Bridge back to the south bank. It’s possible to go up inside the bridge for a fee, but we opted out and just walked across outside, where we still got nice views.

Evensong at Westminster Abbey

We were quite full from breakfast so skipped lunch and rested at the hotel for a couple hours until it was time for evensong service at Westminster Abbey. This choral service takes place daily at 3 pm on Sundays and 5 pm on weekdays. We were lucky to be in London to catch the last Sunday evensong prior to Westminster Abbey closing to visitors in preparation for the Queen’s pending funeral.

Evensong is free to attend, although visitors are ushered in and out of their seats immediately before and after the service, so there is no opportunity to explore the Abbey. It was still very much worth attending. I really enjoyed the choir; although our seats were actually out of view, it was hair raising to hear the singers’ voices echo throughout this grand cathedral. There were a few prayers and a short sermon given as well. Photos weren’t allowed but I managed to sneak in one. 🤫

We also saw a few sights outside around Westminster Abbey, including St. Margaret’s Church and Big Ben.

I was feeling pretty rough at this point with my cold symptoms peaking, but was able to power on for Sunday roast at The Blacklock, where we had their “All In” roast with a mix of beef, lamb, and pork on a side of vegetables, roasted potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding.

After this, we went back to the hotel where I knocked myself out with a mug of Neocitron and slept for 12 hours before another big day ahead.

17 responses to “Sky Garden, Tower of London, & Westminster Abbey”

  1. What a packed day you had! You got to see many of the main sites (e.g. Tower Bridge, Tower of London, etc). The Sky Garden is on my bucket list should I return back to London; it looks absolutely divine! Can’t wait for the next installment of your trip to London!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get a chance to visit London someday soon. It’s an awesome city and I think you would love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and so many wonderful photos from one of the greatest cities in Europe. With over 2,000 years of history, there are more iconic buildings and landmarks in London than pretty much any other city in the world. I am sorry to hear that you weren’t feeling your best on your first day in London! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. London is an amazing city for sure. So much to see and do, I could return many times over.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is so cool to see that ceremony! You’re making me want to go back to London 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a city you can return to many times! Just like NYC 🙂


  4. you just got into to evensong! such a wonderful city. the Tower looks better than i expected might have to visit one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’m so glad we got to see evensong. One of my favourite things we did on this trip!


  5. Beautiful pictures of London! I think I could probably spend all day touring around the Tower soaking up all its history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Tower certainly deserves a few hours to fully experience. Such interesting history.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh no! We both suffered from horrible colds while in England! What gives?! I was actually sick with a fever this past week and had to stay home from work on Monday, which was the day of the Queen’s funeral. Watching it, I remarked to the husband that even though we’ve been to Westminster Abbey before, it was several years ago and I’d like to return the next time we’re in London. So much great history there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we both had the misfortune of being sick in England… what are the chances?Luckily I didn’t get nearly as unwell as you and your husband did!

      I’m glad we had the chance to visit Westminster Abbey, what an impressive place with so much history.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aw wonderful – my office is even in your photo across London Bridge back towards The Shard/Borough Market haha! Looks like you packed loads in to this day, even through a cold. Looks awesome and so glad you made it to Sky Garden 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You must have nice views of the river from your office! Sky Garden was fun and nice that it’s free to go up.


  8. […] a full first day in London, we continued on with our busy […]


  9. […] Sky Garden is London’s famous indoor public garden situated on the 36th floor of the Fenchurch Building. […]


  10. You managed to see some sites that I missed due to lack of time during my stay last summer. I’ll make up for it in future years, there’s so much to see in London.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.