Today, we started late with a trip to the London Eye. Wonderful views of Whitehall and up and down the Thames on a surprisingly smooth 30 minute rotation. We payed for the 'jump the queue' ticket and only waited 5 minutes or so. Well worth the extra fee.
We then took the tube from Waterloo to London Bridge. We walked over the bridge to the northern side of the river, then along the banks to the Tower Of London. What we weren't prepared for, was the insane crowds that had come to see an art installation around the tower called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. The installation was part of the remembrance of the outbreak of World War 1; 888,246 ceramic red poppies planted to commemorate the lives of those members of the British Empire killed in the 'Great War'.
Staff at the Tower said they had never seen crowds like it. There were 45 - 60 minute lines to get into the White Tower and to see the Crown Jewels. At the beginning of our trip, we would have waited, but by now, we knew we would be back again soon, and none of us had the patience to deal with rude crowds, so we just enjoyed the less popular aspects of the Tower. The guided tour with a Beefeater was fantastic. Serving as a prison from 1100 to 1952, the Tower is famous for it's gruesome executions and famous guests. Our guide was quite a performer and I couldn't help thinking he might have wasted his life on military service, when he could have been an entertainer.
After the Tower we walked across Tower Bridge to the southern side of the river and down past City Hall and HMS Belfast and back to London Bridge station. We then went back to the flat for some rest before Michelle's birthday surprise :)
Michelle's birthday was in Paris, and whilst we went out to dinner there, we really didn't get her anything memorable. When we got to London, I booked us all tickets to see a West End show. The kids did a fantastic job of keeping our secret and in the evening we tricked Michelle into thinking that we were heading out to see a movie at Leicester Square, but surprised her with a night at the Dominion to see Evita. She was so happy that she burst into tears.