A MOMENT IN HISTORY
The eyes of the world were fixed on London recently for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Traveltalk publisher JENNY ROWLAND was in the city for this sad yet historic moment in history.
FOMO REALLY is a terrible affliction. I have been suffering greatly on my trip to London. With only three days in the capital and so much to do, it’s driving me crazy! Added to this the Queen’s funeral takes up a day of it and everything of course is closed.
It’s tricky but we opt for a four-hour bicycle ride around central London, a West End show, a Shard visit and a day at Hyde Park watching the funeral on the big screen.
I have a Go City London Explorer pass which is absolutely brilliant. After you decide how many attractions you want (from two to seven, priced accordingly), you simply download the app and you get a huge selection of attractions/tours to choose from.
The discounts make it very worthwhile investing in. Ghost tours, Brit movie tours, music tours and of course all the usual suspects: Tower of London, Thames cruise, museums and the hop on hop off bus.
Of course, we don’t have time to use all seven, but the best thing is it’s valid for a year.
The view from The Shard (London’s tallest building) is quite remarkable. We do this straight after a bike tour where we get to see so much. City bike tours are such a fantastic way to check out the highlights while getting a bit of exercise.
London is one of my all-time favourite cities. Being British I am obviously biased, but you cannot get bored here. It is great to see the crowds are back – the death of Queen Elizabeth has brought the capital to a standstill.
The queues to sign the condolence book are unprecedented and, unbelievably, stretch for more than 16 kilometres.
The day of the funeral we set off for Hyde Park. It’s a hard decision as we are not sure we will get a spot as the crowds outside our hotel in Leicester Square are surging but we join the throng and make the two-kilometre walk to the park.
It seems surreal that the last time I was here I was attending the annual ‘Party in the Park’ with Sir Rod Stewart headlining. It’s a slightly different gig this time.
The torrent of grief Is palpable and as we make our way into the park, I’m struck by the subdued calmness that pervades this massive crowd.
There’s a strong police presence but this is mainly to direct everyone – there is no sign of any anti-social behaviour. It’s just a country mourning their beloved monarch.
Everyone stands in silence and respect as the funeral is played on the many massive screens erected around the park. I am filled with admiration and pride as well as sadness. This is what Britain does best. Pomp and majesty.
The gun shots and the haunting bell tolling are sounds that will stay with me forever as the day we farewelled our Queen…and I was lucky enough to be in London to say goodbye.