|Ah finally, the last stage of the trip. Four and a half days in London to see all the tourist things I missed last time. Starting with a walk along the Thames and then spending the afternoon exploring the Tower of London. Its a really fascinating place. It used to be the palace home of the Kings of England from around 1046 and it remained so for a few hundred years until they decided around King Henry VIII's time that there were nicer places to live. In fact, the tudor building you see in the photos, King Henry VIII built for his second wife but her head was chopped off before it was finished so no Queen ended up living there.
From then on, it became pretty much a prison for the rich and influential that the kings and queens didn't like. It even housed two princes aged 10 & 12 and rightful heirs to the throne, who "disappeared" around 1483 and were probably murdered by their uncle who wanted the throne and became Richard III. There is no evidence that actually proves the princes were murdered however, two skeletal remains of children of that age were found during renovations on the Tower in 1694. So plenty of speculation abounds...
There is certainly plenty to see and do at the Tower. I spent most of the afternoon there and there was much to do. Of course everyone knows about the crown jewels which were impressive but the surprising displays were the gold dinnerware and punch tureens and the like which were more elaborate than one could possibly imagine. I certainly couldn't.
But I was really fascinated by the armour displays. Especially all the suits of armour in the middle ages. Both horse and men and even children must have been incredibly strong to carry all that weight. But some things never change. As you can see in the photo of King Henry VIII's armour which was designed when he was fat and included an inbuilt girdle to hold his huge gut in, it also highlighted a piece of anatomy that guys always seem so keen to talk up. As I said, some things never change... :)
Anyway, after being kicked out of the Tower at closing time, it was off to the West End to see The MouseTrap. The longest continually running on its first run, play ever having run for about 55 years and written by one of my favourite authors, Agatha Christie. Its is most known for the twist ending which audiences are asked at the end of the play not to reveal so as not to spoil it for future audience. I certainly didn't know the plot before I went over and it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I'd highly recommend to anyone who likes murder mystery stories and I won't give it away but here's the plot to give you an idea on what its about:
"The story is about a young couple, Mollie and Giles Ralston, who have started up a new hotel in the converted Monkswell Manor. They are snowed in together with four guests and an additional traveller, who ran his car into a snowdrift. Detective Sergeant Trotter arrives on skis to inform the group that he believes a murderer is on his way to the hotel, following the death of Miss Maureen Lyon in London.
When one of the guests - Mrs Boyle - is killed, they realize that the murderer is already there. Although the suspicion falls first on Christopher Wren, an erratic young man who fits the description of the supposed murderer, it quickly transpires that the killer could be any one of the guests, or even the hosts themselves."