Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and Greenwich
Today we had a booked all day tour.
We travelled by underground to the Victoria bus terminus and there met up with our tour.
We headed out of London with our first planned stop at
The first known fortifications were built here around 1086. Over the years the owners took advantage of a rocky outcrop in the river and created a "keep" on the smaller island ( left) and a "bailey" on the larger island ( right). Originally only a wooden draw bridge joined the two. In 1278 Leeds became a royal castle when Queen Eleanor of Castile purchased it. Queen Eleanor renovated the palace adding the structure that bridges the gap.
( banqueting hall, created for a visit by Henry VIII)
Eleanor of Castile was the wife of King Edward I. Eleanor and Edward were believed to be deeply in love and she traveled with him wherever his royal duties took him. They lived happily here at Leeds and had 16 children. Edward was so devastated when she died that each time her coffin rested on the journey from Leeds to London he ordered a stone cross be built on that site the last was placed at Charing Cross.
One of the last owners of the castle was Lady Baillie. Fortunately for Leeds castle Lady Baillie had the desire and funds to restore the castle to the beautiful home it now is. The above image shows the castle s library with a portrait of Lady Baillie and her two daughters above the fireplace.
I really enjoyed our visit to Leeds Castle, it was beautifully decorated but the origins of the castle can still be clearly seen.
White cliffs of Dover
I almost didn't post this image but this is a record of the holiday so I have to be honest. This was prob one of the biggest disappointments of the trip, the tour advertised seeing the white cliffs of Dover with a photo opportunity. This was it . . I mean they delivered but what a crap place to take a photo. when we got off the bus gadget and I looked at each other, I remarked I didn't want to take a photo, but I did and this is the best I could get.
After leaving Dover we headed to Canterbury
This was to be our lunch spot and we had tickets into the Cathedral as part of our tour. As you can see the cathedral is heavily covered in scaffolding and on closer inspection it was easy to see why. This building is in desperate need of some TLC.
Upon entering the cathedral we could see that the interior was in as much need of TLC as outside. However even in it's disheveled state it is easy to see that this is a beautiful grand building.
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian buildings in England. In 1170 a momentous event occurred in the Cathedral when Thomas Beckett was murdered by the Kings Knights in the north-west transept. Beckett and King Henry II were in almost constant conflict, and at one point the King exclaimed "who will rid me of this man" unfortunately his knights took him literally and killed Beckett in his own Cathedral.
After grabbing some lunch, we returned to the bus and headed to
unfortunately by the time we arrived here everything was shut and we didn't have time to get to the Greenwich Meridian. Instead our guide wandered aimlessly around the old Royal Naval College and the waterfront providing some information about the architecture ect . . .
The Royal Navy College was designed by Christopher Wren and was recently used as Paris in the recent Les Miserables film.
Greenwich Is also home to the Cutty Sark. We would of loved to done a tour on the Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark initially entered the tea trade however after only a few years she turned to the Australian wool trade , she held the record for 10 years for the fastest crossing.
Finally we boarded a river ferry and headed back to central London. It was really great seeing London from the River and the bonus of going under tower Bridge was pretty cool.
We had an interesting day, I wouldn't recommend this tour it was pretty disorganised at times and I think the photo opportunity for the white cliffs was pretty poor. Our time at Greenwich was pretty wasted they would have been better off taking the white cliffs out and giving us more time at Greenwich.
But everyday can't be perfect and we really enjoyed some aspects of the day, and I know my feet appreciated the bit of a rest they got . . . .