On previous visits, we have not been to the Horse Guards Parade ground located at Whitehall road. Not to miss it this time, we took a bus in-front of the Charing Cross train station to the parade ground. Within a couple of stops, we’ve reached the Horse Guards Parade building with guards on horseback guarding the entrance. Nothing to worry about, you can stop and take pictures with them and then proceed to enter to the parade ground at the back. There is no entry fees. Timings for the ceremony is 11:00am Monday – Saturday and at 10:00am on Sundays.
Police patrolling roads on horseback and BMW’s.
A quick dash to No.10 before proceeding to the Horse Guards Parade ground.
Entrance to the Horse Guards Parade ground via Whitehall road. The parade ground is at the back of the building.
Please note this is the changing of the Queen’s Life Guard and nothing like what you may expect to see at Buckingham Palace where it is the changing of the guards. New guards ride their horses to the Horse Guards Parade ground for the change of guards ceremony. A dozen officers are involved and the ceremony last for ½ hour. Much smaller crowd than at Buckingham Palace, present good photo opportunities and better experience for the children.
Officer on horseback passing by.
The ‘Red & White’ officers returning while the ‘Blue & White’ replacement officers are on stand-by.
All returning officers accounted for.
Closer view of the ‘Red & White’ guards.
Both ‘The Life Guards’ and ‘Blues & Royals’ face each other.
The ‘Blues & Royals’ are off for their duties.
After witnessing the Horse Guards Parade, we are on the bus again getting off at West Minster Abbey bus stop this time. Our intention is to have a look at the New Scotland Yard building. Diagonally opposite is the St James’s Park tube station where we will be taking the tube back to our hotel.
New Scotland Yard building.
Retail stores fronting Scotland Yard.
No, this isn’t a mug shot of me by Scotland Yard.
St James’s Park tube station diagonally opposite New Scotland Yard.
The Tower Bridge is a combined drawbridge and suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames and is an iconic symbol of London. It consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways. The walkways were designed so public could cross the bridge when it was raised but was later closed down due to lack of use. The drawbridge opens for river traffic at 24 hours’ notice around 1,000 times a year. You can check the advanced bridge lift time here.
Each of the drawbridge pivots, and its operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians, whereas the bridge’s twin towers walkways is accessible by lifts. The Victorian engine rooms on the ground floor together forms part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
The Tower Bridge raising to allow vessel to pass underneath.
London icon with bridge fully raised as seen from the river bank.
Pre-purchased voucher exchanged for tickets to go up the Tower Bridge. Not free, it cost £8.
Small queue waiting for the lift up.
One of the two Tower Bridge walkways.
Glass walkways were introduced in 2014 and measures 11 meters long and 1.8 meters wide along the 61 meters walkway and consist of six separate panels weighing more than ½ ton each. Apart from experiencing stunning panoramic views surrounding the Thames from 42m above the river, visitors can view vessels sailing under the bridge and pedestrians crossing on the road below. On specific days, you can even catch the rising and lowering of the drawbridge right beneath you. The glass is five layers thick and can hold the weight of an elephant.
Tower Bridge Glass Walkway. Both walkways has glass floor.
Looking down to one of the tower foundation. Big bus crossing the bridge.
The ‘dots’ in the photo are imbedded in the glass.
The Tower Bridge raising as seen from the glass floor.
The walkway on the other side of the tower.
Bridge lifting time schedule..
To the left side of the river bank, the City Hall, The Shard & HMS Belfast.
To the right, Sky Garden, the Gherkin and Tower of London.
The walkway as seen from ground level.
The original drawbridge lifting mechanism were powered by pressurised water back then, has now been replaced by modern electro-hydraulic drive system. Some of the original hydraulic machinery has been retained, although no longer in use, is open to the public and can be viewed in the engine room south side of the bridge.