Last week I had a day in London. I’m always so excited to get into the city; I live really close and have been going for day trips all my life, but my excitement never diminishes. I love doing all the touristy stuff, and I feel no shame at walking around with an A-Z in my hand!
The reason for my outing this time was that I wanted to cross a couple of items off my 31 Before 31 list; visit the British Library and go to the top of the Monument.
First up was the British Library. I have been meaning to go here for years, so I knew that if I put it on my 31 Before 31 list, it should give me the push I needed to actually do it! It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of libraries. I just always feel so very happy in them and totally at home amongst all the books. My main purpose in visiting this time was literally just to cross it off the list, so I just took a look around the Sir John Riblat gallery and the gift shop, before moving on. Places like this intimidate me a little bit, so while I do wish that I had had a chance to do a bit more exploring, I need to go back with someone else, so that I don’t feel so conspicuous.
I was really impressed by some of the artefacts on display here, including Jane Austen’s writing desk and journal, and the Beowulf manuscript from the 12th century, that actually made me gasp audibly! Things that are that old simultaneously astound me and freak me out.
I went into the gift shop, and purchased a postcard. Obviously I wanted this bag (it could have been made with me in mind), but I couldn’t afford it.
Later in the day, I went to the Monument. Last summer, my dad took my nephew to London and they climbed to the top of the Monument, and I was immediately jealous, so I wanted to do it myself.
For those of you who don’t know, the Monument to the Great Fire of London is a column that commemorates the Great Fire of 1666. It is 62 metres tall, and happens to stand 62 metres away from where the fire started, in Pudding Lane. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was constructed between 1671 and 1677.
There are 311 steps to get to the top, and although it took me a while and I had to stop a couple of times (I’m none too fit), it was worth it at the top! Even if this was the point at which my camera battery decided to die!
I got another postcard at the Monument, as well as a certificate to say that I had climbed all the steps and got to the top! It only costs £3 to enter, which I think is quite reasonable. It’s not huge at the top, there’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre, especially if it’s busy, and you wouldn’t want to spend more than about twenty minutes up there. But it’s great to see London from up high, and it’s pretty special to know that you are climbing steps that were first built almost 350 years ago.
There was a bit more to my trip to London, but I’ll share that in another post.
8. Visit the British Library
9. Go to the top of the London Monument