Walking to Westminster Abbey
The Gothic architecture of Westminster Abbey (Broad Sanctuary) is a fascinating sight within easy walking distance of the Thames River. Most English monarchs held their coronations in this cathedral. The abbey is the final resting place of many kings and queens, along with such notable people as Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Isaac Newton and Laurence Olivier. If you're walking on the other side of the river from the church, cross the Westminster Bridge and turn left on Parliament Street. The Broad Sanctuary will be on your left; it's open every day for tourists except Sunday.
London SW1P 3PA, England
011 (+44) 20 7222 5152 (remember to dial "00" instead of "011" when dialing outside the United States)
Bicycling to the Tower of London
Rent a bike and ride along the river to visit the infamous Tower of London, one of England's historic royal palaces. William the Conqueror started building the tower in the early 1080s. Visit the Medieval Palace, the Prisoners' exhibition and Tower Green, the execution place of many prisoners. Other special attractions include Henry VIII's armor and the 23,578 gems in the Crown Jewels. The complex features a restaurant, a café and kiosk, and a pastry and snack shop. The Tower of London is open every day except December 24 to 26 and January 1.
Tower of London
London EC3N 4AB, England
011 (+44) 0871 602 1100
Choose between renting your own canoe, kayak or boat and taking a river cruise on the Thames. Many cruises are available; some stop at various places for you to do architectural sightseeing or shop. Try punting, which is using a pole to drive a flat-bottomed boat. Another type of boat is the pedalo, which turns a paddle wheel by pedaling. Whatever type boat you choose, you'll cruise past historic sites such as Somerset House, County Hall and the old City of London school for boys.
Many lodging facilities are available along the Thames River. Camping is available at several sites on the walking trails. Bed and breakfasts, hotels and cottages flank the river if you prefer a room. For an all-inclusive vacation, try one of the luxury barge hotels. These floating hotels offer one-week cruises that have plenty of time for sightseeing. Amenities include all meals, wines and an open bar. Cabins feature private baths, central and floor heating, and TVs with DVD players (see Resources).