The kids have a week holiday in the middle of each term, and sadly during their half-term break in February we were fighting a horrible stomach flu. It took eleven days to work its way through each member of the family, and none of us were spared. But between the first wave and second wave, when we were naively believing it was finished, we had one good day to go out. I chose another Adventure on foot and we followed it almost exactly, beginning with the Bank of England Museum.
The museum was really kid-friendly, I think in fact it’s directed almost entirely for children. It talked about the history of the Bank of England, inflation, the gold standard, and the evolution of British currency. We were also really lucky that since it was half-term there was a man doing “readings” from The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Grahame, the author, was a long-time employee of the Bank of England, and there is an exhibit there to honor him. The gentleman performing was all dressed up, and did an animated performance of a scene from the book. It was so great, the kids and myself were all captivated. Mim and Simon wanted to stay for a second performance but others of us were getting hungry.
This building is just an office building, built in 1903, but architectural pride is one of London’s greatest charms.
The Bank of London
The Leadenhall Building, aka the “Cheese Grater”.
We walked from the museum to Leadenhall Market, which makes a brief appearance as the entrance to Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter movie. We ate lunch there, and a couple really nice women complimented my kids on their great behavior. You’d never know what good kids they are from the expressions on some of these faces…
After lunch we walked to The Monument, which is a tall Doric pillar that was built as a memorial to the Great Fire of London in 1666. The monument was begun in 1671 but took six years to build because of a shortage of Portland stone. This caused the king to issue a proclamation forbidding anyone to use this particular type of stone for any projects without the express permission of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect and surveyor of the monument.
We climbed 311 steps to the of the monument, although Cameron swears he only counted 307.
Stairs going up…
Stairs going down.
Great views and blue sky!
20 Fenchurch Street, aka the “Walkie Talkie”, with the “Gherkin” and the “Cheese Grater” in the background.
After we descended the windy staircase with caution, we went to Patisserie Valerie to pick up the birthday cake I had ordered for myself; the cake that we wouldn’t get to eat for two days because of the aforementioned stomach flu…