Getting Medieval in London

philosofreaky Travel 1 Comment

I did a separate post about our visit to the Tower of London because it was super-exciting for me and also because it was its own entity unto itself. We did however pack more into that one day, and it got pretty medieval in more ways than one.

We took a City Cruise down the River Thames to get to Tower Pier which meant we got awesome shots of Tower Bridge.

Before we went into the Tower of London, there was a small church called All Hallows by the Tower that I wanted to see in the area because I had read about a basement that housed a piece of Roman pavement from the late 2nd century and other little hidden secrets. The church itself survived the Great Fire of London, William Penn was baptized here, John Quincy Adams was married here, and Archbishop William Laud was buried here.

It was really interesting walking through it. It was quiet, afterwards I had read online that it was a hidden gem that not a lot of tourists notice, but it was well kept and the entire original basement of tunnels had been tended to and converted into a museum of corridors. The church is still fully operational, running regular services and the people working there were adamant that we take photos and enjoy ourselves.

Under All Hallows’ by the Tower lies the final resting place of hundreds of parishioners and a place to pray if you ask a staff member to open the locked gates for you.

After we spent time at the Tower of London, we walked over to St. Katherine Docks which is now a housing and leisure area but was once a commercial dock for serving the Port of London in the 12th century. We were early for our show and needed to spend some time so we stopped at a small but posh bar for some wine. While Mum encouraged the drunk gents a table over by partaking in a group photo, I completely ignored everyone and acted like the menu that listed various cheeses and meats was REALLY fascinating. Let’s be honest, it was. All I ever want is charcuterie.

The show we were waiting to go see was a Medieval Banquet – and I can’t even begin to tell you how fun it was. After checking in, you walk down a flight of stairs into what feels like a renovated dungeon to your table where you’re seated with other guests. Our table had four pairs of 2: my Mum and I, a grandmother and her grandson from a southern state in the States celebrating his high school graduation (we learned that she takes all of her grandchildren on trips of their choosing when they graduate), a husband and wife from Seattle who were celebrating her retirement with a week in London before taking in a week in Paris, and a non-English speaking couple from the southern-most point in South America. Everyone was lovely.

We were instructed that when we ran out of wine or mead that we had to yell for our “wench”, which I refused to do and it just so happened that our wine got miraculously filled anyway, so woo! We were given character cards which told us of the house we supported and included a song and an oath. The ladies were expected to support their knights who were going to battle with swordplay later in the night. In the meantime though, we enjoyed 4 courses while King Henry VIII and his court of knights, troubadours, contortionists, magicians, jugglers and minstrels entertained us. It was REALLY a lot of fun!

After all that excitement, we caught the tube home, day done! Success!

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