From South Kensington (Gloucester Station) we took the Piccadilly line up to Piccadilly Square where we proudly stood and grabbed those selfies in front of the Eros statue. From Trafalgar Square to Drury Lane is a walk through the history of London.
From this location in Central London we followed the signs over to Trafalgar square were we gaped, literally gaped at the huge Nelson’s Column and giant lions surrounding it.
There were far less pigeons than we anticipated so something must have been done to get rid of the damn vermin. The main amusements back then were feeding these indulged birds. There was a famous character named Bernie Rayner who ran a stall selling little packets of grain which tourists bought at an inflated price to feed the equally inflated pigeons. They fed so well that they bred several times a year. Repairing the damage to Nelson’s Column caused by pigeon droppings cost £140,000. The Greater London Assembly passed a bylaw making it illegal to feed them, and introduced hawks to frighten them away, and council staff made periodic raids with giant vacuum cleaners to hoover up any grain or other food from the square’s smart new paving stones.
We decided to go into the National Gallery it was free entry unless you wanted to see the Caravaggio exhibit. So we wandered in with a hankering to see some renaissance and impressionist masters. We were not disappointed and we spent hours wandering through this huge museum searching out our favourite artists.
When we couldn’t see straight, anymore we left the museum and walked over to have a look at St. Martin’s in the Field and then on up to Regent Street in our meandering to see if we could find Covent Garden. We stumbled across the Theatre district where we spent a good couple of hours putting a crick in our necks straining to see the magnificent theatres in the district.
Drury Lane was originally an early medieval lane called Via de Aldwych, which probably connected St. Giles Leper Hospital to the fields of Aldwych Close It is said that the lands were owned by the Hospital but had been in the distant past granted to the Danes as part of a peace treaty developed by Alfred the Great in Saxon times. I around 1500 Sir Robert Drury built a mansion called Drury House. Years later the house became the Queen of Bohemia a public house, supposedly named after the Earl of Craven’s mistress. By the 1800’s the Lane had become one of London’s worst slums and inhabited by prostitutes and gin joints.
The term “Drury Lane” is often used to refer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which has in different incarnations been located in Drury Lane since the 17th century. Also in Drury Lane is the New London Theatre.
The history of the London West End has been inextricably linked to the theatre for hundreds of years. From the opening of the first West End venue in Drury Lane in 1663, locals and visitors to the capital flocked in droves to the West End to be entertained and enthralled by the various shows on offer. The London theatre tradition has continued to go from strength to strength over the years, and today the West End is the largest theatre district in the world, with many major international stars treading the boards night after night. To this day no other place in the world hosts the variety and quality of shows as the West End.
We picked out the shows we wanted to see and got great deals on tickets with our Travel Card we picked up tickets for Lin Manuel’s In the Heights (2 tickets for £50), Mama Mia and The Book of Mormon. Three incredible shows served up in London, who could ask for more? Except for the fact that we managed to get tickets to see the incredible actress Glenda Jackson playing King Lear at the Old Vic now that was an epic moment.
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