JTV Goes to London for the 2012 Gem-A Conference

Published on JTV.com: November 2012
A Personal Perspective on Travelling with Co-Founder Jerry Sisk
By: Tim Matthews, CEO & President

Portcullis

Portcullis House & other Buildings across
from Parliament Square

Going to a conference in London has lots of side benefits, not to mention the many beautiful and historic places we saw. If you want to start at a key intersection, Parliament Park might be a good place to begin. From the major intersection there, roads branch out to Westminster Bridge, Trafalgar Square, St. James Park and Victoria Station. The Gothic edifices of Big Ben and Parliament stand stately along the River Thames at one end of Westminster Bridge at its intersection with Victoria Embankment.

Big Ben

Big Ben and Parliament

From the vantage point of the west bank of the Thames, a visitor peering across the river has a great perspective on the Eye of London (a favorite new attraction) Westminster Abbey nearby is England's most famous church, the site of coronations of kings and queens of England since William the Conqueror in 1066, and most recently Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Eye of London

Eye of London
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Intent on exploring, I left Jerry for a time and set out to wander around the City of Westminster in central London at The Mall near the Duke of York memorial. The Mall is a wide boulevard approaching Buckingham Palace from Admiralty Arch through the South & West Africa Gates and around the Queen Victoria Memorial to the Palace east entrance. I was fortunate to catch the changing of the guard and procession from the Wellington Barracks to the Palace, along with hundreds of other onlooker

St. James Park, the oldest Royal Park, lies to the south of The Mall and is a favorite pastoral destination to stroll around, ranking highly among many tourist scouting reports. Its central location belies its stately tranquility with abundant green space comprising about 58 acres including bike and pedestrian paths and a lake harboring ducks, geese and pelicans. St. James Park is conveniently situated within walking distance of three palaces, St. James's Palace, Buckingham Palace and Westminster (now the Houses of Parliament). Visitors can alight from the either the St. James Park or Piccadilly Circus tube stops for a leisurely walk to the Park.

Just across from St. James Park is one of my favorite destinations, the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Sir Winston Churchill is one of my favorite leaders because of his dedicated passion for saving England in perhaps the worst crisis of modern times. The Cabinet War Rooms, comprising the wartime bunker used by Churchill and his cabinet in World War II, depict the stark reality of conducting the business of government during a war for the very survival of the country. This somber destination is a no-frills network of rooms with essential quarters, offices and communications gear used by Churchill to command the war effort underground. As a reminder of those difficult times, visitors to London will find memorials throughout the city, like the Cenotaph flanked by royal flags.

Continuing down Whitehall I passed by Downing Street, hoping for a peek at the door to #10 but learning that the street has recently been secured by heavy iron gates and not easily accessed by visitors. Just past Downing Street, however, I saw a crowd assembled for pictures around the horse guards. From there it was a short distance to Trafalgar Square marked by its iconic monument to Lord Nelson.

Carlton House

Carlton House Facing the Mall
Admiralty Arch

Admiralty Arch
Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace
Carlton House

Carlton House Facing the Mall
Admiralty Arch

Admiralty Arch
Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria Memorial

Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace

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