Tuesday 13th November – 33rd meeting 2012

As today was the birthday of one of our group we had booked for a special day thanks to a Metro paper offer. It was a trip on City Cruises and then afternoon tea at The Courthouse Hotel, Regent Street at a bargain price of £49 for two!

We met at London Bridge took overground train then DLR to Cutty Sark. As we walked to Greenwich Pier the refurbished Cutty Sark looked magnificent with the sun shining brightly down.

We boarded the City Cruise boat and decided to go downstairs, even though it was a lovely morning, sunny and warm.  Here we exchanged birthday wishes and cards and had our customary coffee before we set sail. The Queen’s House at Greenwich was a fine starting point and after the safety instructions from the Pilot we settled into a relaxed mood to view the sights of the Thames.  It was high tide and a calm river.  We noted the Shard building and tracked it during the cruise.  With the bend of the river it clearly changed it’s position many times!  This part of the river is now renovated from a working docking area to a residential area with many of the old buildings now converted into luxury apartments.  I was very pleased to pass St. Mary’s church at Rotherhithe, the church where I married in 1963. I have lots of happy memories of this area and my childhood!

We stopped at Tower pier, some people got off and some got on.  With the City Cruises boats you can hop on and off as and when you please, which is a really good arrangement, making London so accessible! After another set of safety instructions we settled for the next part of the trip.  Here the captain gave a very good explanation of the London skyline, explaining that he was not a trained tour guide but had good knowledge of the river, he would give as much information as he could and hoped we enjoyed it which we did. He tried to coax us onto the top deck but we stayed where we were but one of the crew came and opened the window which made the view so much clearer and the sun much stronger!! He was full of interested facts, figures and stories of the Thames pointing out the important landmarks, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Waterloo Bridge (built by women in the war), London Eye (built to mark the millennium in 1999 and although only meant to stay for 5 years is now the most popular tourist attraction in London!) and many  more ‘trivial” facts. This part of the Thames has stories and history everywhere!!

We got off at London Eye pier as did most of the passengers but many more took our place.  From here after a detour into the underground we decided to take the bus to Regents Street.

Once into The Courthouse Hotel were shown to our table all set and ready for our afternoon tea, although it was only one o’clock really more like lunch!! We started with a glass of champagne followed by finger sandwiches, a variety of cakes and scones with the traditional jam and cream with a choice of tea!!.  Delicious!! It was a lovely tea and we chatted for quite a time before leaving and walking to catch the bus to Charing Cross.  It was very busy and a diversion meant a longer ride.  The road was closed due to the lights in Regent Street being switched on later that night.  They looked very nice showing the 12 days of Christmas.  Must return at some point to see them alight!

At Charing Cross we got our trains home after spending a lovely day in the heart of London, beautiful weather, food, drink and company!!

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