Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Bucket List visit - part 3: Boat Trip down the Thames to Greenwich ...


This is something I had never done – or really had never thought about doing!  So I was very happy to tag along to tick off another experience … or more likely open my eyes as a way to get to Greenwich along the river.

Lonely Planet's Thames Hop-On-Hop-Off  River Cruise
see here
Greenwich is to be found where the meander is shown.

London arose from the Roman fort ‘Londonium’ two millennia ago … it has enjoyed its eras – for example those Roman times: and how - we keep finding relics …

Westminster Bridge, by the Houses of Parliament,
our starting point

Once the Romans withdrew … the Vikings came and plundered its wealth … but from the late 800s AD Alfred the Great and his Anglo-Saxons drove out the invaders to lay claim to their port and establish a new golden age of trade along old man River Thames.



Ethelred the Unready


The Vikings came again, Ethelred the Unready needed Olaf the Norseman to help upset those plunderers and recapture the city: they pulled the early London Bridge down – so the Vikings left.



Benedictine Monks had in the 700s settled further up the river on Thorney Island – the early Royal residence of King Canute, then Edward the Confessor - and we know who came next: the man that conquered.




It was Edward who had established the historic division between the centre for trade – the City of London –and that of government – the City of Westminster …


… which William endorsed when he conquered England in 1066 – by issuing what is known today as the “William Charter” – see my post on this amazing tiny piece of treasured parchment.


The Tower of London outside the eastern
walls of the City of London
We left on the boat trip from near enough Thorney Island … now under Westminster Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament and other iconic buildings … the Thames has been tamed (perhaps!) … it is now confined not being allowed to spread its wings out into flood plains that are no more.


William the Conqueror built the Tower of London … which lies outside the City of London walls – yet is today still an iconic landmark for tourists and visitors alike …


View from Greenwich Park looking
north over the Thames and on into London
We cruised down the Thames towards Greenwich - being regaled with numerous interesting subjects which we noted – to the riverside gateway to London, founded by those Romans with empirical desires back in the day. 


Greenwich too has had its fair share of history … it shone in the Middle Ages – Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made sure of that.


Arms of the Metropolitan Borough of
Greenwich - granted 15th July 1903 -
by the College of Arms
Greenwich held its ground for centuries, occasionally foregoing its ‘popularity’ … but revival is rarely far away - as is happening now that that Tudor Palace has been found and is being excavated, conserved and partially restored for us in the 21st century to see.  (My Painted Hall post - part 5 ).


Now we are here – we will have some lunch, wander along the river, visit the Painted Hall, by-pass the Cutty Sark, before jumping onto our cruise ship for its return to Westminster Bridge – knowing that when we arrive at Parliament we will be walking over the home of 8th century Benedictine monks of Thorney Island.


On our return trip I will highlight a few of the riverside places of interest that we passed.


Ready for fooooood? - lunch comes next …

My post on The William Charter - a parchment treasure from 1067 AD (950 years ago)

Flooding in London and Europe going back one thousand years - another of my eclectic posts!  

Go here to look at the route: Thames River Services - the sightseeing spots are quite clearly highlighted ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

53 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Given the opportunity I will always take a river cruise. I like the perspective and the pace.
I am so glad that you were able to take the cruise (and lunch) and am looking forward to the next installment.

Nas said...

I did it! I did take this Ferry down the Thames.

Jz said...

I am always ready for fooooood!
And also, for a boat ride. :-)

This is one of those things still on my "to-do" list. I've been there, but not done that - and I'd like to. Especially now that I know a little more about it.

Diane S said...

Interesting post and a great experience for you. Thanks for sharing with us Hilary and I will enjoy the virtual trip as i know I will never do it in real life. Hope you are well, have a good day Diane

Out on the prairie said...

What a delightful trip. You found some real treasure to share.Was Ethelred the Viking they discovered was female after assuming she was a male?

A Heron's View said...

If my memory serves me right (?) then the only time I took a Thames boat trip, was at the age of 11 which terminated near the Tower of London and that was along time ago.

Christine Rains said...

What a wonderful boat ride. I love these little bits of history. And of course I'm ready for food! :) Have a lovely week, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - I was glad to be in a quiet bit of the boat ... and not rattling and rocking with the tourists outside on the deck - at least we could hear what was being said. Lunch was really the requirement ... !

@ Nas - I'm not sure why I've never taken a cruise down before ... probably the hoardes of people put me off ... but I might sometime do it again.

@ Jz - oh I know foood is a-coming. The boat trip was well worth it - but am so happy it wasn't choc-a-bloc! It wasn't on my "to do" list ... but I'm glad it was suggested and we did it - oh great that you know it'll be worth the ride - excellent ...

@ Diane - it was more interesting than I thought it would be - because they gave us a running commentary about what we were seeing ... that was helpful - otherwise I think I'd have been bored! The subsequent learning has helped too ...

@ Steve - I'm glad you enjoyed my take on the ride down the Thames to Greenwich. Ethelred ... was just Unready: dressed or not! He was King of the English paying tribute (or Danegeld) to the Danish king. He did flee to Normandy before returning as King of England. He was never a Viking, but with Olaf, the Norseman, they overcame the invading Vikings ... by pulling the first London Bridge down ...

@ Mel - I don't think we ever went down the Thames when I was a child... but I can believe the Tower of London would be one of the terminii - long time ago, though I don't really need to re-iterate that do I?

@ Christine - so glad the history is interesting ... and it was a fun boat trip ... and with food at the other end - we were happy!

Cheers to you all - lovely to see you and have your comments - thank you: Hilary

Jacqui Murray said...

That sounds like a delightful trip. How long does it take? I'm looking at a train trip up the Canadian Rockies (train instead of boat; Canada instead of Britain but I'm close!). Unlike you, I seem to spend all my time planning and never doing.

Chatty Crone said...

Two things to believe it or not:

One I studied this history with Andy last year for bible study. A lot of wonderful history there in England.

Two I have been to Europe and have been on the river - it was so long ago like a dream - and there you are - living right there.

You are lucky!
sandie

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Knew you couldn't leave out food.
I bet London looks really different from a boat.

troutbirder said...

I took high school students to London some twenty years ago. What fun. And I love its history especially the early and middle phases not forgetting fiction as well. Bernard Cornwell, Sharon K. Penman, Hilary Mantel et. all...:)

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting history, that the cities of London and Westminster were established as separate entities so long ago. We sailed to (and I think probably from) Greenwich once in the evening. It was a birthday party and very enjoyable.

Murees Dupé said...

Your trip sounds lovely. So much great history. Those Vikings, hey. Hope you enjoyed lunch and the rest of your trip.

Jo said...

I believe the trip along the Thames was instituted well after I quit the shores of Britain. Did do a Bateaux Mouche in Paris many years ago. For some reason I fainted and narrowly missed a fall down some pretty steep stairs. Will look forward to the rest of this trip.

Of course I have been to Greenwich and on board the Cutty Sark.

diedre Knight said...

What a fantastic day-trip! I've never been on a riverboat, but I imagine it to be enjoyably calm. With you on board, there wasn't a need for a tour guide ;-) Fascinating history - the 'Unready' person has piqued my curiosity! Hope your lunch was fabulous!

Joanne said...

How fun! I love riverboat cruises and commentary. Sounds like a perfect day and I can't wait for the food portion. Your descriptions are always delectable and delightful.

Juliet Batten said...

Ooh, I would love this boat trip! I never thought of doing it when I was visiting London, but I certainly would do if I had another chance. Thank you for the trip Hilary.

Blogoratti said...

There's nothing like a lovely boat trip around a city learning about its history and all. I am sure you had great fun indeed. Thank for taking us on the journey. Greetings!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your posts like this always make me realize what a young country we are here in America without all the rich history of our Mother country.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

That sounds like an interesting and lovely trip to take.

Vallypee said...

Oh I love those Thames cruises. When my girls were small, we did one every time we went to London. What a great history the city has! Have you ever read the novel, London? I forget who wrote it, but it's fascinating!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui – it takes an hour to get there. I went over the Canadian Rockies about 20 years ago … well worth it, but I’d love to drive it too – spectacular scenery. Well if my friend hadn’t been over from SA – I (probably) wouldn’t have done either of these days …

@ Sandie –well that’s good you been able to see some of our history here – while the boat trips are always a lovely interlude when travelling … living within reach of London is really helpful.

@ Alex – well we have to have lunch … and I just have this feeling that ‘punters’ (i.e. readers of this blog) enjoy their food too! London looks completely different as I’ve grown up … the skyline is also completely changed …

@ Troutbirder – that must have been an amazing opportunity to bring some high schoolers over – there’s so much history here, so much being added to via the archaeologists and Palaeolithic Archaeologists. Some authors have really brought Britain to light with their books … over the eras … the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters … and many more … and those you mention …

@ Anabel – it’s always strange to be reminded that the City of London sits within London as we know it today … my post on The William Charter (1067) pinpointed that time of recognition for the City. How lovely to have had that trip for the birthday party – evening cruises I imagine would be so interesting seeing the lights come on …

@ Murees – lots of history around this part of London – can’t ever really get away from it – Vikings, the Norsemen, the Anglo-Saxons et al …

@ Jo – I’m not sure when the tours were originally started, but they’ve been around for a few decades and each year there are more choices – now they’re into ‘commute’ trips … I imagine the Bateaux Mouche must be wonderful … tripping is so easy to do: glad you were alright. I’m sure you’ve visited Greenwich and the Cutty Sark – very different now …

@ Diedre – the weather was reasonably benign … if it had been raining we were going to do something else! Thank you re the tour guide aspect – thankfully we can find these bits of snippets out, which I can then extrapolate and put in a post.

Ethelred the Unready inherited the Crown when he was only 12, Middle England was in a state of flux … it had to be consolidated into one kingdom – William the Conqueror did that. The Unready bit – also means ‘unwise counsel’ – so his reigns (he ruled twice!) were a little fractured …

@ Joanne – the cruise was fun mainly as it wasn’t too full – we were ready for lunch once we got down to Greenwich … so glad you enjoy my descriptions …

@ Juliet – it’s an option I hadn’t considered, but was on our bucket list for this visit – so now I know!

@ Blogoratti – I enjoyed it more than I thought I would – at least there was some historical commentary being given. There’s so much to see along the shores of the Thames …

@ Susan – yes … we have lots of history here – not as much as Greece or Italy, or further east … but it’s good it can be put into context and give us that link from the continent and Scandinavia and then the opening up of the Americas …

@ Arline – so glad you enjoyed the post

Thanks everyone I’m happy you’ve enjoyed the historical boat trip out to Greenwich … cheers Hilary

bazza said...

Is it a massive coincidence that this is Totally Thames month, or did you know? I love the Thames, it's a wonderful river full of life (literally these days) and has ever-changing scenery along it's length. I enjoyed the journey along with you!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s floccinaucinihilipilificatious Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Rhonda Albom said...

A very interesting cruise. I never knew all those details of British history.

Elsie Amata said...

Well, you know I'm always ready for food. :)

What a fantastic trip! I'm glad you have the opportunity to be on it. Have lots and lots of fun!

Enjoy the rest of your week!
Elsie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - sorry your comment slipped in as I was replying to the others. I honestly don't think I've been on a river cruise in London before ... I haven't read London - unless you're talking about the one Boris Johnson wrote - "Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City that Made the World" - which I thought was a fascinating book ...

@ Bazza - oh oh! - no I hadn't realised it is Totally Thames month - so this is good timing. The city has grown up around the Thames and now it's full of wild life - a thriving waterway of nature ... and as you say scenery ... thanks so much for enjoying the journey out to Greenwich ...

@ Rhonda - well I'm so pleased they're here for you to check in on - there's so much to write about ...

@ Elsie - food next! It was a lovely trip and opportunity - that this friend's visit gave me ... we did have fun!

Cheers to you four - the Totally Thames events that Bazza mentions are always fascinating to read about. Also it's so great knowing the Thames' water is fresh enough for fish etc to be happily living in. Take care - Hilary

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Greetings from Chester. I enjoy a river cruise, and often go on the Chester boats travelling along the River Dee. Good luck to you and your endeavours.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Janie Junebug said...

How nice to cruise the Thames, as long as I'm not taken to the executioner to be beheaded.

Love,
Janie

Sandra Cox said...

Your country has so much rich history and I appreciate that you share it with us.
This trip looks like loads of fun.

Chrys Fey said...

A boat trip down the Thames sounds amazing. So much history.

Kay G. said...

Lovely, can't wait to see what you had for lunch!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Andrew - nice to meet you ... and thank you for commenting. I imagine cruising in Chester and along the River Dee would be really interesting.

@ Janie - glad to see you're safe. It was a very different perspective ... and we managed to avoid the Traitor's Gate!

@ Sandra - yes we do have lots of history and I'm glad you enjoy the snippets I include ... it was an interesting journey ...

@ Chrys - lots to see and think about doing - as we passed sites I hadn't explored very much ...

@ Kay - well you know the tour quite well and it is a lovely ride ...

Cheers and thanks for visiting and commenting - Hilary

D.G. Hudson said...

Late again, but I must comment on your river cruise. I would love to take that one you posted about on the river Thames. When we took the Seine River cruise in Paris I enjoyed it, but it would have been better in the daytime. We went at night to see the illumination of all the buildings. I'm pleased you shared this with us! Congrats on the WEP award! I'm late for saying that too. . . sheesh.

baili said...

Wow ,so DREAMY!!!
thank you for this magical experience Hilary!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Hilary, I would love to take a boat ride up and down the Thames with a tour guide. The history would be fascinating and I do love European history.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like a lovely ride!

Wouldn't it have been awful to have been named "Ethelred the Unready?" I'm so glad we don't go by those types of monikers these days. :) I'm guessing I might have been "Elizabeth the Clumsy" or something even worse...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a glorious trip! The boat ride in itself would be a joy, but the historical sites and commentary would make it even better. Years ago, Smarticus and I took a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River. In a paddle-wheeled steamboat! It was a ton of fun, but there were no real historical sites to see, and there was no commentary. Compared to England, we're still babes in arms here. :)

Of course! I'm always ready for food! Have a super weekend.

RO said...

I've never had the chance, but I sure would love to go on a ride along the river to see the sights and experience some of the history. Looks like it was a wonderful experience. Hugs...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DG - no worries about the lateness, always delighted to see you. I've seen someone else say the evening cruise was fine ... but actually seeing the buildings in daylight does make a difference. One day perhaps you'll get a chance to do it. Thanks so much re my WEP award ... it was great to be recognised ...

@ Baili - so glad you enjoyed the rather summarised version of how London came to be ... it's fascinating thinking about the history - but I'm glad I live today ...

@ Stephen - the boats are full of tourists ... so I'm quite glad ours wasn't so full and we could hear what the chap was saying. London's history is amazing ... let alone the connection across to the European continent ...

@ Elizabeth - I think we probably call people in power a lot worse now-a-days ... but quite understand how poor Ethelred would have been distinctly ungrateful to be known as the Unready - especially when it referred to his counsellors that he was unready from being given poor advice.

Oh dear ... I'd be Hilary the Happy - I hope!!

@ Susan - the 'cruise' was much better than I thought it would be - but probably because it wasn't so crowded ... and we had the commentary reminding us of various places.

The paddle-wheeled steamers must be fun ... but I'd also prefer some extra sights to look at: though I'd be happy to ride a paddle-steamer one day. The cruises, commuter or even 'bus-boat' routes are really taking off ... there's a lot of river traffic - water taxis are back along the Thames.

@ RO - it was a fun trip to have been on ... and I'd probably go again to note some of the buildings and developments along the river banks ... and probably take other stages of the routes available ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for coming by and commenting ... and for being interested - all the best for the weekend - Hilary

Pamela Wright said...

I always loved that trip down the river to Greenwich, seeing London from such an interesting perspective, and seeing so many remnants of history. We loved going to Greenwich for a wander as it has beautiful places to visit, a great market, and fabulous restaurants. Thanks for sharing.

sage said...

I've actually taken this trip (boat from Westminster to Greenwich). It was a great trip (even if it was raining). I loved Greenwich and it was a highlight of our time in London. Unfortunately, this was when Cutty Shark was being rehabbed and was not open to the public (I saw it but it wasn't the same).

Madeleine Sara said...

Good for you having a bucket list. Fabulous! Great information, as always.Have been on boat trips locally but not there.

Deborah Weber said...

How fun to take this leg of the river cruise with you Hilary. I've been learning a bit about the history of the Romans/Vikings/Saxons you're talking about this summer, and suddenly it's captured my fancy like never before. So it's doubly interesting to read this post - thanks!

A Cuban In London said...

And as it happens, I cycled that route today (well, almost. I cycled from Fulham to Farringdon, but the cycle superhighway goes deep into east London, near Greenwich). Fantastic post.

Greetings from London.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I took this cruise waayy back as a first form-er, and was super excited about standing on the 0 meridian! The Cutty Sark souvenirs are still there somewhere in my mum's house. :)

Your post brought back lovely memories! Thanks.

Nila

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pamela - I'd never taken the trip before ... but if I lived in London, then I'd be doing it regularly - as you say Greenwich is a fabulous area to visit. Now, lots of renovation going on too ...

@ Sage - that's the snag isn't it - rain or drizzle or worse a downpour - we in fact were inside - fewer people. That's great that Greenwich was a highlight of your time in London - thankfully the Cutty Sark is now restored to its fully glory as a museum ship. I toured it half way through its renovation ... I must go again sometime.

@ Madeleine - the bucket list is my South African friend's ... but I'm very happy to enjoy the days out with her ... she's now returned. If you ever get up to London - it's a trip worth doing... lovely to see you here.

@ Deborah - the history of our early 'tribes' is fascinating and seriously convoluted - I learn more every time I write something up. Delighted this post brings some of that learning you've been doing to life ...

@ ACIL - welcome back ... funny that you cycled most the route - fantastic trip to make through London to Farringdon - so much renovation going on there at the moment, with Crossrail. They've really opened up the cycle ways ... and I noticed when I wrote about St Alfege Church that there were wonderful walks and cycle routes around that area ...

@ Nila - oh that's wonderful that this post brought back memories for you ... and yes I haven't got to the Meridian yet ... the kids love the Park and area now. I'm sure those early souvenirs are there as happy reminders of the child you were ... what fun!

Cheers to you all - thanks so much for visiting ...

Lynn said...

How wonderful, Hilary! I took a dinner cruise on the Thames in 1997 with my sister and two nieces, but it was raining, so didn't get to see most of these beautiful sights.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lynn - I think a dinner cruise would be lovely too - but I was glad we went down in daylight ... but I bet it was one of the highlights of your and your sister's trip over - bet the kids remember ... cheers Hilary

DMS said...

I had no idea about all the history you shared here. So your boat trip must have been fascinating for you- and I got to enjoy it as well. :) Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - this was a very summarised version of 2,000 years of history ... with lots of intrigue, disasters, kings fighting etc way too much to even attempt to explain ... but it sort of highlights the way the country and London has changed over the centuries. But just multiply that many times over ...I'm glad you're now slightly aware - thanks ... cheers Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

It's good to be reminded of our capital's history now and again, and you've done this brilliantly here Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Keith - it's a pretty succinct (not entirely complete - but who could write our history in a 1,000 words) - so really pleased for your endorsement! Cheers Hilary