A few years ago I sent a postcard to my good friend, Raffa the Beagle, who lives near Liverpool. It was a postcard of London with a tick list of sights to see, including Big Ben and the Tower of London amongst others.
A couple of weeks ago, we heard from Raffa who said that she was going to come to London to try and tick off some of the sights, and she asked me if we would like to be guides. Of course I couldn’t think of another fur in this house who had been to London so I volunteered my service and took Lenny along to carry the bags.
It came as somewhat of a rude shock to Lenny that we were unceremoniously woken up at 6 am on a Saturday. After a very brief walk locally we were marched up the hill to the train station so we could whizz into London. Fortunately it was a lovely sunny day but it was a bit chilly. After we arrived in London, we strolled through Regents Park towards Euston Station so we could greet Raffa and her mum in true beagle fashion by a huge arooo in the middle of the station concourse. Raffa was in her chariot as she cannot walk as far as she could do when she was a young pup.
We immediately wandered off to find the tube station as Raffa had always wanted a trip on a tube train.
We got off the tube at Moorgate and strolled to the Guildhall (original meeting place of the Guilds of craftsmen for the City of London), Royal Exchange (the original stock exchange), Bank of England (where Raffa keeps her pennies), Mansion House (official residence of the Lord Mayor of London) and then on to Leadenhall Market (poultry market from Victorian times but now a boutique shopping area) where we made our first pit stop for some coffee to warm up the humans.
We started the next leg by walking down to the Tower of London which was very busy with visitors, and where Lenny managed to see a pesky squirrel but forgot to tell me & Raffa. We then crossed Tower Bridge.
We went along the side of the river, making our way through the throngs of tourist visitors on the south side of London Bridge. We showed Raffa the replica of the Golden Hinde ship (Francis Drake’s ship), the Clink (original dungeon prison in London) and then went on to see the rebuilt Shakespeares Globe theatre.
Now for the exciting part as we crossed the Millennium Bridge, also known as the wobbly bridge, and saw St Pauls Cathedral in its glory directly ahead.
Having strolled past the cathedral we went down Ludgate Hill and into Fleet Street (famous for printing) and managed to get two tables in a pub for some lunch snacks, as well as warming ourselves away from the chilly wind. Suitably refreshed we set off and found ourselves in the middle of a wedding procession coming out of the nearby St Bride’s Church, accompanied by a brass band. This surprised us all. We continued along The Strand and dad managed to stop pedestrians crossing the road, as he told Lenny to “WAIT” and they thought he was talking to them. We continued towards Trafalgar Square to see Nelson’s Column and then off to Whitehall (government area) to stop at Horseguards Parade to see a member of the Household Cavalry, who was watching Raffa to make she didn’t misbehave.
The London Eye across the river was spied, then Big Ben and Westminster Abbey were ticked off before we ended up at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately the Queen wasn’t at home otherwise we would have popped in for a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich (without crusts of course).
To finish we wandered slowly up The Mall back towards Trafalgar Square and took a London Black Cab to return to the train station at Euston. We woofed a sad cheerio to Raffa and her mum as they boarded their train back to Liverpool and their home.
Our journey home on the train passed like a blur, mainly due to Lenny and I having walked nearly 13 miles in total and being very tired. It was worth being really tired though, as we showed Raffa around London and she ticked off all the sights on her postcard except one. No Yeoman of the Guard Beefeaters were seen at the Tower of London. We hope we did Raffa proud as she managed to see nearly everything on her postcard list.
Finally I have to admit that Lenny was so good, given it was his first trip to London. He managed the trains, tubes and strolling around with great aplomb. We took ages getting from one place to the next as so many people wanted to say hello to us and give Raffa, Lenny and I many tickles. He dealt with the sights, smells and noises of London without fright or fear. I am proud ears of him.