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A view down the river of the iconical Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast. Belfast is a museum ship originally a Royal Navy light cruiser. It was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, Belfast, and laid down in 1936. It was launched on 17th March 1938. At the start of WW2 Belfast was part of the naval blockade against Germany but struck a mine and was out of action for two years. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar and armour Belfast was the largest and arguably the most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at that time. Belfast saw action escorting the Arctic convoys to Russia in 1943 and in November of that year played an important part in the Battle of the North Cape assisting in the destruction of the German battleship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings. In 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet shortly before the end of WW2. Belfast saw further combat action 1950-1952 during the Korean War and underwent extensive modernisation from 1956-1958 before being put in reserve in 1963. Efforts were then made to stop her being scrapped and to preserve her as a museum ship and the efforts came into fruition in 1971 when she was finally moored on the Thames near Tower Bridge and she was opened to the public in October 1971.

This theatre is associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company and was destroyed by fire on 29th June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site in 1614 and closed in 1642. A modern reconstruction of the Globe named "Shakespeare's Globe" opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet from the original building. Its capacity is 3000 seated and standing.

The Golden Hind or Hinde was an English galleon best known for its circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580 and was captained by Sir Francis Drake. The ship disintegrated and was broken up some 400 years ago but a number of replicas have been permanently moored in the harbour of Brixham. A full-size authentic replica of the ship was built by traditional handcraft in Appledore, Devon, and was launched in 1973. Since then she was travelled over 140,000 miles, a distance equal to five times round the globe. Like the original ship she circumnavigated the globe. In 1979 and 1980 she retraced Drake's round-the-world voyage. She sailed round the British Isles, to the Caribbean and in 1986 she sailed through the Panama Canal to sail on to British Columbia for the World's Fair in Vancouver. In 1987 she began a tour of the US Pacific coast, passed through the Panama Canal again before visiting the Gulf of Mexico. She returned home in 1992 to tour the British Isles once again. Since 1996 she has been berthed in her present location at St. Mary Overie Dock on Cathedral Street. She hosts visits from schools when children can dress up as Tudor sailors and receive living history lessons.

Situated in Trinity Square Gardens, Tower Hill, the memorial to the Merchant seamen lost in the 1982 Falklands War.

....more views of Chinatown!

Views of Chinatown.

See previous comments re The Shard. The Millenium Footbridge or 'Wibbly Wobbly' bridge as it is also known is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians over the River Thames. It is sited between Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge. Construction of the bridge began in 1998 and it opened in June 2000. It was nicknamed the Wobbly Bridge after some participants on a charity walk to open the bridge felt an uncomfortable swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened. The bridge was closed later that day and after two days of limited access the bridge was closed for almost two years while modifications were made to eliminate the wobble entirely. It reopened in 2002. The southern end of the bridge is near the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern and the northern end is next to the City of London School below St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Shard also known as the Shard of Glass is an 87-storey skyscraper that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development. Its construction began in March 2009 and it was topped out on 30th March 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard was opened to the public on 1st February 2013. And I think I'll give it a big miss!!! Standing approximately 306 metres high it is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the UK after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station. The glass-clad pyramidal tower has 72 habitable floors with a viewing gallery and an open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor at a height of 244.3 metres. The Tate Modern is a modern art gallery and is Britain's national gallery of international modern art. It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world with around 4.7 million visitors a year. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station and holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. The building is ugly and from what I've heard it is full of absolute rubbish in the name of "art". But entry is free!!!

The Eye and the Old County Hall from our cruise.

A different view of the Eye this time from a river cruise.


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