Off with their heads. Day 71
Now you have all heard of William the Conqueror right? Well if you haven’t then a quick trip to Wikipedia is a must. One of his greatest achievements is the building of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, known by us today as the Tower of London. Built in 1078, this historic building is one of many must see attractions in London and is on our list for today.
Now remember when I told you about all the wonderful free things London has to offer, this is not one of them. It will cost you around £20 to get in, however you can spend the entire day here if you want and every half hour a free tour is offered. Led by one of many Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters as they are commonly known, this tour allows you to wander through the tower listening to stories of events that have occurred and get a history on the people that have walked the beaten paths before us. Our guide seemed to have fun when talking about executions on Tower Hill and even added a few beheading puns along the way. He mentioned tails of those who were imprisoned here and those who died a painful death. Anne Boleyn being one of the executed, is said to still haunt the White Tower as a ghost carrying her head under her arm. I definitely recommend this tour to anybody interested in a visit to the Tower of London, you will not be disappointed.
Looking around the fortress it is easy to envision what once stood here. A moat once flowed around the outer wall and the entrance, now known as Traitors Gate is still standing tall. At the top of the towers are metal archers where guards once stood and within the towers themselves are exhibitions of artefacts and stories of the history of the Tower. Pitch black Ravens in the courtyard remain caged due to the superstitions of previous kings and queens. A giant Wooden trebuchet sits menacingly beyond the Stoney walls.
Standing in the middle of the fortress is the White Tower. This palace was home to many kings and queens throughout English history and is now the location of the armoury and weaponry exhibits. Walking though the White Tower, personal armour of King Henry VIII is on display surrounded by canons and guns once used to hold down and protect the Fortress. Across the courtyard is the Waterloo Barracks, also known as the Jewel House. It is here that the Crown Jewels are housed and Josh and I cannot wait to go inside. We travel along observing the service ware, royal orbs and ceremonial swords until we finally see the crown. My jaw drops. My eyes widen. My smile grows. Some of the largest jewels I have ever seen are embedded in this crown made entirely of gold. It’s a magnificent sight, I wish I could look at it forever. Looking down I see my own diamonds sparkle and my smile grows even more.
The Tower of London is not complete without standing along the outer wall and gazing along the River Thames towards the Tower Bridge, one of the most spectacular bridges in London. I get a bit trigger happy with my camera before we head home to get ready for dinner. A dinner we have been waiting for since we booked all those months ago.
Josh has many culinary idols that inspire him every day to be the best chef he can be. One of those idols is Gordon Ramsay. Not because he is a tv superstar or because he screams and shouts, but because he has built an empire based on his skills and abilities as a chef and businessman. One of his restaurants has the title of holding three Michelin stars consecutively for the longest period of time and this is where we will be dining this evening. Tonight dinner is at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is not what I expected at all. The interior is warm and inviting with guests seated on round tables sprawled across the room. Crisp, long white linen dresses the tables and napkins are wrapped in gold. This restaurant screams elegance and we cannot wait to begin with the food. Restaurant manager Jean-Claude greets us with a friendly welcome and wishes us a pleasant evening. With Champagne in hand it’s time to look over the menu. Something this restaurant does is offer a different menu to the host than the rest of the table. The difference being that the hosts’ menu includes prices and the others do not, I think it’s a nice touch. Spoiled for choice we decide to choose from the al a carte menu, something we have not done in a long time.
House made bread, canapés and amuse bouche begins to flow to the table. Josh is in food heaven and he only gets more excited as more and more food comes through the kitchen door. “This is the best fish dish I have ever eaten!” Did I hear that correctly Josh? Such a statement is well deserved as Josh devours his turbot before I could sneak any from his plate, so you’ll have to wait for Josh’s review to hear how it tasted! All the food at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was cooked without fault and each flavour was perfectly balanced. When you dine at Royal Hospital Road you are very likely to run into famous chefs or celebrities, tonight we dined tables away from Katy Perry and John Mayer. I have fallen in love with Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and we can see why this restaurant receives the accolades it does.
Before we leave we are offered a tour of the kitchen, something we never refuse! Walking through the doors we see Head Chef and Ramsay’s protégée Clare Smyth having a conversation with one of the waitstaff. We thank her for an incredible meal and watch the kitchen team as they work in unison, the clean down is so thorough even Josh is impressed. Our experience at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was unforgettable and we will be recommending it to all of our friends, family and readers.
Jess and Josh