Descending into Churchill’s War Rooms, Westminster Abbey and The School of Rock Musical Play, London, United Kingdom


Our second day in London had us visiting some of the attractions that the city has to offer. We started off with an attraction that had I had missed on past trips through; Churchill’s War Room. We followed this up with Westminster Abbey, followed by an evening play of School of Rock.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity City Visit: Descending into Churchill’s War Rooms, Westminster Abbey and the School of Rock Musical Play, London, United Kingdom.

We had an easy 8 AM wake up today at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington after a full 10 hours of needed family sleep. I slept really well and so did junior. He was in a terrific mood on his part, which was a great start to the day.

We took the tube from Earls Court to Westminster via the District Line. We got off to and headed straight for Churchill War Rooms. We stopped along the way to take some photographs of the scaffolded Big Ben; now completely surrounded and being made over.

Descending into Churchill’s War Rooms:

We arrived at about 11 AM to Churchill’s War Rooms immediately behind the HM Treasury. I didn’t bother making an online reservation so I was a bit skeptical to see how long the lines were, having seen long lines here in the past. We were admitted after only about a 5 minute wait. After 22 £, and an offer to buy a program for 4 £, we were given a free audio guide, which was more than adequate for our visit.

The Churchill War Rooms was quite an enjoyable afternoon. Junior, having played a lot of Axis and Allies board games with his dad growing up, had a good time of it. I even quizzed him about it after the fact in the afternoon and he actually remembered some of the things. The Churchill War Rooms experience takes you through the rooms. The first part of the tour took you through the more residential areas of the CWR. This included a stop by the direct line to the USA white house.

There is a museum about Churchill’s life about halfway through. Like many modern museums, it was quite interactive. Jr had a great time deciphering coding among other things.

This was followed by a more working operational part of the tour, through the strategic planning sessions and communication centers. The communication centers still had the direct dial rotary telephones.

All in all, I was expecting a very short visit with only a few rooms worth seeing. Instead, we were about to see about thirty rooms (out of more than 60) that were open to the public in addition to the museum on Winston Churchill which made for a great experience. It was highly recommended.

Remembering at the Bali Memorial:

After we left, we stopped quickly just outside at the Bali Memorial for the terror attacks on the Paddy’s Night club in Kuta, Indonesia in 2002.

We moved on for two expensive large hot dogs at the food vendor immediately outside Westminster Abbey. Mother Nature decided to rain a shower down on us so we hunkered underneath the tree there until it ended.

From there, it was on to Westminster Abbey via the gates at 10 Downing Street. Despite seeing it on television so many times, this was about the closest we can get.


Visiting Westminster Abbey:

Returning back to Westminster Abbey, we joined a 1 hour and 10 minute queue to get in. The line was simply to buy tickets. I didn’t do any online organization to buy tickets in advance but when I checked the night before, it was completely sold out.

Unfortunately, there is now a no photo policy inside Westminster Abbey. It was surprisingly enforced and there were a few hosts running around scolding various tourists. I am thinking that this is solely a crowd control issue as photographs were mostly allowed in the other London attractions. When I looked it up on line, it seems to be both crowd control in the narrow spaces and respect for the “place of worship”. I am not sure I agree with it, it’s about as classy as Las Vegas is with all the crowds moving through it but I can appreciate their position. Admittedly, I snuck a few snaps with the camera phone

We were able to wander through the entire complex, including the Tombs of the explorer David Livingstone, Queen Elizabeth I, and history of the coronation of every monarch since 1500. WT73Jr was quite impressed at the amount of history that was in there and it was a good first visit.

After Westminster Abbey, we took in a closer look at Parliament and Big Ben. Unfortunately, Big Ben is undergoing a major restoration at the time of our visit with only the clock face visible.


School of Rock:

We headed back to the hotel for a freshen up before the evening. Tonight’s entertainment was a play “School of Rock”. Junior is an up an coming rocker, or at least that’s one of his current passions. It terms of finding some youthful entertainment and exposure to a London Play, the “School of Rock” seemed to be the best choice for him.

On our way back into town, we arrived and took a quick walk through Covent Gardens.

Before we headed over to the theatre, a stop at the usual stand up board for social media photographs… just like the red carpet.

Overall a great show for parents and kids alike. Making the evening more interesting, it was the lead actor’ final showing. As a result, there as a short presentation to mark the end of his run.

After the show, we took a short walk through central London to take in the energy of the entertainment district. We headed down to Leicester Square. As always, it’s great to see at night, along with the giant Lego store anchored on the corner.

With a short walk up to Piccadilly Circus, taking it all in, prior to the Underground back to Earl’s Court and home to the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington for the evening. Another great day in one of the world’s greatest cities!

If you’ve visited the City of London, what attractions are first to see on your list ?

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