Monday, 13 May 2019

Our U3A trip to Brunel's London

Brunel's London 

After all of the bad weather and several months of preparation, 27 members of London Studies One set out to discover Brunel's London. There are always things that can go wrong on these trips but we are all experienced and can rise above them. The 9-09am from Edenbridge to London Bridge actually was on time and we all got a seat! Three weeks prior to the trip we were informed that there would be a strike on the Docklands Light Railway starting that day. Part of our trip involved that line. The alternative would have been very inconvenient but we discovered 24 hours before that the strike on the driver-less trains had been suspended. Someone was on our side.

After a coffee just over London Bridge on what was to be a perfect day weather-wise, we met Maribeth, our guide at Embankment station. An American in London for seven years but what a natural guide full of interesting facts about the subject! The first leg of the trip was to take the ferry, about 40 minutes, to Masthouse Pier during which Maribeth told us all about the background of the three Brunels, in particular Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the middle one. We sailed under several of his bridges, including Tower Bridge, and alighted for the half hour walk to Island Gardens along the banks of the Thames with stunning views across the river to the Greenwich Observatory, the Maritime Museum and Greenwich itself with the Cutty Sark. We timed it perfectly because at 1pm we saw the Time Ball rise and drop from Flamsteed House by Greenwich Observatory. It had done this every day from 1833 and it was the first time Maribeth had seen it at the right time on one of her trips.
You can find out more about it HERE.

After our ride on the DLR to Rotherhithe, we were taken into the Brunel Tunnel by the Brunel Museum. We were lucky because just a short time ago, many of us may not have been able to enter because it was rather hazardous. However, new steps and lighting had been installed and we were all able to enjoy the experience.

After three hours of what turned out to be a perfect talk, walk, sail and ride, we all adjourned to the Mayflower pub 100 yards away for a well deserved lunch. We had the first floor restaurant to ourselves with a perfect view of the Thames from where the Mayflower sailed to Plymouth, USA in 1620. You can find out more about that voyage HERE.

You can find out more about the Brunels HERE