Hello from London! We've been having a great time so far.
We arrived on Friday afternoon, but were pretty much too exhausted to do much except stroll around St. James Park a bit, have some dinner, and conk out.
We started Saturday by wandering around Covent Garden a bit, stopping to see St. Paul's church, which I wanted to see primarily because it features in the opening scene of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London. It's a credit to Aaronovitch's powers of description that it looks pretty much as I pictured it, except that the actual distance between the church and Covent Garden market is smaller than I'd imagined. ("The distance is smaller than I imagined" is a pretty good description of Central London, generally.)
From there we walked to Sir John Soane's museum, which I think has to be seen to be believed. It's just crammed full of stuff - architectural models, sculpture (original and reproductions), drawings, bric-a-brac. It's too bad you can't take photos there, because I don't think mere words do justice to how packed the place is.
We made our way to the Museum of London, stopping at St. Bartholomew's church along the way. St. Bartholomew's is one of the few buildings in London that actually date back to the middle ages. Fortunately, the neighboring hospital looks like it's been renovated a fair few times since the 1100s.
The Museum of London is really cool. I particularly liked the exhibits on Roman London. We also had fun totally geeking out with a museum staff member about swords, prompted by his jumping in to correct me when I mis-identified a hand-and-a-half sword as a two-handed sword. (Silly me. I really ought to know better. On the other hand, being wrong prompted a conversation which was much more fun and informative than just reading the informational placards.)
For today's explorations, we'd intended a maritime theme, planning to visit the Docklands museum and then head on to Greenwich. But after we got out of the Docklands museum, it was raining pretty hard, so we made our soggy way back to central London, had lunch, and holed up in a Waterstone's bookstore for a while. When it cleared up a bit, we went to the National Portrait Gallery and explored the top floor, which has the medieval, Elizabethan, and Stuart-era portraits. Which prompted today's Stupid Question In History: Was the overall prestige of the Order of the Garter tied to the fashion for men wearing hosiery? (Do present day members of the Order of the Garter still wear the garter?)
Tomorrow, weather permitting, I think we'll take a day trip to Bath.