My name is Peter the Penguin, and I recently went to London for a weekend to explore and see the sights. I’d heard that some of the other animals had set a challenge for finding different modes of transport, and I thought London would be a great place for this. Plus I wanted to see all of the famous landmarks that I’ve seen on TV.
We had to leave quite early to catch the train. Buying tickets isn’t as easy as I thought it would be- there’s so many different options depending on what time you travel! And they didn’t have a penguin option, only adults and children. How rude!
We had to buy a lot of tickets because there were lots of humans travelling with me.
And then we were off!
When we got to London, I was told that we would be cycling everywhere.
I’m glad this turned out to be a joke because there’s no way my little flippers could reach the pedals! We got the Tube instead, which goes underground.
The Tube was quite quick, but people in London didn’t appreciate me trying to talk to them about our trip. They all looked the other way! Maybe they’re penguinists- you know like racists, but against penguins.
First up, we went to check into our hotel. We walked past this building, which is top secret. It’s where spies meet. Although, considering it’s supposed to be a secret, everyone seemed to know about it!
Our hotel was quite nice and had bedding with a big, red London bus on it. I decided I needed to make it my mission to find one!
And we had a cool view of a busy square down below. I liked watching all the people coming and going while the humans sorted out their luggage and got ready.
I saw a few red buses, but they went before I could get downstairs. Finally everyone was finished unpacking and we were able to explore!
We walked through China Town. Lots of big cities have China Towns, it’s where lots of people live who come from China or who have parents/grandparents who come from there. It’s like a community away from home. I wonder if there’s a penguin town… the humans said they didn’t think so, but there’d be some penguins at the zoo.
Next we saw Trafalgar Square. There’s a big statue, spike thing (I’m told it’s a column named after a bloke called Nelson) in the middle which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, which the British (Nelson was the leader, I’m assuming) won.
You can see him standing on the top of it. We also saw the outside of the National Gallery.
It’s a huuuggeee building! Inside are hundreds of paintings and works of art. We didn’t get the chance to go inside (look at all the people!), but we did see a chalk artist drawing outside.
Have you seen Mary Poppins? On the film, Mary Poppins and the children jump into the chalk portraits and dance with penguins. I’m a penguin! So I gave it a try to see if I could travel to a colourful dimension, but it didn’t work 😦
The humans decided to cheer me up by taking me out for lunch. Because we were looking at history and landmarks on our trip, we went to a restaurant called the Admiralty, which is all themed around the sea and ships.
It’s like being on a ship while you eat!
I was a bit wary of the old looking handcuffs. It was fun to eat there but I don’t think I’d want to be locked up there!
We had some pasta
and some cake
After lunch, we decided we’d had enough of walking for a while, so I hinted that we should catch a red bus to our next destination.
Hooray! Buses in London aren’t the same as everywhere else. Here, you don’t get on the front of the bus near the driver, you get on the back. Some people even jump on and off while it’s moving! We got off a bit early so we could walk through Hyde Park. You can see the Millennium Wheel in the background.
I was really excited by our next destination. Buckingham Palace!
There’s a long road leading up to it which you see quite a lot on parades on TV. I stood in the middle and couldn’t see the end of it! I got told off though for not paying attention while crossing the road- they only close the road for the Queen, not for penguins it would seem.
The humans got a bit obsessed with taking selfies.
It’s actually quite difficult getting everyone and the palace in the photo!
The Queen has special guards stationed outside the palace at all times. I thought they were statues to start off with because they were standing so still!
Some were even on horses! But the horses were super grumpy so I didn’t really want to get too close to them. They take their job waaayyy to seriously and were on a bit of a power trip I think. So much so, that the royal guards have to have a sign telling people how grumpy they are and that they might kick and bite!
It was three of the humans’ birthdays that week, so we went to a theatre performance in the evening to celebrate. It was called 42nd Street. Sounds like a funny name for a street, but apparently it’s an American thing to give streets numbers rather than names.
The theatre was quite grand on the inside, and had lots of statues and old fashioned decorations.
This statue is of a famous playwright, Shakespeare.
I was really not impressed when I was told I was going to have to climb lots of stairs. Where was the lift?!
Thankfully, some stewards at the theatre took pity on me and helped me out. So I let them have a photo with me in return.
We made it! And we had good seats and could see everything!
And there was also ice-cream in the interval! Being a penguin, I like ice-cream because it’s cold and we like cold things. I tried to sneak an extra portion, but they spotted me.
The next day we were up again bright and early because we had a special trip planned. I wasn’t told where we were going, but I was assured I’d like it. We started off by walking through Covent Garden Market…
…which was really empty. This is the old market though, where people used to trade. The newer Covent Garden is much more shiny and new looking and has individual shops.
I saw a flash of red and thought it was a red bus, but it turned out to be a telephone box. Before everyone had mobile phones, people used to have to make phone calls from boxes on the street. Using coins. What a faff!
I was tired from my little legs and all the walking, so I decided to use the phonebox to call a taxi. Not quite as easy to order as an Uber on a smartphone, but you don’t see many of them in London now… Plus it meant I could tick off another mode of transport- taxi!
I met up with the humans at Tower Bridge.
And from there we went to HMS Belfast, which is a big ship. I like the sea and ships because that’s where I grew up, in the sea.
We were allowed to look around the boat and see how it worked and what it was like to live on it.
It was pretty huge! I think I’d get lost if I lived here. The engine rooms had lots of machinery and dials to make the boat move.
The ship carried weapons so that it could protect itself if it was attacked.
I was told they were all empty now, but I still wasn’t keen on getting too close!
Boats nowadays are controlled more by computers, than by people having to do manual jobs on the boat…
… which is probably a good thing, because there’s no way I’d be able to work out what all these dials were doing!
I’d probably get it wrong and have to wear one of these outfit onesie looking things…
… and get locked up on board- apparently they even have a prison on board!
They have to have everything on board with them, because they could be at sea for months and months. So that includes lots of food…
…places to sleep…
… and lots of different types of weapons to make sure they’re ready for whatever comes their way.
I don’t think I would cope very well living on a ship for that long. Especially with grumpy looking men like this:
Which made me think about something- why were there no women on the ships?! The humans said that women weren’t allowed to work on ships in the olden days. In fact, women weren’t even really allowed to have jobs then. Seems a bit backwards to me. Now women can do all of the same jobs men can.
Our trip to London was almost coming to an end. We had just enough time to have a look at some of the sights on the Thames:
and then we had to walk back to the train station.
I was pretty tired after all the walking. So were some of the humans as well, it would seem! We can’t decide how many types of transport I managed to use, because seeing them and going on them are two different things apparently. Can you help me decide?
I really enjoyed my time away in London and got to learn a lot about the history and different sights there. I think my favourite part was seeing things like Buckingham Palace and the older buildings in London. Thank you to the 5 humans who took me with them, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I go for my next adventure!