summer in the UK: Castles and Crypts

This summer, after months of planning, and more than a couple of years of hoping we’d get across the pond sooner than later, we were finally off on a 2-week family trip to England!

Day 4: Tower of London & St. Martin’s


With a hectic day of Wimbledon behind us, we decided to embark on a few classic tourist experiences in London: the Tower of London and a brass rubbing at St. Martin’s.

After a full breakfast, we took the tube down to the Tower of London around opening at 9:00am. Our early morning plan was intentional, as most of the attractions around the Tower are out in the sun… and it was expected to be another scorching hot day!

Tower of London Entrance

We made sure we had exposed Miss L to some basic lore of British knights (you know… A Knight’s Tale, Robin Hood, etc.), but the majority of Henry VIII’s insane tale went over her head. It was fine though because rooms of armor, the crown jewels and ravens are really all a kid needs to have a fun morning at a historical site!




After about 3 hours on the hot castle grounds, we headed over the air-conditioned sactuary of Wagamama for copious amounts of lemonade and pork buns.

Then we headed off to one of Mr. M’s favorite activities from childhood visits to London: brass rubbings at St. Marten-in-the-Fields.


The church is right off of Trafalgar Square and isn’t very big at all. From the street level you’ll walk straight into the main area of the church, but what you want is probably all underneath in the Crypt.

There you’ll find a food court on one side, and to the other is the area for the brass rubbings. I really didn’t have any clue as to what to do, but Mr. M walked in as an expert and showed us the ropes.



First, you go around and pick out your brass rubbing plate. They have small ones (think 8×10 size plates) and gigantic 4 foot tall plates. Then you simply pick the color of wax you’d like and pay for your rubbing. They will wrap the plate in black paper for you and give you a short demonstration of the right/wrong way to go about your rubbing. Then it’s up to you to find the dexterity to create your masterpiece to take home!


We all had a lot of fun “coloring” (especially Miss L) and spent about an hour completing our rubbings.


With them sealed up in a poster tube, we headed nextdoor to Trafalgar Square for some breezy relief near the fountains, then headed back to the hotel for our final day in London!