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St James Park
Bookmark: St James Park
Bookmark: Westminster Abbey
Bookmark: Rosslyn Chapel

Da Vinci Code: UK part two

Thursday, March 17, 2005

As we leave King’s College we make our way to St James Park before heading to Edinburgh to the Rosslyn Chapel.

St James's Park

St James's is one of London's Royal Parks, bordered by Buckingham, St James and Westminster Palaces. Its lake has two islands, Duck and West, and is one of the city's most beautiful parks. Henry VIII used it as a deer park in 1532 and built the palace next to the park.

St James's Park, Hyde Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens form an unbroken line of greenery stretching almost five kilometres from the Houses of Parliament to Olympia.

In The Da Vinci Code, St James's Park is the scene for a nefarious meeting between "the Teacher" and Remy.

Westminster Abbey

This beautiful building is one of the most sacred, symbolic and visited churches in England. A fine example of early English Gothic architecture, it is full of elaborate tombs of royalty, statesmen, poets, scientists, warriors and musicians and has many small chapels. The 13th-to-16th-century architectural masterpiece presents a remarkable showcase of British history, including the shrine of St Edward the Confessor, tombs of kings and queens and countless memorials to the famous and the great.

Every British monarch has been crowned here and it has been the venue for many other royal occasions. It is still a church dedicated to regular worship and the celebration of the nation's great events.

King Edward established his royal palace by the banks of the Thames in the 1040s. Nearby was a small Benedictine monastery. Edward chose to re-endow and greatly enlarge it, building a stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle. It became known as "west minster" to distinguish it from St Paul's Cathedral, the "east minster". The king's remains were entombed in front of the high altar.

Edward's abbey survived for two centuries until King Henry III decided to rebuild it in the new Gothic style in the middle of the 13th century. Europe was awash with new cathedrals at that time — the French built Amiens, Evreux and Chartres, the English built Canterbury, Winchester and Salisbury.

With some help from Sir Isaac Newton's tomb, Robert breaks the second cryptex code. He and Sophie then venture north to Scotland.

Rosslyn Chapel

Roslin is a pretty little mining village in Edinburgh. It has rows of stone-built, terraced cottages and is famous for the extraordinary Rosslyn Chapel, conceived in the 15th century and dedicated to St Matthew in 1(44)6. It has attracted attention for centuries because of its links to the shadowy Knights Templar, the supposed protectors of the Holy Grail. Many people believe it is in fact buried here. Radar has revealed the presence of a massive subterranean chamber beneath the chapel, much larger than the above-ground chapel, but with no obvious entrance or exit. Archaeologists wanted to blast through the bedrock, but the Rosslyn Trust put a stop to any excavation.

The quality and variety of its interior stone carving make the chapel outstanding. Almost every square centimetre of stonework is covered with human figures, animals and plants. The design called for a cruciform structure, but only the choir and parts of the east transept walls were completed.

Location

London and Edinburgh in the UK

Cost

Westminster Abbey is open on Monday and Friday between 9.30am and 3.45pm, Wednesday between 9.30am and 7pm, Saturday between 9.30am and 1.45pm and on Sundays it is open for worship only. Admission is around $19 for adults and around $43 for families.

British Tours have three-hour Da Vinci Code tours starting at around $500 per vehicle for up to four people. A seven-hour tour is around $715 per vehicle for up to four people. Price includes car, driver and guide-related expenses. Your guide will collect you from any central London location.

British Airways flies daily to Europe.

Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Rome, Paris and London starting at $1646 per person, plus taxes.

Globus has a 14-day Secrets of Da Vinci tour leaving Rome on July 3, 2005. It includes some meals, twin-share accommodation, transport and tours for $3999 per person. Its itinerary takes in Rome, Milan, the Lake Geneva area, Geneva, Paris, London and finishing in Edinburgh. Tours can be booked through Flight Centre.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

St James's Park
The Store Yard
London SW1A 2BJ UK
Ph: (44) 20 7930 1793

Westminster Abbey
London SW1P 3PA UK
Ph: (44) 20 7222 5152
Fax: (44) 20 7233 2072
www.westminster-abbey.org
info@westminster-abbey.org

Information Desk
Ph: (44) 20 7654 4900
Fax: (44) 20 7654 4894
info@westminster-abbey.org

British Tours
Ph: (44) 20 7734 8734
www.britishtours.com
info@britishtours.com

For more information on The Da Vinci Code, visit www.danbrown.com

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