Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Walking in London

One of my favourite pastimes is walking around London. I can walk the same route over and over and still discover new sights, new architecture and new streets. I can see why Charles Dickens took to wandering the streets when he couldn't sleep and why he thought 'the sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose'.

London is constantly changing. You can walk down the same road two weeks apart and there will be something different - a new shop, new street art, or even an entirely new building. 

Even the weather has an impact on the way London looks. I've been out on sunny days, cloudy days, rainy days, early in the morning, at sunset or last thing at night. I've taken hundreds of pictures of certain views up the river, or particular sections of the skyline and each one is different. I hope I never stop falling in love with London.

This past Sunday my sister and I set off from home in Kennington at 10.30am. We finally sat down just before 5pm in a pub near Brick Lane. The weather was just right - cold, with a slight breeze and a winter sun. It was a perfectly crisp winter's day and the ideal temperature for mulled cider and coffee stops.

After walking to Tate Britain we hopped on the Thames Clipper (I love a boat) and took the brief ride to Bankside past Westminster, the London Eye and all the sights of the south and north banks. You have the treat of a different perspective from the water, one that I rarely see.

After embarking at Bankside we took a slight detour from our intended route and popped into Tate Modern to visit the Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition. This was a truly fascinating exhibition which was arranged in a wonderfully imaginative way. The first room exhibited photographs taken immediately after conflict, for example their were images of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki mushroom clouds. It then moved room by room further away from the point of conflict - weeks later, months later and years later - until it reached a point 99 years after the First World War (those particular photos gave me such shivers). As you walked into the first room you were greeted by a quote from Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five which I thought was well suited and extraordinarily resonant. I would highly recommend this exhibition, even if photography or war isn't usually your 'thing'.

It was lunchtime by this point and I had some serious belly-rumblings so we walked back up to the food market behind the Royal Festival Hall. I had such a tasty falafel wrap and Liv had a blue cheese burger. We washed this down with mulled cider from the Rekordelig Cider Lodge - just what we needed for our chilly hands!

Whenever I'm around that end of the Southbank I'm unable to resist a quick look at the Book Market underneath Waterloo Bridge. There were some amazing finds, but I did well to resist this time.

Our next big stop was the One New Change shopping centre behind St Paul's. We had a brief look at some of the shops (I completed my Christmas purchases), and then jumped in the elevator to the viewing terrace on the roof. My, my, my, were we greeted with a beautiful sight.

In the lift to the roof

Aside from the many cranes obscuring the skyline (well, it is London), I'd have to say the view was breathtaking and more than worth the stomach-curdling lift ride to the roof.

Don't you just love this half-light so particular to winter? I really do.

The final leg of our grand tour found us in a pub round the corner from Brick Lane, where we consumed a well-deserved cider by a roaring fire before meeting a friend for a curry. It was one of the loveliest Sunday's I have had in a while and the perfect happy day.

I hope you've enjoyed joining us on our tour of London! Are you a big walker?



  1. You brought your walk alive. I lived in London for 6 months (a lifetime ago) and had a return visit 7 yrs ago. So many things had changed (the London Eye & the Gherkin) but the thing that stayed the same was the pleasure I felt just strolling the familiar streets with new eyes.
    We should all do the same whichever city or town we live in - thanks for the reminder to #claimmycity

  2. Lovely post :) I studied in London and I used to love taking a walk and exploring after my lectures finished. The suburbs just aren't quite the same!

  3. Thank you! I'm sure the suburbs have their own excitements - plus a little more green, maybe? :)

  4. Thank you for such a lovely comment! I've never thought about it as claiming my city, but I think that is exactly what I do. I'm pleased to hear you found the same pleasures in walking around London after some time away, and I hope you find the same where you're living now :)

  5. I would walk London for my entire life if I could. It's my most favorite city in the whole world. :)

  6. I love walking around big cities! Walking around where I live (although technically I am still in a big city, but the boring part with houses and schools and nothing else) is not particularly interesting, I should really make more of an effort to actually go into the middle of the city and walk around!


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