A glorious summer’s day in London
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London, all that life can afford”
The thing I love about London is its multi-faceted personality – how it encapsulates all that is charming about capital cities and everything that is exciting about financial centres. It is the epitome of a global city – with history, architecture, culture, art, fashion, cuisine and entertainment, spanning a range as wide and varied as the erstwhile British Empire.
something many things for everyone.
And no matter how many times we visit, there is always something new to discover and lots of familiar things to fall in love with all over again.
Having been rewarded with a beautiful summer’s day, A and I set off on a long walk from our hotel, sampling some of the many delights of this fascinating city.
First up was modern retail, set amidst lovely architecture and steeped in history. Oxford Street – the busiest shopping street in Europe, and then Regent Street, the world’s first shopping street, built in 1825. Whether to focus on the enticing offerings of the wide array of international brands or the gape at the impressive facades of the Grade II listed buildings housing them, has always been a dilemma for me.
Passing the hordes of tourists at Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, we made our way to Covent Garden, and into one of our favourite joints (more on that later) to get a fix of keema pav, prawn koliwada, lamb samosas, chicken ruby, roomali roti and Thums Up! As you can guess, the other thing I absolutely adore about London is the wide availability of good Indian food.
Satiated, and finding ourselves in the heart of the city’s theatre district, we decided to catch a matinee show, and were delighted to find a new play based on the works of an all-time favourite, P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense was a laugh riot, and highly recommended, even (actually, more so) if you are familiar with the book – The Code of the Woosters.
Our next stop would be St. James’s Park, but not before we had walked across Trafalgar Square, down the Mall, around Victoria Memorial and past the residence of Queen Elizabeth II, while discussing, what seemed to be the current obsession of the nation – the upcoming first birthday of her adorable great-grandson.
After a leisurely celebration of summer at the park – feeding the pigeons and squirrels, gazing at the beautiful swans and other webbed-footed creatures, people-watching and soaking in the sunshine – we headed onwards towards the river. Down Birdcage Walk and past the impressive Palace of Westminster and its iconic landmark, Elizabeth Tower (Did you know that “Big Ben” was originally just the nickname of the great bell of the clock? And that the structure was rechristened in 2012, prior to which it was known as the “Clock Tower”. I didn’t! For me, it’s always been Big Ben).
Crossing Westminster Bridge brought us to the South Bank of Thames, and close to another London icon – the London Eye, at one time, the world’s tallest ferris wheel.
The festivities along the river bank held more allure for us – enthusiastically cheering on the street acrobats, marveling at the teenagers coolly doing their “thing” with skateboards and footballs, and picking up quirky titles from the Riverside Walk Book Market.
Further down, we passed Tate Modern, the most visited art gallery in the world, a pub with an interesting philosophy on alcohol and then Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, located close to its original site.
The chiming bells of the Southwark Cathedral accompanied our ascent up London Bridge, as the sight of another famous landmark, the Tower Bridge, greeted us.
Back on the north side, we explored some of the back-alleys and cobble-stoned streets of the City, England’s smallest ceremonial county and a major financial and business centre.
After a much-needed pint, we strolled back along the river, witnessing the city change colours and enjoying its various landmarks under a different light.
Crossing the Strand, the hub of theatre and nightlife in the Victorian era, we arrived back at the current entertainment district. From there, our tired soles directed us into Chinatown for some soul-satisfying Cantonese fare.
All in all, an eclectic day, don’t you think?
P.S. For more intriguing walks, hop on over to Jo’s Monday Walk.
- Regent Street, 1837: Quadrant, Regent Street engraved by J.Woods after J.Salmon publ 1837 edited”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
- Regent Street, 2011: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aguichard/5656782231/in/photostream/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
- Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense: From jeevesandwoosterplay.com
- Inspired shot: Inspired by Ben’s at Flights Camera Satisfaction.