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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Holiday adventures.....

St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge
The forecast storm winds weren't quite as bad as expected, and the rain not quite as heavy, but I may be speaking too soon as the wind is getting up again now!  Anyway on an autumnal day like today, with a cake baking in the oven, and a mug of tea in one hand, I thought I'd tell you a bit about my recent holiday adventures.

The plan was to go via London to Somerset (in the West of England). However, A's cat was unwell a few days before I was due to arrive in London and we agreed that we would wait till the poor puss cat recovered before heading off on our adventures. Fortunately the puss cat in question fully recovered and with only a couple of days delay we were able to head to Somerset.

As it turned out the delay was just as well as I arrived in London in the Friday afternoon and my luggage arrived the following evening!!  British Airways left my luggage in Edinburgh for the FOURTH time in recent years!!  Grrr AND it had a "transfer" label on it..... anyway it was finally delivered via a circuitous route by a courier and all was well.

While we were waiting to head West we spend a bit of time around London, visiting the newly opened Shard.  The Shard was by far my favourite experience in London in recent years and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting the city!  You get a time of entry but can stay up on the viewing platforms (enclosed and partially open but very safe) as long as you want. We went up early evening and watched dusk fall and the lights of London come on. It was fabulous!  Here are just a selection of photos - sadly with reflection from the windows which is unavoidable mostly.

For those who know London you can see right over South London past the Crystal Palace antennae, out to the QEII bridge, the London flood defence, over to Wembley arena, all of the Olympic Park and everything in between.  It's brilliant!!

Of course there is the iconic Tower Bridge, wearing a crown in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation jubilee (or whatever the correct technical term is!).

Tower Bridge with HMS Belfast nearby
The dusk photos are less dramatic, and it had been a bit of a grey day. But I loved seeing the London I knew so well spread out before me and seeing the bends in the River Thames.

Tower bridge (again) 

A close up - we just missed the bridge going up!

Houses of Parliament

Southwark Cathedral

The Old Billingsgate Market

The Old Custom House
St Paul's Cathedral
Tower of London

The iconic BT Tower

Lights of cars snaking through the city
London Eye

Crystal Palace Transmitters

There are two viewing platforms. The top one has no roof but is well enclosed to stop anyone jumping off or throwing anyone off!  

While along the floor leading through the lifts are reminders of the history of the city, and how London grew up very much around a river which was central to it's existence. 

 Many of the old buildings are now surrounded by modern commercial buildings but a view from the top reveals the layers of history held within the city.


  1. How cool to be able to see your city laid out at your feet! Thanks for sharing your photos.

    1. Oh it was lovely. Can't wait to do it again. If you are in London you MUST try it!

  2. Wonderful to see the city from a bird's eye view. Thanks for the lovely photos. My granddaughter is determined to go to London. I shall have to have her take a look at these pictures.

    1. If she visits London she MUST try this! And the London eye too...

  3. I had never heard of the Shard. It does sorta creep me out that it is so very high ... But what a lovely view.

    1. It only opened within the last year I think. I love heights so it wasn't a problem for me.....

  4. Fantastic! How wonderfully positioned you were to see so many of the sights from this very different angle. It reminds of the thrill of looking at New York from the top of the Empire State Building.

    1. I LOVED the top of the Empire STate Building! You really WERE outside there! We did the same thing - going out to watch the sun set and the lights come on. Very magical - even though I'd just come from ER having had an asthma attack.....

    2. Or maybe BECAUSE I'd just come from ER - come to think of it ;-)

  5. Oh what fabulous photos. I had a day in London last week to meet up with my younger daughter,who has just moved there, but we stayed at ground level! We went to the V&A, had a picnic in the sunshine by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, then went to take a quick look at Camden Lock market (an assault on all the senses, but great fun) and there we were also able to walk down the street where my grandfather lived as a child.