At Large in London – The South Bank   14 comments

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Regular readers know that May Bank Holiday is time for camping and gathering with old friends of long-standing. In fact we’ve been doing that for well over twenty years. This year for a variety of reasons but primarily family unity and togetherness we did something different. TJF is not much of a fan of the walking and outdoor weekends and with TJS approaching A-Levels we felt it would be better so stay closer to home. I’m also acutely aware of the fact that family holidays are coming to an end and both me and TBF wanted a trip that we could all enjoy together. After the huge successes of trips around European cities last year we decided on a long weekend away in London.

We rented an apartment in Hammersmith and with a huge slice of luck we didn’t see a cloud for the whole three days. On our first day we took in the classic South Bank area kicking off with a walk past the Tower of London and over Tower Bridge.

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The views from, and of, what is in my opinion London’s most iconic landmark were breathtaking. Along the Thames….

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Over to the City

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And City Hall and the Shard

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As if that wasn’t enough we were lucky enough to see them raise the bridge a couple of minutes after we walked across

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A fine view back across the Thames to Tower Bridge

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And the Tower of London

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Lunch was beckoning and we hit Borough Market. I love food markets and the quantity of sumptuous treats was amazing. We feasted on burgers, wraps, paella, fruit, cakes and fudge – along with about a million other people it seemed. It’s not the place to avoid the crowds.

Southwark Cathedral where I planned to eat our picnic but they don’t let you take food through to the gardens any more 😦

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Time to work off that lunch with a walk along the South Bank. One of the best city walks. I remember a visit to London in the late 80’s and walking along here, thinking how down-beat and edgy it was. Nowadays its a stunning parkland style walk with plenty of sights all with views across and along the river.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

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St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge

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We took a walk over the bridge to take a closer look at the cathedral

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It looked stunning, gleaming white under a clear blue sky

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We took a trip to the roof garden of a shopping mall (don’t remember the name) from where you get a good close up view

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Then back across the river to the impressive Tate Modern. Since I was last here they have opened a new viewing platform and its wonderful. Considering its free and open to all it offers a superb view across the city

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We decided not to look at the art. As I’ve described before, proper culture is wasted on us and besides it was too nice a day to sit inside

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Having said that we were on our way to an indoor visit. I’d deliberately avoided the usual tourist hot spots as the weather was so good and I was reluctant spend money! We continued our walk along the South Bank towards Westminster

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Past the London Eye and County Hall. London is always busy but it was mental around here

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And over to the Houses of Parliament. I actually had no idea you can take a tour on Saturdays and Sundays and expected it to be booked up months in advance but easily managed to book a self guided audio tour. It was excellent, really informative and comprehensive. Having seen the various rooms, chambers, House of Lords and House of Commons many times it was pretty cool to be able to see them close up. Our enjoyment was further enhanced when TJS told us he’d mistakenly been given a child audio tour by mistake! 🙂

Its well worth the trouble to take a tour if you are in London over a weekend. You can’t take photos inside unfortunately so you’ll have to take my word for it that its fabulous inside

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We finished off the day with a walk along the Mall to Trafalgar Square and a slap up Chinese Meal in Chinatown

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I think we walked further than if we’d been out in the mountains as usual

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14 responses to “At Large in London – The South Bank

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  1. The Big Smoke looks good in the sunshine ☀️

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  2. London’s my favourite city. Fabulous to revisit in your footsteps and in sunshine.

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    • Considering I live in the UK its the first time I’ve been to London for over 10 years. The skyline has changed a lot and it was great to see it on such a glorious day

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  3. City walking really adds up fast! I shall add the tour to my list of things to do in London, thanks!

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  4. Enjoyed your tour of London!

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  5. I like the idea of a tour of the Houses of Parliament. Like you, I don’t get to London very often. The last time I was there was on a school trip – I was there to accompany some students who were taking part in a competition, but wasn’t needed during the day, so I went for a stroll instead. Can’t remember exactly where, although I did dip into the British Museum and also walked past Buckingham Palace. It was most enjoyable, but I didn’t have the fabulous weather you clearly had, fantastic for those amazing city views.

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    beatingthebounds
    • Houses of Parliament were great and the audio tour was pitched just right. Just make sure you don’t get the kids version 😂
      Views were sensational all 3 days, really lucky with the weather. We walked miles. London is pretty good for walks

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  6. Great set of photos that tell a story. Always liked the Shard. I think I dislike the hi rise cluster as they hide the Gherkin which was always my favourite for elegant design and originality in that lone setting. Like a singular work of art with assorted household items placed randomly in front of it.

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    • I like the Gherkin as well, we took a closer look a couple of days later (post to come) when walking around
      The City. Loads of new tall buildings going up including one called “The Scalpel”. I like the Sky Garden or the Walkie Talkie as locals call it. Photos to come from the top of that as well. I feel a pang of sadness about the Shard as they demolished a tall building I used to work in to make way for it

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  7. Looks as if you all had a fine time!

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
    • We certainly did. Pang of regret for missing out on a glorious weekend in The Lakes but this wasn’t a bad alternative (I’ve I’ve just come back from a sunny weekend in The Lakes to make up for it!)

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