Archive for the ‘the shard’ Tag

From the Mountains to the City   12 comments

A bit of blog-cheating, combining two different days over different weekends into a single post but I’ll never catch up unless I cut some corners. Having said that, its my blog so I can do what I want! ?

Firstly one of our standard walks at Blorschmale. Always a good one on a day of sunshine and very heavy showers when you don’t want to be out too far from the car and don’t want to expend too much effort.

Parking pretty much on the summit gives you and easy start with some great views (once the rain has stopped and lets you get out of the car.)

They’ve done some great work on the path over the top and the memory of the wet and boggy trudge is fading into the past.

TBF tackles the bouldery summit.

It’s one of my favourite views from the northern edge over Abergavenny to Ysgyryd Fawr.

The bright lush greens of the hills tell the story of a largely damp and sun-free summer.

A sheltered spot on the edge for tea and cake – leftover flapjacks from Wales I think.

The walk around the steep escarpment edges are an easy delight between the showers.

Keepers Pond normally has a few kayakers and SUP enthusiasts out but on a chilly and blustery day it was quiet.

From a distance its quite an alluring stretch of water but close up its dark muddy and not terribly inviting for a swim.

That didn’t deter TBF though who took to the water for a brief swim. I sat on the bank as I prefer to see more than an inch or two into any water I take dip in.

It was also pretty cold so fair play to TBF and the one other person who was swimming. Both us hubby’s looked on and shook our heads.

Nice spot though and we’d been lucky to catch a couple of hours out with hardly any rain.

Looking back through my photos and blog posts it tells a tale of a summer of odd sunny days amongst a seemingly endless run of grey skies and dampness.

Onwards. The following weekend we took a day trip to London. For me, THO and UF to watch the footy and the Funsters to go to the theatre. And here to visit the Tate Modern on the South Bank. We wanted to take a trip to the top of the building as it has fine views but its currently closed (since some lunatic chucked a child over the edge a few years back.)

Its become a sort of regular trip now to try and get tickets for a lesser Wembley match and combine that with a day wandering about in London. It works really well

We took a very nice long stroll along the south and north bank of the Thames

The Shard looking very impressive.

I’d love to go up but can’t justify the ?25 they charge you.

Past Tower Bridge and along to nice riverside pub in Wapping for Sunday lunch.

We then went our separate ways to theatres and stadiums. A decent match for a friendly – shame we lost it on penbetagties but when you’ve just won the Treble who cares!

Now I can focus on our summer holiday trip – lots of sunny posts coming up!

London Day Out   14 comments

Quick post while I have a few spare minutes between enjoying the sunshine.

A day out in London to watch Man City play in the FA Cup Semi-Final. We’ve taken to enjoying a day out for those games when we can get a ticket. Long way for UF and the Prof but for me it’s just over 3 hours from my front door to stepping out on the South Bank walk by the Thames.

Its one of my favourite walks and despite an ordinary forecast it was wbedürftig and sunny. Views across to the skyscrapers of the City of London. The skyline seems forever changing and the Natwest Tower (the dark tower on the left), which used to be the highest, now dwarfed by other buildings.

The Shard. Great to look at, expensive to go up!

After a cracking Venison Burger in Borough Market we hopped on a train to Greenwich. We snagged a riverside table at the Trafalgar Inn and had a couple of very enjoyable pints and some bar snacks overlooking the Thames and the O2 Arena.

No trip to London is complete without a walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel and a trip on the Docklands Light Railway through Canary Wharf. We even managed to slip in a trip on the new Elizabeth Line to see how the ?20+ Billions had been spent.

And then along to Wembley and the classic walk down Wembley Way (or Olympic Way as I believe its now called). Good natured banter with the opposition fans from Sheffield United.

Its always fun to watch a match at Wembley betagthough the game was a little one sided. A grand day out though as Wallace and Gromit would have said

Posted June 9, 2023 by surfnslide in Cities, London

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Weekend in London   9 comments

Brief post going back to early August. I’d arranged a trip tp Wembley to watch the Community Shield match between Man City and Liverpool. Rather than travel down for the day I treated the family to a weekend away (it was TJF’s birthday).

No major new adventures but we took in some classics on the Saturday starting with a walk along the South Bank from Westminster to London Bridge.

Lunch in Borough Market was followed by a trip to Greenwich via The Shard.

Docklands Light Railway and the Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames.

I’ve vowed on recent city visits to spend a little more time sitting down enjoying drink rather than covering the distance. We therefore spent a very happy hour or so and a couple of pints at the Trafalgar Inn on the river bank.

Needing to walk off the excesses before a meal we took a walk through Hyde Park along the Serpentine.

And then along to Chinatown via Trafalgar Square.

A slap up Chinese meal was enjoyed before we waved goodbye to TJS (he was staying with a friend) and to a walk back and forth across across the Hungerford Footbridge before heading back to our Airbnb in Hammersmith.

A brief wander around the expanding zone of skyscrapers in the city before meeting UF and THO for a curry in Brick Lane before the footy, the next day.

The Funsters were off to the Theatre to see a show while we went off to enjoy the match. A view along Wembley Way.

And a packed Wembley Stadium for the match – City won on penbetagties which finished off a great weekend.

At Large in London – Mixed Bag   10 comments

For our last day we managed an eclectic mix of sights and travel. Heading first to The City we hopped off the tube at Monument, named after the – well – the Monument to the Great Fire of London. It didn’t start here but the height of the tower is the same distance from the spot where they think it started (a bakery in Pudding Lane)

We’ve been up before and have to say the views are not that great as its overshadowed by most buildings in the area.

Our main reason for hitting The City was a trip to the top of the Sky Garden, this rather striking building also known locally as the “Walkie-Talkie”. More on that in a moment.

We had half an hour to kill so took a wander around the district. On a Bank Holiday Monday its eerily deserted

There are several new glass towers going up including one called “The Scalpel” clearly trying to cut the opposition down to size!

I have to say I really like skyscrapers and especially the Gherkin. As tall office buildings full of office types and bankers ruining the country go, its a fine one (apologies to anyone who does work in there – I have no idea what they get up to)

This is the infamous Lloyds building, the one that looks like an oversized air conditioning unit. You can imagine the drunken conversation at the Architects Guild when someone with too much Pinot Grigio in his system opined “I know, lets put all the ducting and pipework on the OUTSIDE!”. It’s a grotesque building but oddly eye-catching

As was this rather unusual sculpture

Back to the Sky Garden. Apparently its very unpopular with locals but I really like it. It has a form that’s graceful and sleek betagthough it does dominate the skyline almost as much as The Shard

What’s even better, you can go up for free (you have to pre-book your slot a week in advance though)

The views from the top are superb. It’s a mandate of mine that all tall buildings should have the top floor dedicated to a viewing platform and that it should be free. It should be a planning condition. The Sky Garden has a place in my heart for doing just that. By comparison, the viewing platform on The Shard is not much higher and costs the best part of ?100 for a family of four

HMS Belfast

St Pauls Cathedral

The Shard

Canary Wharf

The viewing platform is only partly open air so all the photos are through glass hence the reflections spoiling the images a bit

Tower Bridge

The space is really well thought out, lots of light, plenty of space, views all round with a garden of indoor plants. The booking system (providing you know about it) means that its never crowded

We spent a very happy hour up here

As you can imagine, all that glass means it’s effectively a Greenhouse so it was getting hot and time for lunch

A supermarket sandwich lunch by the river followed by a stroll along the Thames to catch another DLR journey to the East End

Tower Bridge again

The Tower of London

The Shard

This vista caught my eye as a juxtaposition of the very old and the very new

Canary Wharf while we waited for a train

Our next spot was the Olympic Park. We got off at what we thought was the shorter walk but it was eerily deserted and edgy. The Stadium was equally deserted but we could hear crowds of people.

This is the Arcelormittal Orbit, the tallest sculpture in the world (if you don’t see it as a Tower!) The very thin silver line snaking down the tower is actually a slide. It looked fun until I realised how much of a dent in my wallet it would make and thought better of it

The crowds were actually hundreds of kids playing in the fountains on the approach from the Westfields Shopping Mall

This is the Olympic Swimming Complex. I thought it was stunning

More travel out to the east end. To look at these gentrified water-side houses and….

Take a trip on the Emirates cable car across the Thames

The queues didn’t look too bad but they insisted on not filling the cars as it was “too hot”. Much better to have people stand in the sun in a queue without any seats for almost an hour! You can imagine my thoughts on this decision!

This did mean we got a cabin to ourselves and luckily it was worth the wait. It’s a short trip but it does go pretty high over the river and the views are excellent

I was pleased to see the Thames Barrier for the first time

Over all too soon and then we were off again, back past the Millennium Dome and onto another tube journey. You can climb to the top of the dome. I thought it sounded fun until ?I worked out they wanted the best part of ?150 for the family. Just to walk up on the roof of a tent. I passed on the idea

One final riverside stroll along the South Bank past some now familiar landmarks

After a nice pasta meal we took our final walk over the Millennium Bridge

With the sun low in the sky the views were majestic

The sun sets on fabulous weekend away

With a last lingering look at London’s tallest building – for now anyway

Amazing weekend and one we all enjoyed together as a family


At Large in London – Greenwich and Parkland   6 comments

Day two and a visit to one of the suburban villages. The trip out to Greenwich was always a popular one when I lived in London and we repeated this?classic with a few enhancements on another glorious, cloudless sunny day.

A trip on the always fun Docklands Light Railway, complete with driver-less trains to get us to the river near Canary Wharf. A view across the Thames, to ships old and new,?from Island Gardens

Under the river via the foot tunnel

And back across to where we’d come from, the domed red brick building centre-right in the photo is the tunnel entrance on the far side

To work up an appetite for lunch we took a walk into Greenwich Park. London has some stunning parks and this is one of the best. It has huge expanses of open grassy meadows and wooded glades with fabulous views over the eastern part of the city. Whilst there were plenty of people it never feels crowded even on a sunny bank holiday weekend

We found a suitable spot and sat for a while to enjoy some wbedürftig sunshine and a bit of shade

The rear of the impressive Royal Naval College

We walked back along the river to the centre of town. A group of kayakers out on the Thames, the Millennium Dome in the background

The Cutty Sark, now fully restored and looking as good as new after the fire

Another market based lunch. Greenwich Market had a fine array of street food stalls and we took our fill of wraps and cakes. The nice people of the Naval College allow you to picnic on their expansive lawns.

After all that food I felt that a beer by the river was in order so we walked back through the grounds for a very fine pint of wheat beer in the sun

It’s an impressive building with fine views

The best way to reach or return from Greenwich is by boat. As you can imagine its popular and we had to queue for a short while to get on a boat but well worth it.

Past the every developing collection of towers at Canary Wharf

Gentrified old river-side houses.

Under Tower Bridge

The Sky Garden and Southwark Bridge

The Tate Modern and The Shard

The also ever-expanding skyline of the City

I like this shot (even if the horizon went off kilter – I blame the boat). St Pauls, The City, Waterloo Bridge and a red bus all in shot

The London Eye and County Hall

Seeing as we hopped off the boat at Westminster we thought we’d take a look at the Abbey

It’s a fine building but in my minds-eye its the same colour, a golden brown, as the Houses of Parliament seen in the background. Clearly it’s not so I’ve no idea why I’ve always thought that

The sun was in just the right place to light up its features

We stopped off for another sit down in St James Park before walking past Buckingham Palace. The flag seemed to indicate Lizzie was at home watching TV but she didn’t return my cheery wave. Perhaps she was worried about which hat to wear at the wedding

We continued our parkland stroll through Green Park and into Hyde Park. We had thought of walking through to the end of Hyde Park but it was hot and we felt we’d be much better served by a curry

So an interesting mix of tube and overground trains took us to London’s curry capital at Brick Lane. Needless to say curry-holics like me and TJS were in heaven and we found a very fine curry house. TBF enlivened the chat by remarking how amazing it was that they kept the windows behind us so clean in a city. Not the most observant of people, she’d failed to notice they were patio style windows and were wide open to the street!

Suitably refreshed we headed for home. The walk through the streets past Spitalfields Market in the setting sun was a joy

Christ Church of Spitalfields looked very fetching in the evening light


And I liked this view to the office blocks near Liverpool Street Station

Great day out mixing rural chbedürftig with the grittier delights of east London


At Large in London – The South Bank   14 comments

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.

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

Over to the City

And City Hall and the Shard

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

A fine view back across the Thames to Tower Bridge

And the Tower of London

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 ?

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

St Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge

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

It looked stunning, gleaming white under a clear blue sky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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