October 2017 Jump to London 2015 postings. Jump to London 2016 postings.
Our Virgin train leaves Edinburgh Waverley station at 8:30 a.m. There will be a few stops along the route and estimated time of arrival at London King’s Cross station is 12.50 p.m. Our ticket cost £25 as we’ve booked way in advanced, otherwise expect to pay more than £100. Better to fly then.
A short stop at Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Newcastle was also one of the other stops.
York was a busy station with lots of passengers getting on.
Outside York, you’ll pass by this power plant on your right. If I’m not mistaken, it’s located in Eggborough.
Although along the journey there was an 8 minute delay getting into some of the stations, we eventually arrived King’s Cross only a couple of minutes late.
King’s Cross London train station.
Fellow passengers getting off the train at King’s Cross.
Bicycles parked just off the platform inside the station.
The train head looks a little tired and aged but it got us from Edinburgh to London safely and almost on time.
Our accommodation in London will be at Point A Hotels, Praed Street, Paddington. This hotel was formally Tune Paddington when we stayed last year. We found the hotel’s location to be very convenient. Just in-front of this hotel, behind a row of shop lots is Paddington Basin where you’ll find Merchant Square. This is the spot where the movie Jason Bourne was shot.
Previously Tune Paddington, now under new management known as Point A Hotels.
After lunch, we headed to Merchant Square, in Paddington basin. Naturally we’ve been here last year (2016) and we can see there are some ‘upgrade’ project that’s been done. Notably is the ‘Pocket Park’, a 730 sq metre floating park in the basin that provides green space on the water for the public to enjoy and mooring spots for canal boats
Merchant Square, Paddington Basin.
Pathway leading to the ‘Pocket Park’ a small 730 sq metre floating green.
Further down, canal boat moored by the canal.
Something that wasn’t here in 2016. Free canal tour by water taxi from Paddington Basin to Bishop’s Bridge.
A clip from the movie Jason Bourne. Credit : movietrip.me
Photo taken from the spot Malcolm Smith (above) waiting for Bourne at Merchant Square. View towards St Mary’s Hospital in the background.
A short walk from Merchant Square we boarded a bus at Edgware Road and got off at St John’s Wood a few stops up. Across the road from the bus stop, you’ll find Clifton Court flats. These flats were built in the traditional black & white colonial design. We are here just to photograph these buildings and to pass our time for the evening.
The colonial styled, black & white designed flats.
Clifton Court is at the junction of St John’s Wood & Maida Vale.
The Clifton Court is quite a stretch.
Another view of the flat.
Having taken enough photographs of the Clifton Court, we headed back to Edgware Road. Before heading back to our hotel, we strolled along Cabbell Street starting just besides the Edgware Road (Circle & District) tube station. Hyde Park mansions is located on this street and the red-brown coloured facade is nice to photograph.
Start of our 2nd day in London, we are off to Primark at 499, Oxford Street. What’s peculiar is Primark opens for business as early as 8.00 a.m. We’re not shopaholic to come early but to beat the maddening crowd during the later hours as what we had experienced the previous years.
Nice to note Primark has a return or refund policy within 28 days of purchase. The return or refund can be made from any of their branches. This means, purchase made in Edinburgh can be returned or refunded in London. Foreigners who are entitled for VAT refund, bundle all your purchase receipts and get it done from any of Primark’s branches irrespective of which branch the purchase has been made.
Primark at the ever ‘busy’ Oxford Street at 8 a.m. Try photographing this location at 4.00 p.m.
Once shopping done, we took a bus in-front of Primark and headed to Italian Water Gardens located within Kensington Gardens. We got off at the bus stop on Bayswater Road opposite Lancaster Gate tube station. One of the entrance gates into the garden, is just by the bus stop. Unlike Hyde Park, the Italian Water Gardens is gated and opens at 6.00 a.m. and closes at varying times according to the season.
Entrance into Italian Water Gardens via Bayswater Road. The Lancaster Gate tube station is directly opposite.
Park map of Kensington Gardens.
The Kensington Gardens where the Italian Water Gardens is located, was part of Kensington Palace in the past. It was built 150 years ago as a gift to Queen Victoria from Prince Albert. The park covers an area of 270 acres and is located to the west of Hyde Park. The main attraction is the fountains and its quiet surrounding even though Bayswater Road is a stone’s throw away. From here, we can see from a distance, the Speke Monument.
The Italian Water Gardens with it’s fountains running.
The fountain pump house and In the background, the ‘Royal Lancaster London Hotel’.
The white marble Tazza Fountain.
The pump house viewed from across the garden.
Autumn leaves evident at Kensington Gardens.
Speke Monument in the distance.
Back on the bus heading towards Shepherd’s Bush, we got off at Notting Hill Gate (stop N, about 4 stops away) just before the tube station. Walk ahead and turn left for Kensington Church street. About 80 metres to your right across the road, you’ll find ‘The Churchill Arms’. The whole building is almost entirely covered with colourful flowers, even in Autumn. This is a favorite photo spot not to be missed.
A London bus passing by ‘The Churchill Arms’.
Entrance fronting Kensington Church street.
Closer view of the entrance.
Blooming flowers in Autumn. It would be a riot of bright colours in spring. This entrance is fronting Campden Street.
The dual frontage at the junction of Kensington Church street and Campden street.
Winston Churchill intensely looking at you.
Back again on the bus, we headed to Shepherd’s Bush getting off at Shepherd’s Bush Road bus stop ‘J’ on Goldhawk Road. Along this road, there are tons of textile stores if you are looking for fabric. A little further up is Goldhawk Road tube station and across the road is Shepherd’s Bush market. We’ve been here in 2016 and as written in our previous post, it’s just an everyday market. If you are short of time, you would not miss much if this market is not in your itinerary. Our main intention getting here is to have lunch at one of the restaurants at the other end of the market besides Shepherd’s Bush market tube station and to perform our midday prayers at a nearby mosque.
Welcome to Shepherd’s Bush market.
Begs & children clothings.
Pillows & kitchen utensils.
Purses, begs, luggages & in between.
Varieties of souvenirs.
London begs @ £1.50 each.
Cheap fridge magnets @ £1 each.
After lunch, it’s a 300 metres walk from the other end of the market to Shepherd’s Bush mosque. The mosque is located in between shop lots at 302, Uxbridge Road. The female prayer hall is upstairs whilst the male downstairs. There was a big congregation for the midday ‘Zohor’ prayers full to the brim at the male prayer hall.
Main entrance into Shepherd’s Bush mosque.
Women prayer hall upstairs.
Male prayer hall. Main entrance at the far end.
Male prayer hall.
After prayers it’s back on the bus heading to Westfield London, a huge shopping mall close to Shepherd’s Bush tube station. Don’t be confused with Shepherd’s Bush Market tube station which is ½ mile away. At Westfield, you’ll find all the big brand names. Westfield is where most Londoners shop, not at Oxford Street where it’s flooded with tourist. Although you can find big brand names along Regent’s Street, Westfield offers the convenience of everything under one roof.
Westfield London located close-by Shepherd’s Bush tube station & bus stop.
Westfield London shopping mall.
Overview of a section of Westfield.
A favorite store for the youngsters.
A small section inside Debenhams with items on sale brought in the crowds.
For the sports addicts, Sports Direct.
Multi floors House of Fraser.
.Penang!, a halal Malaysian restaurant outside Westfield opposite House of Fraser.
Visiting London 3 years in a row, we’ve covered many of the main attractions in our must visit list. This year, we’ll visit some of the attractions we’ve listed previous years but never got to see. First place on our list today is a visit north of Trafalgar Square, to Brydges Place an alley that is supposedly to be London’s narrowest.
An alley is a narrow lane, path, or passageway, often for pedestrian use, running behind or between buildings typically used as a rear access or service road. Brydges Place runs for 200 yards and connects St Martin’s Lane to Bedfordbury end-to-end and becomes a handy shortcut for those who know. Although it has been said that the narrowest part of the alley is 15″ apart, I can attest that it isn’t. The narrowest point is the entrance via St Martin’s Lane and one can comfortably walk through with inches to spare on each side.
The entrance to ‘Brydges Place’ on Bedfordbury sandwiched between ‘The Marquis’ pub and ‘Thai Pot’ cafe.
The street sign confirms.
Looking towards the other end (St Martin’s Lane) 200 yards away.
The narrowest alley is a public highway.
Approaching the end looking towards St Martin’s Lane. Around this point, the stench of urine is present.
The western entrance fronting St Martin’s Lane is sandwiched between the ‘Coliseum Theatre’ and ‘Notes’ coffee shop.
So where is Brydges Place ?
You’ll pass by ‘Harp’ pub if you approach Brydges Place via Bedfordbury.
Exiting Brydges Place at Coliseum theatre, turn left and walk a short distance to Trafalgar Square. As we were early, crowds were building outside the National Gallery waiting for it’s door to open. Across the Gallery is Trafalgar Square with Nelson’s Column at the far end and across the roundabout you’ll see Admiralty Arch and walking along the Mall, will take you to Buckingham Palace. To complement London’s narrowest alley, Britain’s smallest police station is at one end of Trafalgar Square. Read our earlier post to find where.
The National Gallery. Visitors waiting for the doors to open.
Nelson’s Column rises above Trafalgar Square.
Admiralty Arch across Trafalgar Square. The archway entrance to the Mall will lead to Buckingham Palace at the other end.
Traffic congestion in-front of Trafalgar Square requiring ‘bobbies’ to control.
From Trafalgar Square we took a bus headed towards Regent Street. Passing Piccadilly Circus, we noticed the electronic advertising board was still out of commission for upgrading works. Piccadilly Circus whether night or day is busy with hives of activities.
Piccadilly Circus with the electronic advertising board still switched off for upgrades. It should be on by the time you read this.
Regent Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London that connects Piccadilly Circus with Oxford Street. Regent street is packed full of shops and is more upscale than Oxford Street. It is one of the world’s most prestigious shopping and lifestyle destinations, home to more than 75 international flagship stores as well as British brands. Hamleys, the toy store and Liberty, the fashion brand, are two British examples. It is a busy place with an estimate of more than 70 million visitors coming to shop, relax and dine along Regent Street annually.
On the eve of the Wembley contest between the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins, Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus becomes a traffic-free street for American football fans. It hosts football festival, features interactive games, on-stage performances and appearances, merchandise and much more, hence the NFL buntings along Regent Street.
The NFL buntings up on Regents Street.
British & American flags along Regent Street.
High end shopping along Regent Street.
The intersection of Regent Street & Oxford Street. The stairs to Oxford Circus underground on the right. This is early October, no where near Christmas yet.
Right on Regent Street is Hamleys, established in 1760, is the oldest and largest toy store in the world. This flagship store is set over seven floors covering 54,000 square feet with more than 50,000 lines of toys including computer games, plush toys, gadgets, classic games and specialist collector areas on sale. Each floor caters for different categories of toy. Hamleys provides the ultimate play experience for children and took an hour of our adult time just browsing the store. It is considered one of London’s prominent tourist attractions, receiving around five million visitors a year.
Hamleys, London. Credit: thesun.co.uk
Display in Hamleys.
‘Hornby’ train set display.
Stacks of ‘Hot Wheels’ to choose from.
The Queen constructed of ‘Lego’.
Carnaby Street is a pedestrian shopping street located behind Hamleys. It is home to fashion and lifestyle retailers including large numbers of independent fashion boutiques catering more to the taste of youngsters. It’s a short 3 minute walk from Oxford Circus underground station. The 14 streets at Carnaby accommodate over 100 shops with 60 places to eat and drink. Carnaby was once famous for it’s history of the mod and hippie followers during the swinging 60s and became the epicenter of London’s counterculture scene.
Welcome to Carnaby Street.
Shopping street for hipsters.
Busy, busy Carnaby Street.
Off Regent Street, on Great Marlborough Street, is Liberty London. This is a beautiful Tudor building department store with wooden paneling inside. Liberty spreads over 5 floors selling luxury women’s, men’s and children’s attire, cosmetics, fragrances, jewellery, accessories, among others. Liberty is also particularly well-known for their floral and graphic prints. Prices at liberty are rather steep but did not dither my wife from acquiring 4 metres of fabric.