Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday 9 April 2015

I think it was last year or maybe even the year before that 16yo asked to go to London for the day as one of her birthday presents. She loves going to London and would go every weekend, given the chance. I'd be pretty surprised if she ends up going to university somewhere else. She regularly goes with J. but then they go with the three of them, and sometimes she likes going with just me. Most of the time we do one or two of the walks from this set that my dad bought for me a few years ago and has turned out to be really good.

This year we set out rather early on Good Friday - getting up at 7 on the first day of a long 4 day weekend was not what I had planned, but it was worth it as we arrived in London at 10 and it was so lovely and quiet. Because of the holiday weekend we were worried it would be very busy, so we avoided the main tourist areas and headed towards Farringdon.

The walks in this set often start in areas where you don't expect to find anything interesting. You wonder what you're going to see and if this one is going to be disappointing, when you'll turn a corner or be led down a small alleyway and suddenly you end up in a very pretty part.

Farringdon feels very much off the beaten track and miles from the city centre, but in truth it isn't that far and we suddenly found this view - St. Paul's and the shard shrouded in mist

Next it was time for a coffee stop. A few years ago we discovered WholeFoods in Kensington on a trip to renew our passports. We often go there for a coffee but as it was completely the other direction from where we were spending the day, we decided to see if we could find something else.
We saw this little French brasserie, Café Pistou, on Exmouth Market that immediately took 16yo's fancy and where we ended up having a second breakfast...

Possibly the best coffee I've ever had, plus crepes for 16yo and eggs royale for me - yum!

And if this had been open, we would have gone here for lunch... Unfortunately they were closed for refurbishment!

Myddelton Square was almost at the end of our first walk. From Angel it was only a stop or two to Hoxton, where our next walk started.

Although it was an interesting walk, it was definitely one we enjoyed less than others we've done. We got lost several times, it was along a very busy road and it had you retrace your steps several times.
The Geffrye museum, which sounded interesting and looked very pretty too, was closed for the holiday weekend, which was disappointing. And then 16yo started complaining of needing the toilet, which doesn't help when you're trying to enjoy yourself!

So, time for a toilet stop and a spot of lunch and then the last walk of the day from Old Street to Liverpool Street.

We started off at Bunhill Fields, a small, quiet and very full old cemetery where we found Daniel Defoe, William Blake and John Bunyan. You couldn't actually walk among the gravestones, in order to protect them.

Next was Finsbury Circus, where most of the buildings miraculously survived the Blitz. Beautiful buildings, although the center was a building site for Crossrail.

The Gherkin

According to 16yo this building is called the Walkie-talkie. You could see the lifts going up and down.

I'm sure she's texting her best friend here 'mum's busy photographing churches again. I thought this was supposed to be MY birthday treat'.

She was right, I was photographing a church... this was Bishopsgate Churchyard with St. Botolph's church.

And that got us to the end of our third walk and back to Liverpool Street Station. We both fancied a visit to Foyle's so we walked down there, but by the time we got there, we were both so tired, that neither of us could really be bothered to look around for long! So it was a cup of tea and then we headed back home.

Lovely day though, exploring another part of London we'd not have gone to if it hadn't been for the pack of walks. I'm already mentally planning our next visit...