Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things to do in London #1 - Walk along the Thames

Though London is a very old city, things change, and some of them for the better.  the walk along the South Bank is definitely one of the things that have changed for the better in London. This is did not exist when I was a child and the views of London that can be had from this walk are priceless. They are in the process of completing a walking path along the Thames from the source to the estuary, But the part in downtown makes a wonderful way to spend half a day.

Houses of Parliament from the bottom of the London eye
The best place to start is at Waterloo Bridge which is very close to the London Eye across from  the Houses of Parliament. Walk along the South Bank past all the human statues and past the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre. Currently they have an exhibition celebrating the Festival of Britain which was in 1951 (Festival hall was named after it).  They are celebrating Summer in England and we walked past a row of bathing huts which used be on the all the beaches here in England.

Beach huts
We stopped along the way for a glass of prosecco to celebrate our safe arrival in London and the good weather we were enjoying.

After this refreshment we were able to carry on again. Currently just before the Tate Modern you have to take a diversion away from the river for a short while, but they are busy completing that leg.  When you come to the Tate Modern you can wander in.

As Nancy so happily shows us, like all the public museums and art galleries in London it is free to enter.

They were setting up for a dance production in the main turbine hall.  But there are may floors of art some stranger than others and some I was glad I had not paid for.

Opposite the Tate Modern is the Millennium bridge which is a foot bridge across the Thames leading to St Paul's Cathedral.

Millennium bridge 
If you time it right (which we did on another day) you can go to Evensong.  This is a short service which occurs every weekday at 5:00, not only do you save the 15.00 pound entrance (that's about $20.00 to you and me) but you get to hear the choir sing which is a wonderful experience. Also just after the Tate Modern is the reconstructed Globe Theatre which is well worth trying to see a play in or just go for a tour.

We walked back to my friends house (she lives about 15 minute walk from the London eye) and cooked the old standby lemon roast chicken with potatoes, it is quick easy and always a crowd pleaser.

After dinner Nancy and I went over to the local pub for a drink before resting our weary bones.  It was Derby day and London was full of news of the horse race in which the Queens horse had been outraced by a French horse.  At the Pub there was a group of race enthusiasts, one of them wearing an inflatable horse costume.

There was much hilarity as his buddies were timing him galloping down the street and as he ran along side random people walking down the street.

We had a great first day in London and I would highly recommend the walk along the Thames as good first day activity to get to see some of the sights of London and stretch the legs after the 9 hour flight.

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