Assorted notes on London

The Thames, from Blackfriars
  • Normally we take a rolling case with us to London. This time we packed lightly and ensured that all of our clothes fitted into a rucksack (for me) and a shoulder bag (for Christine). This meant that we could use lockers and cloakrooms in the various museums that we visited, which were free or cost considerably less than the Left Luggage facilities at stations.
  • For a nice view of the River Thames, go to Blackfriars station. It has recently been rebuilt, and now spans the Thames with entrances on both the north and south banks, however more importantly big glass windows have been provided. The photo taken above was taken from Platform 1, looking east, and frames Tower Bridge really well.
  • We saw a pair of urban foxes. They didn’t make any of these noises. It’s not the first time I’ve seen an urban fox but I hadn’t been so close to one before.
  • On our second night in London we stayed at the Pullman Hotel on Euston Road – roughly halfway between St Pancras and Euston stations. It’s not a hotel we’d normally be able to afford but it was definitely worth staying at (certainly better than our Friday night hotel). You also get brilliant views of London from the upper floors, and you don’t need to have a room there to use the lifts.
  • We had a mosey out to the Thames Barrier, which as of 2005 is much easier to get to thanks to the Docklands Light Railway. Alight at Pontoon Dock, and then have a nice stroll through Thames Barrier Park which is in itself quite a nice place.
  • The Museum of London is well worth visiting. It’s free and offers an interesting history of the city, from early settlers to the present day. There’s even a small collection of items from last year’s Olympic Games. We didn’t have chance to visit the Museum of London Docklands this time though.
  • The Wellcome Collection looked interesting but most of it is closed until the spring, so we didn’t spend much time there. The bookshop is excellent though.
  • The British Library also has an exhibition of interesting texts in its archives, including two of the four surviving copies of Magna Carta, which will be 800 years old in a couple of years’ time. There’s enough there to kill time for an hour or so.