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Archive for October 13th, 2010

As you will have noticed from yesterday’s post I went #walkabout through London again on Monday afternoon! 🙂 boring of me to say this again, but……London is my all time favourite place to be and I enjoy discovering new things each time I go walkabout! 🙂

The reason for this particular excursion was of course to see the sheep in Savile Row… that was fun, albeit not as exciting as the elephants back in 2006 and many of the other fab events that London hosts on a regular basis.  So going by the indicator on the map on the Timeout website I headed towards Oxford Circus, which if the hustle and bustle is anything to go by…..is a real circus! Some time back the Mayor very sensibly approved a scheme to make the area more easily traversed (The redesigned Oxford Circus, which opened November 2nd 2009, after a two-year, £5m makeover, contains two big innovations. As well as crossing the intersection laterally, pedestrians now have a 30-second window when all traffic stops and they can go at a diagonal along a giant X marked into the junction with metal studs. Known to road engineers, slightly alarmingly, as a “pedestrian scramble”, it is modelled on the famously frantic junction adjoining Shibuya station in central Tokyo.)

Oxford Circus London

Following the general direction on the website map I passed John Lewis where I noticed a fab wall sculpture ‘Winged Figure’

Winged Figure - John Lewis on Oxford Street

After a fair amount of walking and realising that evidently Savile Row was not where they said it was I headed back towards Oxford Circus and decided to start at the top end of Regent Street and make my way down till I found what I was looking for 🙂 

I absolutely love these new direction finder maps dotted around London

In so doing, I finally got to visit a church that had been on my list of ‘places to visit’ for ages – All Souls Church, Langham Place. All Souls Church is unique as the last surviving church built by John Nash, who also developed nearby Regent’s Park and Regent Street, and was completed in December 1823 at a final cost of £18,323-10s-5d, and opened in November 1824.

All Souls Church, Langham Place, London

Eventually I found my objective and thoroughly enjoyed the brief encounter.

sheep in Savile Row 🙂

Finding at myself at the end of Savile Street it was an easy decision as to where my next stop would be; just to the right I had spied what appeared to be a fascinating building that I had not seen before! Cool!

The Haunch of Venison....I know!!! what a name and what a fab building

After exploring the perimeter and being curious I ventured inside….OhMyWord!!! It is lovely!  In contrast to the exterior which is old and quite grubby with the buildup of debris over the years, the interior is just fabulous!

a sweeping staircase leading up from the foyer

I will write more about this fabulous gallery in another post on my 3 Days In London.info blog.   Suffice to say it is going to be added to my list of great places to visit. After a most satisfying visit looking at artwork that leaves your mouth agape, I then made my way back to Regent Street and decided to continue on to Piccadilly Circus.  Enroute I passed Burlington Arcade; Burlington Arcade was Britain’s very first shopping Arcade, opened in 1819 to great acclaim and now recognised as an historic and architectural masterpiece

Burlington Arcade - Piccadilly, London

I strolled through the arcade enjoying the goods on display.  Burlington Arcade is locked up at night and boasts it’s own Police Force, independent of the London Metropolitan Force.  Exiting into Piccadilly I noticed that across the road was Fortnum and Mason, due a visit!  But before that I was totally intrigued by a buidling on my left that certainly deserved further exploration! 

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London

Burlington House was originally a private Palladian mansion expanded in the mid 19th century after being purchased by the British government. The main building is at the northern end of the courtyard and houses the Royal Academy.  Again this bears further exploration! From there I then crossed over for a visit to Fortnum and Mason

Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly, London

Whoa!! Beautiful, beautiful.  The window dressings are gorgeous and the shelves inside groan with delicious goods, from the four corners of the planet as well goodies for the more macarbe occassions we celebrate.

halloween comes to Fortnum and Mason

From there I visted the Piccadilly Arcade: The Piccadilly Arcade has always offered traditional quality, luxury and style. The same is true today as it was in 1910, with a unique blend of specialist shops.

Piccadilly Arcade, between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street

As I wandered through the arcade I was whisked back into my childhood by a window display –

Toy Soldiers!!!!

My Grandfather had a fabulous collection of toy soldiers and such like when I was a kid and I remember being entranced by the little characters, and this was a trip down memory lane for me!!! I stepped into the store to take my fill of the display. The proprietor of  ‘The Armory of St James’, was happy for me to take photos. 🙂  I had noticed at the end of the arcade, resplendent in the sunlight, the statue of a ‘dandy’….I am simply unable to bypass a statue without stopping to find out who and when!   I then made the acquaintance of ‘Beau Brummel’ 1778-1840 and the quote: “to be truly elegant, one should not be noticed”. 

Beau Brummel 1778 - 1840. to be found in Jermyn Street, St James's, London

Turning left I walked passed Princes Arcade (for which I have been unable to find much historical info)

Princes Arcade - east of Piccadilly Arcade

Princes Arcade is adjacent to St James’s Church on Piccadilly so that was my next stop! St James’s Church is one of Wren’s Churches; The foundation stone was laid on 3 April 1676 by the Earl of St. Albans and the Bishop of London and in Robert Hooke’s Diary for this date is an entry — ‘St. Albans Cornerstone layd’— which presumably refers to the event.

St James's Church - Piccadilly; a Wren church

the church is really lovely inside and imbues a sense of peace and calm.  I found a beautiful marble font

beautiful marble carved font

The church boasts a magnificent organ that towers over the interior

the organ in St James's church

By now I was famished and parched……like being in the ruddy desert!!! So without further ado I set off to find somewhere to have a cuppa!  I spied with my little eye…..

Costa Coffee!!! cuppachino and an almond croissant...yummy 🙂

Fully satiated and raring to go, I set off to walk the end bit of Regent Street and explore Waterloo Place where I made the acquaintance of Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

she stands in front of a magnificent memorial to the Crimean War

memorial to the Crimean War

as well as many other fascinating memorials and statues….well worth a visit for a look into history.  

memorial to Field Marshall Lord Clyde

 There is a very pretty little park nearby and some gorgeous buildings with interesting facades. For cycling enthusiasts there is one of the Barclays Cycle hire stands 

Barclays cycle hire

From there I skipped down the stairs past the column that supports a statue of Frederick Duke of York, 2nd son of George III that presides high on his loft with a fab view of St James’s Park and surrounding area. 

Frederick, Duke of York. 2nd son of George III

 There is a doorway at the base and I am curious to know if the top of the column is accessible….the view must be phenomenal.  Must find out some time!  A short walk took me to St James’s park which is looking so gorgeous…the weather was fabulous and it almost feels like spring rather than autumn where the citizens of our fair city and tourists alike were making the most of the sunshine

St Jame's Park just off The Mall

There is a really lovely memorial on the corner of St James’s park 

memorial on the corner of St James's Park

as you walk towards Admiralty Arch.    A short walk then took me past the Police Memorial,

Police Memorial adjacent to the Citadel near Horse-Guards parade

 past Capt. James Cook’s statue, through Admiralty Arch and past Trafalgar Square which is really just gorgeous in the sunshine

Trafalgar Square

by now my time was running short so it was time to head home.  Enroute to Charing Cross station I walked past Craven Street (where I discovered Benjamin Franklin’s house a few weeks earlier), so nipped down the steps for a quick photo.  And another of the Barclays bicycle stands are right there! There are also some really lovely modern buildings in the area and I was particularly entranced by this one

beautiful day reflected in a beautiful building

then a short walk later and I was at Charing Cross station

Charing Cross Station

and so to home……………

directional signboards inside the station

what a marvellous day.  I am particularly impressed with the directional signboards that now dot the city, they prove to be very helpful when you are just not quite sure where a particular road is, and also give you an approximate distance in time.

direction finder map giving you an idea of where you are in relation to where you want to go

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