We woke to clear blue skies and sunshine but needed to wrap up warm on this November morning. After checking out of our Travelodge, we left our luggage and made our way to Greenwich taking the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Canary Wharf. Please remember if using the DLR that there are no ticket barriers but passengers still need to touch in and out on the yellow pads provided to avoid over charging.
Our first stop in Greenwich was for breakfast in the Gate Clock Pub then, after eating, we were ready for a walk passing the Cutty Sark and the magnificent old buildings which form the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren between 1696 and 1712 and used originally as the Royal Hospital for Seamen. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the grounds and some of the buildings being open to visitors.
After strolling along this section of the Thames Path awhile we turned inland and had a little look round the indoor Greenwich Market which is the only historic London market set within a World Heritage area. The market consists mostly of food stalls, arts, crafts, vintage fashion and bric a brac and is a popular tourist spot becoming extremely crowded at weekends.
Leaving Greenwich we headed by Underground to Trafalgar Square and from there we walked to the Embankment, crossed the footbridge over the Thames and enjoyed a stroll along the south bank of the river to the Tate Modern museum of Modern and Contemporary Art located opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral at Bankside.
The vast ground floor Turbine Hall is hosting an exhibition entitled ‘Anywhen’. It’s a site specific exhibition that changes throughout the day and is continually evolving over a period of six months. Whilst we were observing, some visitors were laid on the floor and a series of white planks slowly came down from the ceiling creating a partially opened carton encasing them. I don’t really understand how this is art but perhaps some of you might!
The main reason for visiting Tate Modern this afternoon was to visit the new Switch Building extension which opened in June at a cost of £260 m. This building can be accessed by walking through the large gift shop and then by taking the lift to the 10th floor visitors can go out onto the new viewing platform.
This open viewing platform has 360 degree views of the London skyline, the Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Moving round to the rear side of the building we were surprised to be able to see right into the glass fronted living rooms of the luxury Neo Bankside complex apartments. Tate Modern had affixed signs requesting visitors to respect their neighbours privacy but we could see that many visitors were taking photos of the apartment interiors. Along with the Sky Garden which we visited on Day 2, this viewing platform provides some panoramic views of the city and admission to both the museum and the viewing area is free of charge. We will certainly return again, hopefully on a sunnier day next time!
Continuing along the river, we enjoyed pizzas at the Bankside branch of Pizza Express which has window seats overlooking the river on its upper floor. We then made our way on foot to London Bridge station from where we were able to return to our hotel via Waterloo to collect our luggage. The Travelodge at Clapham Junction is in a good, central position and trains depart to both Victoria and Waterloo at approximately 3 minute intervals making it easily accessible to the Underground system. It’s also a good base for visiting south west London as we have been able to do this weekend.
I returned home on the 7.00 pm train out of Kings Cross Station after enjoying yet another fun filled long weekend in the capital.
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