Day 1.  London City Break

I never tire of a few days in London so recently I managed to fit in a short break to the capital.  Travelling by train took just under three hours from my home in the north of England enabling me to arrive into the city around lunchtime.

Piccadilly, London
Piccadilly, London

My first stop was at Piccadilly, a short hop on the underground.  Piccadilly Circus is the beating heart of London, a vibrant square that’s always crowded and where traffic moves extremely slowly.  The iconic Piccadilly Lights advertising screens are currently out of action whilst a new, single screen is installed.  The new screen due to be operational in November 2017, will be the largest digital advertising board in Europe, retaining its curved style.  Whilst the installation takes place, advertising banners are covering the scaffolding.

Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace, London

After pausing for a quick lunch I continued along Piccadilly to Green Park which is one of the Royal Parks and a pleasant open space in the centre of London.  Walking through the park the path leads to The Mall and Buckingham Palace.  Returning to Green Park station along yet another path I noticed deckchairs set out on the grass.  A few were in use but at £1.60 to relax on one for an hour it wasn’t surprising that many were unoccupied.

Canary Wharf Station, London Docklands
Canary Wharf Station, London Docklands

Moving on, I took the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf in London’s docklands and on leaving the station I paused a few minutes to watch some Filipino dancers who were helping to promote tourism in the Philippines.  I was asked to take part in a free prize draw for a week’s holiday in Palawan so I gladly entered my details, I never win anything but there’s always a first time, one can dream.

Philippines Tourist Board Event, Canary Wharf
Philippines Tourist Board Event

My tour of Canary Wharf started at Reuters Plaza, recognisable because of its series of clocks, an art installation entitled Six Public Clocks.  Konstantin Grcic’s clocks were the winning design in a 1999 competition and were based on the iconic Swiss railway clock but here each of the twelve faces displays a single and different number.

Six Public Clocks, Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf
Six Public Clocks, Reuters Plaza

From Reuters Plaza I walked along to Canada Square to take a look in the delightful Crossrail roof garden, a calm oasis above the yet to be opened Crossrail Station.  The roof garden is free to visit and is open daily.  It features a self watering roof with the planting reflecting the docklands heritage as a trading centre with plants native to the countries visited by the ships.

Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf
Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf

I then met up with my son and we ate dinner in the nearby Ledger Building which was constructed in 1803 to the designs of the West India Dock Company.  The building was used to house the ledgers from all the various departments of the docks.  It remained in use as the Port of London offices until the 1970’s and has since been transformed into a J.D. Wetherspoon public house.

JD Wetherspoon, The Ledger Building, Canary Wharf
The Ledger Building, Canary Wharf

After enjoying steak and chips we caught the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Prince Regent which was then about a 7 minute walk to our hotel the Ibis Styles London Excel.  Directly opposite the hotel stands the Custom House DLR station but this is undergoing major renovations and is closed for 11 months necessitating a slightly longer walk.

Ibis Styles Hotel, Custom House, London
Ibis Styles Hotel, Custom House, London

Check in was quick and the receptionist kindly gave us extra supplies for our tea maker which was very useful.  After enjoying cups of tea and a KitKat we felt tired and it was not long before we were tucked up in our comfortable bed fast asleep.

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131 thoughts on “Day 1.  London City Break

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  8. After many trips to London, we finally made it to Canary Wharf in 2017. It was a Sunday, so no office hubbub which was kind of nice. We enjoyed the Crossrail roof garden. The DLR was undergoing works the day we were there, so it was a bit of a challenge going further out, but we took the bus and walked to the Thames Flood Barrier and then spent time at Greenwich. There is always something new to do in London. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. And here i am, reading a bit further into your blog 🙂 I’m jealous that you’re only a three-hour train ride from London! I was once in Cambridge for a research stay for a few weeks, and would ride into The City every single weekend. This is currently quite a bit above my budget, but i can’t say i miss it — particularly the street food, and the variety of rice waffle flavors, including my very favorite — Marmite!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your comment on my recent visit to London. It’s good that you had the opportunity to undertake some research in Cambridge and be able to take the train down to London at weekends. Hopefully you will get an opportunity to return before too long.

      Liked by 1 person

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