On Thursday I made another day trip to London – not to visit anyone this time, just to potter around and be a tourist. I had a lot of fun but it felt like a long day – next time I need to pace myself a bit better and go to places where I can stop and sit down for a while. I wish I had taken my pedometer, as I walked an extraordinary distance during the course of my visit.
First up was St Paul’s cathedral, which was well worth the (quite steep) admission fee of £11. It is absolutely beautiful on the inside, and you could look at it all day and still not manage to take it all in. I was lucky enough to be in there while the London Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing for a performance – their music provided a great atmosphere in which to explore the building. (I was also lucky enought to be able to sit in the cafe in the crypt eating a vanilla bean ice cream – I think that’s the first time I’ve eaten ice cream in a crypt…)
I walked over the River Thames to Tate Modern, and to an extent, it was the wrong place to visit after exploring a cathedral. While I don’t claim to be a big fan of modern art, I generally do like looking at some of it. However, seeing it in such close proximity to the ceilings and other decorations at St Paul’s made much of what Tate Modern had to offer look a bit lazy and simple – so I didn’t stay there very long. I walked along the Thames towards Westminster, where I admired Big Ben on the day before the 150th birthday of the bell itself.
From that point on, it was retail rather than culture: I went to Selfridges, John Lewis, and Liberty. The kitchen section at Selfridges had lots of goodies that caught my eye, and I treated myself to a Krispy Kreme donut (while marvelling at the retired Japanese couple in front of me in the queue, who bought three dozen!). In Liberty I saw plenty of nice fabrics, but the ones I liked best are available elsewhere, without paying Liberty prices, so I came away empty-handed. I’ll be back though!
I’ve put some of my photos from the day on Flickr.