Today was one of our many wanders into London visiting places we’ve never been before and even ticking something off my bucket list. Our destination was the building known as the Walkie Talkie, or to be correct, 20 Fenchurch St. We got up very early for a day off so that we could go and have breakfast at the bar in the Sky Garden – London’s highest public gardens. Imagine our horror when we awoke to very thick fog which was causing havoc across London including cancelled flights from Heathrow – not the weather you want when you’re going somewhere where part of the attraction is the view.
The building is in a really built up area, being the business district of London, so it’s really difficult to get a photo of it. The above photo was taken after we’d left when the fog was starting to clear.
The entrance to the bar and the gardens is on the 35th floor – the lift ride is an ear popping experience and very quick. We got there at 9.45am so it was fairly quiet still, but by the time we left two hours later there were lots and lots of tourists around – though the view wasn’t much better. Here’s a few shots of the space we were in for our breakfast.
|My gorgeous husband|
|At first glance this sofa looks lovely and snuggly, but under the cushions is a hard plastic seat – little bit of a shock when you drop down onto it.|
|The inside of my jam jar lid – a sentiment to live by.|
There is an outside balcony so of course we went out to take a picture of the astounding view:
|Don’t adjust your screens – this is the view of the fog.|
The gardens are a little reminiscent of Australia as there are a lot of ferns – beautiful.
As well as the bar there are two restaurants within the sky garden, so if you fancy somewhere special for a meal then I’m sure these would fit the bill. After we’d walked around the gardens we sat and had another drink hoping that the fog would clear a bit, but these pictures are the best we could get.
|This is what the view would be like on a good day – picture of one of the promotional screens.|
We left the sky garden and headed for a church we could see from above, but my internal navigation was a bit off and we ended up going the wrong way – bonus was that it took us to Leadenhall Market which is a beautiful old piece of London which dates back to the 14th century.
|Shoe shine – a very old fashioned view in a setting that has probably had shoe shining for hundreds of years.|
We corrected our (my) slight detour and found the church we had seen – St Mary-At-Hill, church for Billingsgate. Records show that there has been a church on this site since the 12th century, and it has survived three fires, starting with the Great Fire in 1666, and also survived the blitz. Due to all of this the inside is quite plain, but still very beautiful.
And then we found another old church – St Magnus the Martyr which formed part of the approach to the old London Bridge. As we went in the bells were being rung for mass, so we didn’t stay too long as I didn’t want to be disrespectful.
Walking along the Thames is so different on a week day than on a weekend like we normally do. The path is so much busier, especially with people out running during their lunch breaks – way too many energetic people. Also, lots of people from the surrounding offices sit along the path eating their lunch or having a ‘fag’ break.
|Loved this notice outside a restaurant.|
|Scary looking fish on the bottom of a lamp post.|
|Beautiful patch of garden that we passed.|
|Silver birch trees – so many patches of flora in London.|
|This is the Queenhithe Dock Heritage Timeline Mosaic which was installed in 2014.|
|It features all the history of the area but the bit I liked was the rats that made quite a few appearances – poor rats, they get blamed for everything.|
Now for the item I ticked off my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to go mudlarking along the river Thames and today we got to do it. Mudlarks were people in the 1700’s and 1800’s who earned a wage by looking for items they could sell along the river banks – today it’s more like my other favourite pastime, beach-combing. As long as you only pick up surface finds then you don’t need a licence, but if you’re going to dig around in the mud then you do. We found lots of bits of pottery, river glass, and clay pipe stems. You may note that I’m not exactly dressed for mudlarking, but I couldn’t resist when we found the steps down to the foreshore.
Leaving the city of London you go past the dragon statues, which mark the boundaries of the inner business London with the outer city of Westminster.
On our way home we went through my favourite tube station, Westminster – it’s a very industrial looking space but I love it.
So that was our exploration of another area of London – hope you enjoyed it and that it inspires you to explore your piece of the world wherever that may be.
Until next time, keep smiling, stay safe, and try and tick something off your own bucket list this month.
Pamela and Ken
P.S: Final shot of the Walkie Talkie.