I’ve been using up my annual holiday and taken this week off; I went up and saw my parents for a few days, which was lovely, and I also decided to take advantage that getting to London is a lot cheaper and easier from East Grinstead than down on the coast. I fancied a day of wandering around and feeling all smug and cultured, so off I went.
A bit of background; London is a great city. I worked there for five years though, and all that commuting back and forth meant that a bit of the city’s charm became lost on me. But it’s been nearly three years since then, and now I feel I can once again enjoy London as a tourist, not as a worker.
Many photos imminent, so consider thyself justly warned and continue if thou wishest.
I got into London Waterloo just before 11. I was planning to hit up the National Gallery and the British Museum, and Waterloo is way closer to both of those than Victoria. I have no problems with the Underground, but it was a nice day and I was in the mood for a stroll. I know it may sound silly, but I love how grand the entrance for Waterloo is.
After fighting my way through a thicket of selfie-sticks, I took an obligatory shot of Parliament and Benjamin.
I lived in Vauxhall for about a year, and I used to walk along South Bank to and from work which means I saw this spiky bastard twice per day. If only there was a way of knowing what time I took this photo.
One thing I love about London is that there are awesome, beautiful statues everywhere. These four are all along Embankment.
Lots of people have a misconception that London is one big, dirty grey sprawl. This is Embankment Gardens, tucked away all shy and humble, quietly proving them wrong.
But I wasn’t here for gardens! I was here for CULTURE. Up from Embankment, down the Strand, into Trafalgar Square, and boom! National Gallery, my friends. By the way, did you know that entrance to nearly all of London’s museums and galleries is totally free? If you didn’t, you’re welcome.
Nelson’s a right pain in the arse to get in frame.
Then because I am a giggling man-child I wandered round the gallery and made up new captions for some pictures.
I then headed up towards the British Museum for more CULTURE. As the weather had picked up, I sat outside and ate lunch (I brought a packed lunch because I’m cool and poor like that).
I bloody love the British Museum. I was in there twice as long as the National Gallery, weaving between school trips and tourist groups. The British Museum is great because there’s a little bit of everything in there; I generally zip through museums until I see something that grabs me, but you could easily spend a whole day in there.
It might look a bit dusty and stuffy on the outside, but inside it’s really airy and spacious. Like a TARDIS, but with more Japanese tourists.
I also took what I thought at the time was a decent picture of the magnificent George III Library (a huge room made out of brass, dark wood, and solid CULTURE) but alas it was blurry and out of focus when I checked it much later! Boo!
I have a standing joke with my mother that the British Museum has an excess of pots.
It was getting late and I wanted to beat the post-work rush hour so I started to head back. With two pit-stops…
Forbidden Planet is tucked away at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue. It is a wicked evil place that exists only to vacuum money out of my wallet in exchange for shiny trinkets. I bought the latest Sabbat Worlds anthology (£4 mark down as well) to tide me over while I wait for Dan “The Man” Abnett to grace us with The Warmaster.
The money I’ve spent over the years in Forbidden Planet? Double it for Orc’s Nest. Just down the street from the Planet and hidden away down a side-street, this is a tiny but excellent store for all types of tabletop gaming. Forbidden Planet is great for comics, books, and toys, but Orc’s Nest the place to go for board games, miniatures, dice, paints, cards, RPGs, and so on.
I decided to cut through Covent Garden; after all, why not? It’s incredibly pretty.
Look! Look how fucking pretty that is! There’s classy shops and a little cafe and a string quartet and AAARGH I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
A last slog across Waterloo Bridge, and I was on the train heading home, exhausted. All in all, a pretty good way to spend six hours. And I didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this great city has to offer, and, if I hadn’t had popped into the Planet or Orc’s Nest, the only money I would’ve spent on the day out would’ve been for my train ticket.
So there. That’s my little love letter to London. I thought that my affections for the city had cooled, but I found that I’ve still got a soft spot for the mad and beautiful old girl.
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
– Samuel Johnson