London Stopover

In 2015, I spent a couple of days in London during a brief trip to Europe with my daughter. The photos here are from this that trip. We enjoyed one drizzly day and one sunny day.

London street with Big Ben in the Background

Rainy Day Cycling

On the rainy day, we took advantage of the city’s bicycle share scheme and got a couple of bikes from a Santander Cycles docking station near our hotel in Kensington.

One of the great things about London is the large number of landmarks that are close enough to get to easily, but also spread out enough that no one area gets completely overwhelmed with tourists.

We cycled on paths though a series of adjacent parks—Kensington Park, Hyde Park, Green Park—went past Buckingham Palace and through St. James’ Park and then on to the Mall, the Palace of Westminster and the Royal House Guards Parade.

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
Members of the Queen’s Life Guard passing through Wellington Arch

We crossed the River Thames and then got on the cycle path on the south side of the river. We passed by Shakespeare’s Globe before crossing the Thames at London Bridge and going to the Tower of London

St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard & the River Thames
St. Paul’s Cathedral & the River Thames

We then doubled back to the City of London and visited St. Paul’s Cathedral. We finished up by cycling along a nice path on some relatively quiet residential streets and parked our bikes by the Stepney Green Station.

The Royal Exchange, the Shard and the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe)
Heading to St. Paul’s Cathedral
Statue at St. Paul’s Cathedral

While cycling, I recorded some footage using a tiny digital toy camera—a Digital Harinezumi 2—so you can see the basic route we took during the first minute of this video (the second half of the video features a gondola ride in Venice some cycling in Florence.

Notting Hill

At that time, my daughter was keen on keeping her Instagram account active, so we visited Notting Hill to take pictures of the colorful houses there. The main thoroughfare—Portobello Road—was packed with people who had come for the shops, cafés and market stalls, so we mainly stuck to the side streets.

Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London
Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London
Jade: Notting Hill, London

The area is a popular site for buskers. I am not sure if the Mad Hatter and Rabbit in the photo below realized just how terrifying they looked.

Scary looking buskers at Notting Hill
Buskers, Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London

Decades ago, I had lived for a few months near that area (but closer to Notting Hill Gate station) , so the visit brought back memories. At that time I worked at Harrod’s as a laborer and at a hotel near Bayswater Station.

Shoreditch & St. Pancras

Young women in industrial masks by ZABOU: Street Art in Shoreditch, London

We met up with friend who took us sightseeing and shopping in Shoreditch before going to dinner near St. Pancras station. Shoreditch has gone through a number of makeovers—Victorian-era slum, 1960s gangters hangout, an alternative fashion hub in the 1970s and 1980s, a magnet for artists and musicians in the 1990s. It’s difficult to keep up! I suppose now it is firmly in a gentrification phase. IN any case, the area is well known for its street art. I have a separate article on the street art there:

Butterfly ammunition: Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Shoreditch. At the bottom right, is a Santander Bicycle dock, similar to the one we got our bikes from when we went cycling.
:Street Art in Shoreditch, London
Bubble football: Shoreditch, London

While shopping in Shoreditch we visited Spitalfields Market and. After visiting Shoreditch, we went to dinner in St Pancras, which has a beautiful railways station—St Pancras International. I like the curved roof and the combination of glass, brick and steel.

St Pancras International Station, London
Clocks at St Pancras
St Pancras International Station & (in the background) the Shard, London
Regent’s Canal, St Pancras

The West End

During one evening we took in a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the Gielgud theater in the West End. It was an interesting adaptation of the novel, with the show featuring a lot of high-tech visual effects to evoke the state of mind of the main character, an autistic teenager.

The Gielgud Theatre

Earlier we had dinner at the Wild Food Café at Neal’s Yard, a colorful courtyard near Covent Garden in London’s West End.

Cafes and shops in Neal’s Yard, near Covent Garden

Outside the National Gallery

We also visited the area around Picadilly Circus (the photo at the top of the page) and saw Trafalgar Square (with Nelson’s Column) and the National Gallery. Outside the National Gallery an artist was drawing in chalk on the pavement.

Chalk art on the pavement outside the National Gallery, London
Chalk art on the pavement outside the National Gallery, London
I am an invisible person
only those who look can see
Can you?
See yourself?
A person?
But who?


For higher definition (e.g., 2048 x 1365) images, you can go to the full galleries at:

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