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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
Earlier we had dinner at the Wild Food Café at Neal’s Yard, a colorful courtyard near Covent Garden in London’s West End.
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.
For higher definition (e.g., 2048 x 1365) images, you can go to the full galleries at: