Wandering around London in 72 hours (part I)

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I arrived to London on Wednesday evening (11 May). I stayed at a hotel at Norfolk square, Paddington so naturally the first thing I did in the morning was to visit the Paddington bear at the Paddington railway station (platform 1). I didn’t realize until the last evening that there was another statue of Paddington bear at the Norfolk square’s garden. Have you seen the Paddington bear movie? I remember going to the cinema with my husband on a Sunday morning in December a few years ago. We were the only adults there without the kids. Oops! Of course, the movie was based on a series of books written by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum and other artists. The first book was published back in 1958 but Paddington bear’s popularity is still very strong today.

Paddington bear, London

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Paddington bear at the Paddington station

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After taking some photos of the Paddington bear I hurried to buy an oyster card and to get on the appropriate tube line in order to be on time for my free visit to Sky Garden at the so called Walkie Talkie skyscraper in the City. The views are superb; especially the view of the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge and the City but you can only see a glimpse of the London Eye and the top of the Big Ben in the distance. But more about that in a separate post.

Sky garden, London

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the view from the Sky garden
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at the Sky garden-the Shard behind me:)

I enjoyed the great views of London and a delicious berry smoothie and then I intended to find the London Stone in Cannon street. The streets were filled with business people rushing past me while I looked for the iconic but easily missed London Stone. And there it was, or rather it wasn’t. I peered hard through the railings but I couldn’t see anything. Where has it gone? I was at the right place but somehow the stone wasn’t there. Never mind, I had to go on and visit the Museum of London.

While I was walking down busy streets of City of London I was again amazed at the juxtaposition of old and new and slightly annoyed by the omnipresent cranes and all the building going on. London is constantly changing and if several years passed by between your two visits to London you can easily find yourself looking up at the newly finished skyscrapers. I quickly ducked in a church to cool down for a bit because it was very warm for London (and humid!). I was surprised to find a proper cafe in a church (St Mary’s Aldermary) that had really beautiful interior and stunning ceiling. Somehow the whole thing felt wrong. I mean, I’ve seen gift shops and cafes in a church before but they were at the back of the church but this cafe was right at the entrance and it just looked like this church wasn’t really used anymore for worship but that it was just another place for profit making. Slightly saddened by what I had seen I walked on in the direction of St Paul’s cathedral. During my first visit to London I climbed the steps of the cathedral all the way to the top and enjoyed beautiful views of London. Now I just went passed it and took several photos.

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the place of the London Stone
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St Mary’s Aldermary church
St Paul's , London
St Paul’s

Then I entered another church with beautiful interior and unusual name (St Vedast alias Foster) on my way to the Museum of London. I’ve recently wrote about the best free museums in London and I’ve included the Museum of London on that list even though I haven’t visited it because I felt that it deserved its place on that list. And I wasn’t wrong! The museum showcases the history of London from the Roman period through the Medieval age and the Great Fire of 1666 all the way up to World War II and the present day. Once again, I will write more about it in a separate post.

Suffice to say, I found the London Stone in the Museum of London where it was temporarily placed due to renovation works going on at the shop above its usual place in the building’s wall in Cannon street. I came across several plaques on the walls of different modern buildings in the City of London commemorating a church or a building that once stood in that place but that was destroyed in the Great Fire. How interesting! I wanted to find St Bartholomew-the-Great church which is supposedly near the Museum of London but I just kept walking around the St Bartholomew’s hospital in circles until I asked some construction workers for directions. They told me that the church is under the scaffolding so I decided to give up on my search and to proceed in the direction of the Fleet street and the Royal Courts of Justice.

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St Vedast alias Foster church

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the London Stone in the Museum of London and ladders!?

At this point I was rather hungry so I stopped for a quick lunch and then continued with my sightseeing plans. However, then I started to experience some tummy problems which put a cloud on the rest of the day. I did succeed in seeing almost everything I had planned for that day but being sick for hours wasn’t fun. Before that I walked in in St Dunstan-in-the-west church which was completely empty and peaceful.

Afterwards I came across the sign for the Temple church so I went under an archway and found myself in front of Da Vinci Code’s church (I’m sure you’ve heard about that book/movie). I had a quick peek inside from the doorway because the church was strictly speaking closed for the public at that time but I couldn’t resist throwing a quick glance. Soon I was in front of the majestic building of the Royal Courts of Justice. It looks like a kind of a castle-slash-church to me. Really gorgeous building. Once again, I peeked inside but I saw a no photos sign so I decided not to go in (general public can enter actually).

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City of London
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another beautiful church ceiling
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Temple Church
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Royal Courts of Justice

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in front of the Royal Courts of Justice

Of course, just across the street is the Twinings tea flag-shop. But before I went in, I saw an entrance to Llyods’ bank that looked like Gringotts bank (the bank from the Harry Potter books/movies). I didn’t really drink much tea until my work experience in the UK. I only drank it when I was sick but now I drink it all the time. I drink green tea, herbal infusions, rooibos and of course the proper English tea. You can buy Twinings tea in Croatia too but just a few types and it’s a bit pricey. So, I abandoned all sense and went on a shopping spree in Twinings shop.

Just a quick confession: I have a thing for tea tin boxes. I bought the special edition Queen’s 90 birthday tea in a lovely blue tin box and some other ordinary tea boxes and then I also purchased individual tea bags (15) so I could have all different flavours. Bliss :). Also, I bought another huge tea tin box at the airport’s duty free shop when I was flying back home because I bought some cosmetics for friends and a perfume for myself and got 22% off on the next purchase so really I just had to buy something:a quick internal debate ensuited between some Cadbury chocolate, Walkers biscuits, Fortnum & Mason gorgeous tin box (biscuits) before I decided to buy some more tea. After my shopping spree in Twinings I got really sick and decided to sit for a while in a nearby church (St Clement Danes, the Royal Air Forces church). Again a church with stunning interior. After some rest I continued on foot towards the Trafalgar square.

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Gringotts bank? no!:)

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inside tea shop Twinings

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St Clement Danes

I passed by the Somerset house and the King’s college before I needed to sit again. I first saw the Somerset house in December in 2009 when I was going to Madrid via London. There was an ice-skating ring and a huge Christmas tree. Then I walked by the luxurious Savoy hotel and the Charing cross station before I came to St Martin-in-the-Fields church across the Trafalgar square. Now, I read about that church on Travels and Tomes blog and on Hand luggage only blog so I wanted to go in and see the unusual East Window for myself. There was a quartet practicing for a recital that night so I sat for a bit and listened and admired the wonky looking window which undoubtedly represents a cross.

My plan was to go in the Cafe in the crypt (the church’s crypt) but since I was feeling sick I abandoned that plan and just sat in the church for a while. Then I joined the hustle and the bustle at the Trafalgar square and watched shortly the street performers. I missed the smallest police station which is also at one corner of the Trafalgar square but I thought I’d come back the next day and look for it (I didn’t; I read about in on A bit about Britain blog). I didn’t feel well enough to walk to Big Ben now (after all I was walking already all day long from the Sky garden to the Trafalgar square) so I just continued towards Piccadilly and soon after I returned to the hotel by underground.

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St Martin-in-the-Fields church and its East Window

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at Trafalgar square
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hello from London!:)

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But my day didn’t finish. I rested for a while and ate some yogurt to help my poor tummy and then I walked to Bayswater from my hotel. It was a short walk (only 15 mins). After all Paddington and Bayswater areas are next to each other. My best friend and I stayed in Bayswater during our fist trip to London so we grew sentimental about the whole neighbourhood and every time we visit London we try to pop in in our pub in Bayswater for a drink. I missed my best friend on this trip. I was sick the whole afternoon on the first day in London (no, I’m not pregnant just an annoying tummy issue) and the fact that I was in London alone without her to share in my excitement about London somehow made me sad.

My husband could have come with me on this trip but since he really isn’t into London that much I decided to go by myself. And it was a great decision actually. The next two days were utterly perfect (and I wasn’t sick anymore) so I’m very glad that I didn’t let others talk me out of going by myself. Of course, it would have been great if my best friend had come with me too but you see she’s got a very good excuse why she couldn’t join me:she’s recently had a baby:). So I’m an auntie Tanja now 🙂

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lovely London streets

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p.s. more posts coming soon but bear with me since I’m currently extra busy and I’m off to another business trip to France next week! 🙂 but photos from my previous post can show you a bit what I did on the two other days in London

 

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82 thoughts on “Wandering around London in 72 hours (part I)

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  16. Faithie

    Love that Paddington bear statue, I didn’t know they had one ! And loved the movie too ❤ Btw great photos, I can’t wait to visit that Sky Garden next time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. BBQboy

    I’m impressed by the views at the Sky Garden, nothing like that existed when I was in London 30 years ago…
    Sorry you got sick, you have to do as Londoners do – skip the food and stick to a pint 🙂
    Frank (bbqboy)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wander Mum

    I’m impressed at how much you did – especially as you were feeling sick. Really love your photos. I got married at St Martins-in-the-Fields so know the east window well. I didn’t know about the nearby smallest police station though! #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sorry you weren’t feeling well! But glad you were better for the rest of your visit. I’m not sure if you noticed, but the little road at The Savoy is the only place in the UK where cars drive on the right 🙂 I think I learned that fact when I learned about the Trafalgar Police Station, along with learning there is a hidden Roman Bath (which was along your walking path near Temple).

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  21. I’m glad that you got to see the Sky Garden, it’s lovely. As for the cafe in the church, they’re very frequent here since they fund all the upkeep of the buildings so it’s pretty useful

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  22. What a shame you were ill but I’m glad it didn’t stop you seeing SO much – and I hadn’t realised the London Stone had been moved temporarily either, but what good luck you found it at the next stop. I must get back to the Museum of London again soon, it’s been a while since I was there. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

  23. aandj8804

    Wow! You did so much! I’m amused at the Paddington Bear statues and would love to see the views from the Sky Garden! It looks amazing! #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

  24. You covered so much Tanja! I absolutely love tea too but even after living here most of my life, I actually only got into it in the last 5 years or so and now I’m obsessed with all kinds of varieties of it but would you believe, I still haven’t been to the Twinings Tea Shop! I went to lunch at Somerset House on Sunday when the sun was out, I often forget how beautiful it is around there. Looking forward to seeing your Sky Garden post and your other updates 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  26. Wow, that sounds like a quite a bit to do in one day! We have done many of those things but still have so many left to do! We have not visited the Museum of London for instance or been to the Sky Garden. Looks like good views from the Sky Garden, but it looks like the views we had from the Shard are probably better, have you been to compare? So many more places to go on future visits:)

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  27. Tanja you must have walked miles and miles to bring us this wonderful tour of London. It has been many years since I was in my homeland’s Capital and I enjoyed this nostalgic visit very much.
    Thanks for stopping by Normandy Life today, hope your business trip to my adopted country (France) went well.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great post, thank you for sharing with #TheWeeklyPostcard. I have not yet been to UK but want to see St Martin’s in the Field church as where I am, in Perth, Western Australia we have a Bell Tower which houses 18 bells, 12 bells of them from the church. Another point of interest, I grew up in a Perth suburb called Bayswater so would also be sentimental about visiting. We had a great pub too.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. That’s a lot to do in one day – I feel tired just reading it! Kudos to you for managing to see so much and on an upset tummy, no less! Fleet Street is like my home in London as my boyfriend has a flat just off it, so seeing those pictures of it made me smile. Home sweet home 🙂

    I’ve been through Paddington station many times – mostly rushing to and from the Heathrow Express, and have never seen the Paddington bear stuff! Shall go look for it next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks:) I tend to pack a lot into a day whenever I travel, I just feel that I need to use every single minute of the day seeing things:)Paddington bear is at platform 1, under the clock:)

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m a bit like you. I loved the Royal Inns of Justice and even more I loved the Twinings shop across the road. I bought several tins that I have y mother-in-law fill up for me every time she comes over to Australia from London each year. #theweeklypostcard

    Liked by 1 person

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