St Dunstan in the East

London has some beautiful old buildings, some that are hundreds of years old. One such building that I visited recently was St Dunstan in the East which was a church built in 1100. It was badly damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and then again in the second World War, after which instead of repairing, was turned into a public garden. Over time nature has grown around and over the stunning, ornate walls, doorways and windows making the view look almost enchanting and something out of a romantic fairy tale.

The steeple built by Sir Christopher Wren has survived and stands tall over the garden, and the rest of the building built in a gothic style looks even more amazing as it has been weathered by time and the elements.

The vibrant green leaves of the shrubs and climbers create a drastic contrast against the huge, grey stone walls as well as dampening the noise a little making it easy to believe that you’re the only one around.

This garden is tucked away in the centre of London and surrounded by modern buildings looks almost surreal. Once you’re within the walls though you feel transported to an older time, and the tranquil feel of the place along with the stunning architecture and nature make this a spot that I would love to come back to.

Southend escape

Summer in the UK this year hasn’t been too great, we had some hotter weather in July but since then its been cooler and wetter, so in light of this I wanted to make the most of any sunny days we did have and as I’ve been wanting to go to coast for a while, I picked the nearest, most easiest one to get to and went down for the day.
Southend on Sea isn’t one of the most prettiest beaches in the South East of England but it has lots of amusements and a long stretch of sand to enjoy. The view upon arriving was lovely; clear blue skies and a warm, bright day.

Southend

Southend has the longest pier in the world and I thought this would be a good place to start. The pier is 1.3 miles long and you can either walk down or take the tram that runs back and forth. I decided to walk and see if I needed a ride back if I was too tired. The view along the pier was beautiful, and I really enjoyed the walk, although it was a bit cooler with the sea breeze becoming stronger as I got further out. There were also lots of benches along the way in case you wanted to stop for a rest or just enjoy the lovely view.

On my walk up I saw several fishermen with their rods, I didn’t see any of them catch any fish but I’m sure they must have caught some later.

The ‘reward’ for getting to the end of the pier was a restaurant if you wanted a nice lunch and a refreshing drink, a viewing platform and the Lifeguard station.

After a taking in the view and visiting the gift shop I decided to walk back, I wasn’t tired and knew I would enjoy the walk over taking a tram ride. As I walked, I passed the fishermen still patiently waiting for a catch and watched as the coastline got closer and closer.

Once back on mainland I stopped for a quick lunch before heading down to the beach. As I walked along the sand I stopped to watch the waves and dip my toes in the too cold-for-a-swim water. There were other people out too but it wasn’t busy which was nice. The sand at Southend is a mixture of sand, pebbles and seashells. There were lots strewn along the water’s edge, washed up and left behind by the endless tides. I was chuffed to spot an unopened oyster shell which seemed to still have oyster inside.

Further up I spotted some colourful boats sitting on the deck in the bright sun.

In the late afternoon, I dusted off the sand from my jeans and out of my shoes and strolled back to the train station and home. I don’t have the opportunity to go the coast very often but I always find it so calming and relaxing. Being by the sea on a warm, sunny day with a cool breeze seems to give me peace of mind and the beautiful, sparkling water is the coolness my eyes long for and just what I need after a trying time in the city.