London walk about

I know some parts of London quite well but with it being a large city there’s still plenty for me to discover. On my recent walk with a friend I was able to see some well known landmarks up close as well as unexpectedly come across buildings that I thought were very interesting.

We started at Leadenhall Market which looked very grand with its high arched roof and traditional style shops. We then walked along and discovered a really tall, steel building which looked quite futuristic to me. I was surprised to learn that it was actually a bank. One building that we were drawing closer to and that I was particularly excited to see was one of my favourite buildings in London, The Gherkin. I see it every day on the train into work but had never up close, so I was really pleased to see it from the ground up, even in the rain.

We then walked along to the Tower of London where we found an artful looking pride of lions guarding the walls, and along the banks of the River Thames there were some stylish, unique igloos that you could enjoy some lunch in. I wasn’t able to sit in them but they did look cosy and inviting with a great view of the river and London’s skyline.

Next up was Borough Market where there were lots of stalls selling a range of great products. The ones with the sweet treats especially caught my eye. Around the corner and something hard to miss was one of London’s newest and tallest landmark, The Shard. I was delighted to be able to get close as I’d seen it from far away so many times. Whenever I get up close to a tall building I always have to tip my head right back and look straight up at the top.

On the last part of our walk was St Paul’s Cathedral. We were lucky enough to get there just a it’s loud bells began ringing (and we discovered why later when we stumbled across a bride and groom that had just been married inside). I don’t think my photos quite did the famous, grand cathedral justice but it’s a huge building that has a great level of detail and history to it.

The walk took us most of the afternoon and tired us out, so after listening to the church bells for a while we headed to the station and towards home. I was able to see some famous, beautiful landmarks as well as lesser known spots that held my attention and made me smile. I hope to come back to some of these one day and venture inside to see what else there is to discover.

Poppy Day

Poppy day or Remembrance Day as it is officially known, is marked in the UK to remember the armed forces that died in the line of duty. To mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War the Tower of London has installed an art installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which is made up of 888,246 ceramic poppies encircling the Tower, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war. The poppes have been added to the moat of the castle from August with more being added everyday.

As Remembrance Day was drawing near (11th Novemeber, after which the poppies would be removed and sold) I decided to go take a look. I got to the Tower early in the morning and it was already really busy with lots of people. Luckily I was able to get a view from the angles I wanted and I got some pretty good pictures, I would have loved to be able to go down to ground level and see them but that was out of bounds to the public.

Tower london poppies

The poppies together really do look like a sea of red, even more so by the poppies being placed at different heights to create waves and the idea of movement

The poppies filling the moat, surrounded the entire Tower. I found that around the back of the Tower it wasn’t as busy and also the walkways were closer to the ground and allowed to people to get a closer look

poppies

Later volunteers and members of the navy arrived to help to install some more poppies. From 12th November more volunteers will come along to help take out and clean the poppies so they can be sent to members of the public that have bought them

I think the simple idea of using poppies was very striking when all put together, it really brought home just how so many British people had died in the war. It also made me think about all those that had died around the world in the past due to wars and are still continuing to do so.

There were also other installations around London to mark remembrance day, some traditional and long lasting and others temporary and modern. The poppy wreaths are usually found around November, the engraved words I found really sad, which can be seen all year round and speaks about all those that were lost at sea. The most modern installation I came across was in Trafalger Square called ‘Every Man Remembered’, which is based on the Unknown Soldier and has poppies that blow around inside the glass

All of these are really interesting and make you think about how many lives were lost in the wars, what I think is really sad though is how little we seem to learn from history