Day 1.  A late autumn visit to London

A cold morning at home so before leaving the house I donned my winter coat and woollen scarf for my journey to London.  I find long distance train travel relaxing and, once on board, I settled down to reading ‘Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour’ by Alan Titchmarsh and happily spent the journey with my book, some nibbles and an occasional glance at my phone.

Kings Cross Station Food Market
Arriving into London’s Kings Cross Station at around 1.30 pm the city was bathed in sunshine and a food market was taking place on the outdoor plaza so I wandered around the stalls and treated myself to an Arbroath Smokie canapé which was delicious. Hearing music, I headed in search of it, to find the Irish Guards playing a medley of songs near the Underground station entrance so I sat awhile to enjoy the melodic sounds.   I’ve been to London more times than I can remember but whenever I come I find something new to experience or see – I could never tire of our capital!

Irish Guards at Kings Cross Station
As I wasn’t meeting my son until 4.00 pm, I hopped on the Piccadilly Line and enjoyed a coffee in one of my favourite cafes near Piccadilly Circus before moving on to South Kensington, where we had arranged to meet.  Just outside the Tube station you will find the magnificent buildings housing the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert (V & A) Museum.  Upon crossing the road, I was surprised to find the winter ice rink in action, complete with Christmas tree despite it being only early Novembet- Christmas festivities seem to start earlier each year!

Ice Rink, Natural History Museum, London
Continuing, I passed the Royal Albert Hall, another architectural gem and a building in which I’ve attended two degree ceremonies as a very proud parent.  If you ever get an opportunity to look inside this magnificent hall or attend a performance here I’m sure you will be stunned by its elegance.   Nearby,  I met my son ready to begin our London long weekend together.   We stopped off for piping hot mugs of hot chocolate and then went back to watch the skating at the Natural History Museum ice rink which looked much prettier than earlier as it had gone dark.

Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, London
From here, we took the underground to Victoria from where we boarded a main line train the short distance to Clapham Junction where our accommodation for the next three nights was located.  We checked into the Travelodge which is centrally located and a hotel we have stayed at previously.

South Kensington Underground Station Entrance
After a short rest we decided to go out for something to eat,  our original plan had been to take the train to Waterloo (only 8 minutes) and find somewhere along the South Bank, but it had started raining so we decided to eat locally.  A short distance from the station lies Northcote Road, a smart area lined with good quality bars and restaurants.  Clapham Junction and Clapham are, confusingly, two separate places and we find Clapham Junction to be the more stylish and attractive of the two.

After dining, we returned to our hotel and relaxed awhile and discussed our plans for the next day before bedtime.

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68 thoughts on “Day 1.  A late autumn visit to London

  1. Looks like a great way to get into the Christmas cheer by enjoying all the festivities around the city. England at Christmas time is always spectacular and it’s great to find activities like this to enjoy with loved ones!

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  2. I am new to blogging and really enjoyed reading about you and your story about your day in London. I’m from New York and did study in England 30 years ago. Haven’t been back yet but I do plan to go back soon. I will enjoy reading more from you.

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  3. Really enjoyed your post. Makes me want to to visit especially in Winter as we have only been in August. So nice to see cooler weather occasionally. Not so cool in sunny Queensland right now. We are in a heatwave. Expecting it to go for a few days. Love airconditioning! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Keep it up.

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  4. Ah. London. While I have been several times, we were there with our then- small children one Christmas and it was completely magical. In fact, it was the discussion over the dinner table just last night. This is a wonderful post.I love the way that you write, it makes me feel like I am right there.

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  5. Hi Little Miss Traveller,

    I was also recently in London (technically outside London, in Kingston). I was charmed by it, as they were just lighting their Christmas tree and opening their holiday market. Now I’m in Austin, TX, where we have the amazing Zilker Park Trail of Lights. It’s been years since I went so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it. 🙂

    Happy travels!

    Rebekah

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  6. Oh you are so lucky to go to London so often!! My goal is to go once a year, I must start saving now. I love the ice rink at the Natural History Museum. I am terrible at skating but it’s fun to look at others doing it 🙂 It’s gorgeous in the dark as I can see from your photo ❤

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  7. London looks like a great Christmas city. The ice rink with the Christmas tree and festive lights look magical. Next year I might visit London for some Christmas spirit. Love those black hats worn by the Irish Guards, must be warm, I think I need one for our freezing cold winter here in Finland.

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    1. Thank you. London is so attractive at Christmas and there are now numerous ice rinks dotted around the centre. The Christmas windows at Harrods in Knightsbridge and at Fortnum & Mason and Liberty’s in Piccadilly are a delight too but I guess Stockmann’s are spendid, too!

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  8. Nothing beats a weekend in London at any time of the year – but when it’s getting dressed up for Christmas it is pretty special. I love the Albert Hall too, we saw the Messiah there years ago and I would love to go back sometime. Two graduation ceremonies there must have been something else!

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    1. Thanks Joy – seeing the Messiah performed in the Royal Albert Hall must have been spectacular! One of our sons studied at Imperial College London so we had the pleasure of attending his MSc first degree ceremony and then he stayed on to study for his PhD so we returned again recently for that! You have all this to look forward to and with all these interesting places you take your son to, I’m sure he will do equally well as our other son has.

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