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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.