Londinium

I went to London - but never bought a heat magazine :)  Do they even still publish it? 

My cousins were here from Boston all last week, and I was unable to get away to see them due to Valentines Day (have I mentioned before how much I hate Valentines? !! ) so Saturday I took the day off and along with my little old Mum, Brother and Brother-in-Law, headed off to our Capital City to catch up with them. 

We made no plans, aside from that we all wanted to eat lunch; that was it. We were going to fly by the seat of our pants. It's a good job we checked in with them the evening before though, as we though they were staying at Canary Wharf (as they have done the past few visits) to find they were staying in the city itself. 

My brother booked and paid for the tickets (thank you brothery if you are reading this). Once on the train which was really busy, he sent me off to find a guard so we could upgrade to First Class - which I did and we did. Much better way to travel. Can I just make a note to anyone who may be going on a journey. If there are just 2 of you and you take up one of the tables that seats 4 when you have a family of 4 behind you, you are complete and utter arses. There were plenty of 2 seats together available, yet all the 4 seater tables were taken up by couples - sadly, older couples too who should have known better. I only hope when it got really busy (which is did just 2 stops after ours) they got stuck with smelly people next to them who like to spread themselves into their neighbours space! Even in first class you still get the same type (actually, they are probably worse because they view themselves as more important - there was just one table of 4 in first class, and only 6 of us in the cabin. We were not on that table. We also did not have huge suitcases standing in the middle of the aisle! Mind you, the man was the same guy who had barged passed me when we entered the station, so I would have expected nothing else - Entitled is the word I would use (when being polite) Wanker, when being honest! 

My cousins were waiting for us when we disembarked so we headed straight off to the Thames and thought it would be nice to take a leisurely stroll, catching up, enjoying each other's company, before stopping somewhere for lunch. That was easier-said-than-done for it was heaving with people. By the time we had made our way to Westminster Bridge we were all a little bit flustered. Thankfully the amount of people thinned out when we got over the other side. 


We took a stroll by the Houses of Parliament, which is when my Mum mentioned she had never seen the sights, or main places, of London. Well, that was it. Next thing we pretty much did them all. In one afternoon :)

Westminster Abbey? Check - Horse Guards Parade? Check - Downing Street? Check - Whitehall? Check - Trafalgar Square? Check - The Mall and Buckingham Palace? Almost :) - Covent Garden? Check. We did so much; I've left out the Old Bailey, St Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, The Millenium Bridge and oodles of places in between, We were proper tourists in our own capital city, being guided by 2 Americans (the irony of that was not lost on me :) )


We passed the London Eye, London Dungeon, some kind of Shrek thing; the aquarium, Cenotaph (explaining what the significance of it was). We wandered along Fleet Street, Bow Street. We walked through Soho. We passed theatres, galleries and even got to stand outside where London Fashion Week was going on, watching some random models posing - one gave my cousin the filthiest of looks. I was going to stand next to her so she could get an idea of what she might look like if she ate a meal and smiled, but I thought it was most unfair of me to do such a thing. She looked as though she'd not eaten in a month. I know they get paid well for it, but you have to ask "is it really worth it?" They all looked so bloody miserable.

The architecture of the city is quite something. I've never really paid much attention before, however yesterday I got to really take in the surroundings (London in my past has only even been somewhere I've gone to with the specific reason of seeing one specific place and I've paid no attention to the bits and pieces in between). The detailing on some of the buildings is spell binding. It's definitely someone who is into their architectural photography could possibly dedicate a whole lifetime to the buildings and still never get to take an image of them all.


Lunch was eaten in a place called Admiralty, opposite Trafalgar Square and it was one of the friendliest places I have ever eaten. The Maitre D was fabulous (I feel bad we never left a tip in the end, however, they included a service charge on the bill so technically tipped themselves!! I do hate that; it should be down to those eating to decide if the service was worthy of extra and not automatically added). The service charge aside, if you are looking for great tasting food you will do no wrong in visiting the place. I'm not sure what it would have been like to eat on the ground floor level as that was quite open and very similar looking to a basic wetherspoons, however, we were taken downstairs and popped into one of their "booths" which was fabulous as it was totally private and seated the 6 of us more than adequately. The food was delicious. I can highly recommend that Duck pie (we had a small one of these between us all on a taster dish) The Steak pie had huge chunks of meat and was extremely tasty. Apparently the faggots were delicious (I never tried those) and the mashed potato and veggies were cooked and creamed to perfection. The Sticky toffee pudding went down well with those having it, and the crumble proved to be way too big a portion for my Mum who never struggles with a pudding - it would easily have been enough for 2, possibly even 3 people. The prices were really good too, which surprised me being situated where it is. You could not go wrong if you were to visit the place for lunch, that much I am sure of (try the Mac'n'Cheese Croquettes - most odd but so tasty).


As I've said, London is never somewhere I would choose to go, but I am so glad I got to experience all I did yesterday. In fact I'd like to have had more time to stop, look, appreciate and experience, before moving on. I think (when I win the lottery) I'll try to spend a long weekend up there and take in some more of the sights and delights it has to offer. I'm by no means converted to 'city life' however, I am a little more interested and intrigued, than I was before I hopped on that train on Saturday morning.








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