LONDON | ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
Believe it or not, Oscar Wilde may have become the most prolific playwrights in London, but he was born in Dublin, Ireland. Yes, yes – the witty Mr. Wilde was Irish. And yes, I know I’m quoting him for a London essay but technically, it’s all within the United Kingdom.
During my five days in London, there was a record warm wave in the month of February. I blocked all the reasons as to why that could possibly happen and just enjoyed the absolute sunshine that flowed from the clear, blue skies everyday. From historic ruins to secret gardens, Borough Market and Brick Lane Market, changing of the guards to changing my bus route, here are the magnificent sights old London town shared with me! Also, pubs, very, very old ones. Cheers mate!
River Thames, Tate Modern | London, England
Before heading to Tate Modern to have a drink, listen to some awesome DJ’s at the bar and witness the incredible 360 degree view of London from the 10th floor, I explored London’s oldest market, Borough Market (found later in the post). Plans were to have a bit of dinner but then i decided to have a lot of a donut. Afterwards, to burn off the amazing sugar-dusted, creme patissiere filled donut, I walked along the bank, taking in the deep blue hues.
Tate Modern is a relatively new museum, The Queen opening it in May 2000. It holds all of Britain’s modern art from 1900 and forward. There are four museums in the Tate group, all named after the British sugar magnate Henry Tate of Tate & Lyle. I visited Tate Modern on a Friday evening after walking the foot path on River Thames. All national galleries and museums admission is free – make sure to check out the bar on the 1st floor with DJ’s filling the space with music. On the 10th floor, there is a bar and patio where gorgeous views of London awaits. Fortunately, in the middle of February, London’s forecast was clear skies all evening.
Borough Market is the oldest market in London dating back to 1014 and has plenty of history with the changing reigns over England. There are plenty of produce stalls, specialty foods, cuisines and of course, ales, lagers and stouts!
For more posts on what cuisine London has to offer, take a look here -> Let’s eat!
St. Dunstan in the East | City of London
St. Dunstan in the East is a church that was built around 1100 and existed until it was bombed during World War II. Its ruins now encompass beautiful trees and gardens where Londoners gather, sit in serenity, sip some tea or have a snack.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is visible across the River Thames, while walking across Millennium Bridge and from the 10th floor of Tate Modern.
Ye Olde Mitre, Cittie of Yorke, Seven Stars, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Pubs, short for Public House, are considered second places for Britains, a home away from home if you will. Grab your mates, grab your pint, make sure to grab a round and cheers! I did a historic pub run, more like a historic pub scavenger hunt.
Ye Olde Mitre is a challenge to find – first, find the narrow doorframe to enter the narrow passage way and et voila! It’s as if you’ve discovered the temple of Petra! A public house that has survived modernity.
Cittie of Yorke was next on the Historic Pub route! Easier to find and located on a main street – although it was rebuilt in 1920, a pub has always stood in the location since 1420.
The Seven Stars is close to the courthouse, so you’ll find plenty of celebratory solicitors raising a pint. Seven Stars survived the great fire of London in 1666 having been established 64 years prior. The light grey building is adorned with interesting objects in its curtain laced windows.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was the last pub I found before heading to Somerset House. This pub boasts of all the sovereignties they have seen throughout its existence. It is known to have gloomy rooms and lack of natural light, but who needs to see their beer to drink it?
The British Royal Navy won a battle against Spain and France at Cape Trafalgar in 1805 and therefore, this square was named. Trafalgar Square is used for community gatherings and demonstrations, it is well known for its rich history of protests. The National Gallery and St. Martin in the Fields are close by.
Circus, in this context, is taken from Latin meaning circle, a round open space – and it definitely fits this busy junction in London. Piccadills or piccadillies are various types of collars and Robert Baker was a tailor who sold these collars in Piccadilly House in 1626.
Most people confuse this fountain with the Greek God Eros but really it’s his brother, Anteros, who is the God of requited love.
Westminster Abbey | City of Westminster
Since 1066, all coronations of British and English monarchs have been done at Westminster Abbey as well as 16 royal weddings. It is also the burial site of 3,300 persons of prominence in British history. The sun gracing its light on the western façade in late afternoon as I exited from Dean’s Yard.
Brick Lane Market | London, England
If you have a free Sunday, make sure to visit Brick Lane near Shoreditch. Explore the many curry houses, street art, street musicians and the many food stalls at the brick lane market food hall. You can’t miss it. The combination of spices waft through the streets, leading you to an oasis of cultural dishes. Afterwards, head on over to the vintage market and meet some artisans featuring their arts and crafts.
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Copyright 2020 Erica Hilario