I was up and about before Susan this morning so went for a walk and found a little coffee shop, Peyton & Byrne to have my morning coffee.
Quite nice sitting watching the world go by.
We thought we spend some time wandering around Shepherd's Market today but instead of taking the Tube to Green Park and then a 10 min walk thought we'd take the river taxi to Westminster and walk to Mayfair, which I estimated would be about a half hour walk.
The river taxi is great. It's a couple of minutes walk from our flat and it's quick, comfy and you you can have a cuppa whilst looking at the scenery. I don't mind the Tube, but it's not exactly picturesque and it can get a bit crowded.
We got off at Embankment and since the last time we were here they have installed some memorials for the Battle of Britain.
We walked up to Westminster and discovered some very unusual shadows on the bridge!
After spending some time wandering around Westminster and taking in the sights I realised I'd wander in the complete opposite direction we wanted for Mayfair. We decided to leave Shepherd's Market for another day and found ourselves a nice pub to have lunch in.
After lunch we made our way to Westminster Cathedral, the main Catholic church in London. I didn't go in as the smell of incense gives me panic attack (Don't even ask, I can't even go into those new age hippy shops for the same reason!) Susan, being the good Catholic girl that she is, went inside for a look around and to light a candle. I stayed outside to chat to a guy who was selling the Big Issue, until he got into a fight with another guy who was begging. Nothing like street entertainment.
Once Susan had finished looking around we made our way to St Clement Danes in The Strand. The original church was built around the 9th century but the one currently there is one of the Wren churches built after the Great Fire in the 17th C. It was damaged by bombs during WWII and restored during the 50's. It's now the church for the Royal Air Force.
Just across the road is the Royal Courts of Justice. A very impressive Victorian building which houses the High Court and the Court of Appeals. This isn't the same as the Old Bailey - that is a completely different building about a mile away.
On the other side of the Courts is the Twinings Tea shop. It's been in the same spot since 1706 and Susan went in to buy her favourite Irish Breakfast tea, which cost twice as much as it does in Australia - go figure.
Almost next door to Twinings is one of my favourite things about London. A small unobtrusive alleyway, that if you weren't looking you would just walk straight past. If you keep your eyes open you spot these all over London. Walk down them and you will discover they open into an oasis of peace and quiet. Small pieces of heaven and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Trees, benches, fountains you'd never know Fleet St was within spitting distance.
We paid the $4 entrance to Temple Church. Anyone who's read the literary masterpiece The Da Vinci Code (yes that is sarcasm) will know this church gets a mention for all the obvious reasons - Crusades, Knights Templar, Holy Grail, conspiracy etc) Although those things are interesting, I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person, the church is actually a really lovely building. Built in the 12th C as the headquarters of the Knights Templar. After the Order was abolished the church was used by two of the four Inns of Court, the Inner Temple and Middle Temple, which were colleges for lawyers. The church managed to survive the Great Fire in 1666 but received bomb damage during WWII and has been restored. It's well worth a visit, but remember to give yourself enough time to just sit and relax in the courtyards.
It was dark when we left the church and was just starting to rain, so we took a walk along the river back to the Embankment and caught the river taxi back to Greenwich. The Cutty Sark looked great at night with the golden sunset behind it. Finally back to our flat and a home cooked dinner. Well I say 'home cooked' by that I mean Mr Tesco cooked it and we reheated our beef stew and dumplings in the microwave. Very tasty indeed.