Friday, 29 October 2010

Lizzie's Guide to London - Part One

Well, this looks as if it might be successful! I think I have been a teeny bit clever - though I haven't tried to do the writing and publishing bit of this post yet! (Those who are reading this with no idea what I'm talking about - see the previous post, from earlier today, in which I complained bitterly about ongoing issues with the Blogger Editor and loading photos to posts).

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Also, if you're interested in reading my post about our Celebrating Blog Friendships Blog Party, which will take the form of a blog-hop on 6th November, please see this post here.
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Lizzie's Guide to London -Part One

Saturday 23rd October
St. Pauls' and Surrounding Area

Last weekend we took a four-day trip to London. We went up by train and spend three nights in a YHA hostel, at St. Paul's in the City.

I thought you all might enjoy a few posts about the trip (though feel free to do that "oh no, I hate looking at people's holiday photos" thing and go elsewhere for your entertainment!

I think the best way to do this is to just annotate the photos with little stories of our adventures. Hope you like the stories I tell!
By train to London... yes, DS does need a haircut... but it's kind of fuzzy, which is cute!

This is my DH and DS, heading up St. Andrews Hill, on the way to the youth hostel.

Carter Lane, St. Pauls. The building on the left side of the road is the youth hostel.

It used to be the Choir School for St. Paul's Cathedral, but they now have a lovely modern building near Paternoster Square, which is no doubt much easier to cope with and more convenient for early mornings and late evenings, when the staff have to shepherd a couple of dozen boys to and from a sung eucharist or concert.

I ought to have taken a photo of the front of this building - it has some wonderful painting all over it - this is sadly beginning to wear away, with the effects of the elements, but it is still visible and is really impressive - I think it was probably done in the C19th.
There are lots of little nooks and crannies around the St. Pauls area. This is a view into a little corner just off St. Andrews Hill.
An old pub, with its coach-lights and panelling. It was carefully re-painted in old-fashioned style and looked great. There was a sign by the front door, which said "Persons with soiled clothing or dirty boots will not be served". I thought that was great!
Corner of St. Andrews Hill and Carter Lane. If you look at the top of the pale-coloured building - the youth hostel - you will see a long dormer window, which was our room.
St. Pauls area - shops and offices. All rather quaint and old-fashioned. Lovely to stroll about in. However, very strangely, the shops were all closed, even though it was a Saturday lunchtime. We went out to look for something we'd forgotten and couldn't find any shops that were open in the whole area. Even some of the cafes and restaurants were closed. Everything was open on Monday though, so I presume that everyone thinks it's too quiet in the City at weekends to bother with opening. There were cafes open in the tourist areas, but no-where else. Strange, but true!!
Rooftop view, from our window, high above Carter's Lane.

Rooftop view in the other direction! (well, I liked it). See the fab little roof-garden above that cafe on the corner? They even have a tiny conservatory!
And of course, St. Paul's Cathedral itself. We didn't go in on Saturday. There were a zillion tourists about and we thought it would be so busy. Decided to go on Tuesday morning (only we never got there, but that's another story).
So, we went walkabout, to explore. Past St. Paul's and up the road, we got to Fleet Street - famous residence of many national newspapers and magazines (although many have now moved on to newer - and presumably cheaper - locations). ..
... also the home of The Bar and The Courts. The seat of the British Justice System!
View down from Fleet Street, to the gateway into Temple Gardens. The "Temple" in the name refers to "Temple Bar", the central offices of "The Bar", where British Barristers are based. If you qualify as a Barrister, you are "Called to the Bar", which I think means that you go to the law offices and they register you and license you to work as a senior lawyer. A friend of DS' dad is a barrister and goes up to London every day. I guess he must work near here... (the British Justice System is somewhat complicated and confuses me. I really ought to research it a bit more... but not now eh?)
The High Court of Justice. You may have seen this building in various news reports on tv, whenever they report on any high-profile case that has been taken up to the High Court (there are several layers of courts and judiciary centres in Britain, starting with the local Magistrates Courts, then the Crown Courts, then on to the High Court. Only certain cases go up to High Court - they have to be pretty important and serious!)
Here's one I took for Amy! This is Australia House.
Sorry about the white van just passing.. I had a good shot all lined up... duh...
And on to Victoria Embankment, just down the hill from the Courts. We walked back past Temple Gardens, on the pretty side! This is a popular place to take a walk; it extends for quite a way, up into the Town. It's a Victorian innovation, with wide pavement, fancy street lamps and benches, also various war memorials and memorials to famous people. We walked back towards the City though, not into Town.
View from Victoria Embankment, up to Westminster. You can see the London Eye and Houses of Parliament, among other places. The towers are the Parliament buildings - the one on the left is the famous St. Stephen's Clock Tower, home of the very famous Big Ben bell.
View the other way, along the Embankment. The buildings are more modern and all about offices, work etc. Lots of financial offices and head offices of big companies etc. The tall, brownish chimney-thing by the river is the Tate Modern.

The bridge you can see is Blackfriars Bridge, a great Victorian iron bridge. This is the road bridge and behind it is the rail bridge - which is currently undergoing refurbishment. We came into Blackfriars Station on our train (though next month they will close the station for a few weeks, while they complete their work).
A good old-fashioned British Telephone Box! Lots of these in Central London and the City. Elsewhere in Britain they've been virtually eradicated. Some towns and villages actually had to fight to keep theirs - many people like them as they are landmarks and quite attractive (in a box-like, heavy iron, with doors that you can't open kind of way). They are a bit of a rarity therefore. I like to look at them, but I hate having to use the phone inside one of these - I can not open the door, as it's so heavy!
So, we crossed over Blackfriars Bridge, to the South Bank of the Thames.
It really was a lovely afternoon. A bit breezy, but the sun was quite warm and bright. Lovely views from the bridge!
This is what our family calls a "Flakey Stop"! Me and DS both need to eat snacks mid-morning and afternoon, or we become what DH calls "flakey" - ie. weary, grumpy, tired, sad, exhausted, unable to function properly... you get the idea - a nuisance really. We're all so used to it now, that we factor these into our plans. Still, we had considerable trouble finding a cafe that was actually Open!! We could've gone into a pub (!), but DS isn't allowed in the Bar, so we'd have had to sit outside - brrr... Besides, we needed coffee/hot choccy and stuff, not beer...

This was a great little cafe, called Fratelli's. I think there is a chain of them in London - not seen them anywhere else though. There were two great Italian guys there, working hard at cleaning and tidying up; they were charming and helpful, made fab coffee and told us where to look for a big shop that might sell what we needed (remember I said we - I actually - forgot to pack something?)
On the way back across Blackfriars Bridge... St. Paul's in the Sunshine! Lovely picture (the bit at the bottom is the scaffolding / roofing at Blackfriars Rail Bridge/ Station).
Back to our room at the hostel. We had a 4-bed room, all to ourselves. Very clean, recently refurbished and really nice. Obviously, it being a hostel, we had to share the showers and loos, but we had a washbasin in our room and there was plenty of hot water in the showers etc. No complaints really.

A good room in a great location - and jolly cheap! Breakfasts were okay too - plenty of it and a good variety of stuff. Coffee was pretty decent as well, which is important to me first thing in the morning!
Okay... so these are my feet. I was a bit worn out after a busy day with a lot of walking. Needed to put my feet up for a couple of hours, before tackling the nearby posh burger bar, for our dinner!
We had a good day though, with plenty to look forward to on Sunday....

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Amazing... this post appears to have worked okay. After all the stress of the last couple of days, I have managed to sort it out!

Solution? Number my photos in the order I wanted them, then load them in groups of five, starting with the Last photo First! Blogger's old editor slots each photo in above the one it has just loaded... doing it backwards has saved all the stress of trying to pull them around in the editor, to get them where I want them to be.

Hopefully, this will publish okay. I may even try to edit the photo sizes in the new editor, to make them bigger!

Okay, so I tried to make the photos bigger, but it won't let me.  Still, the new editor has allowed me to tidy up the post a bit and remove extra line-spaces from between the text blocks.  It looks more tidy now.

So, possible interim solution to my irritating problem. Still not ideal, but it did work! :-))


  1. So thats why my friends couldnt get into St Paul's YH that weekend u were there!!!!! They ended up in Rotherhythe instead, my fave Eastend old haunt. They probably went to some of the same places you did.
    Looks like your feet definately needed a rest after all that walking, not a mean feet in London with all the hard floors etc. Looks like u had plenty of rest stops, DS needs to appreciate how important muffin/cake stops are for mum and dad especially if he wants something.
    I love the photographs you took, very arty. My uncle was a Westminster Abbey chorister in the 40s and said it was freezing in the choristers house.
    Jo xxxx

  2. Hi Jo! Yes, we were there.. but they have about 300 beds - it was just very busy! There were lots of French and German tourists staying there. It's a popular hostel and you have to book well ahead (we booked it in about June!).

    DS also needs the Flakey stops - it's him and me that have problems. DH is very patient with us - he's lovely.
    I'm sure the choristers house was chilly - but then lots of bigger buildings were then, especially schools etc. The hostel now has a decent heating system, but I bet it used to be v. nippy in the winter!

  3. I suggest Windows Live Writer for doing blog posts. It handles photos wonderfully & uploads them to a Picasa account linked to your gmail addy. And it's free.

  4. Oh, thank goodness, you got it to work! And I'm so glad you did. Your photos are great, and I love that you put a couple of yourself in there as well!

    Oh, and I love the red jacket!!! xo

  5. Thanks for the lovely tour! I quite enjoyed your photos and the way it's so personal but invites us to be a part of it. I remember when blogs scared you to death and now I think you have one of the very best ones!

  6. Lizzie thanks for sharing your London trip - it is so easy to overlook what treasures are situated at the end (sort of)of the railway line. It is great to look at London as a tourist, something that is easy to forget to do when you are focused on a trip to a theatre or gallery.

  7. Great looking photos. I also need flakey stops on days out, what a super way to describe them.

  8. Hi Lizzie, oh I'm so glad you have managed to sort blogger out, I can totally understand your frustration! Really enjoyed reading about your trip and the piccies are lovely. I'm a flakey person too, and I try not to go anywhere unless there is coffee, lunch etc involved! Its interesting about the red phone boxes, I had no idea they had been removed all around the country. We were in Cyprus a few years ago and we spotted one, I even took a photo!

    Thanks for the all your kind comments on my blog, sorry I haven't had chance to e-mail you about the lovely Halloween books!

  9. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments and helpful suggestions (Stacey).
    We had a great weekend away and it's fun sharing the photos with you all.
    More to come...

  10. I loved seeing your photos Lizzie, and reading all the snippets of information and detail about your trip :-) And great socks!! xx

  11. Absolutely wonderful Lizzie! Thanks for such a detailed trip aound London - even Australia House!
    I'm off to part two now :-)

  12. Hi Lizzie,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog and for directing me here, but I had actually read all about this trip of yours before, though it seems I didn't comment here. But reading about your trip was one of the reasons I really wanted to go to London and kept nagging hubby about it! In fact, I also revisited all your posts about your trip before we left in march to get me excited again and to check if I especially wanted to go anywhere that you had been!

    I thought I'd come by here and tell you that so you know how fab your london trip posts were, and I'm sorry I hadn't commented before to say so! xxx


I love to read your comments!


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