We awoke in London on Sunday morning to a glorious day of blue sky and sunshine! Yes the air was cold and crisp but it was so bright and invigorating that we set off to St James Park. Our hotel, the elegant, Victorian and oh so very convenient Grosvenor (which can be accessed from Victoria Station itself) is deceptively close to Buckingham Palace so we headed off in that direction! As expected, and as ever in London, there were many people about but there was a great sense of calm – that Sunday feeling – no one rushing or stressing just strolling along with family or friends or just the dog or purely alone taking a moment for themselves!
From the Palace we walked the long, wide and imposing Mall which on a Sunday is pedestrianised and we have to say that being able to wander criss cross over the full breadth of this road, without the fear and sounds of heavy traffic, was a joy! The simple things but it made such a difference to our experience! Stunning Royal houses and architecture drew us to the right but then the wonderful St James’ Park enticed us in on the left! Unfortunately we had missed the bulk of Autumn splendour and colour through the park but it was still a very beautiful and it was fun to spot and see some of London’s main landmarks peeping through the trees , Big Ben and the London Eye, stunningly framed by nature.
At the opposite end to Buckingham Palace the tree lined Mall led us through Admiralty Arch and into the great open expanse that is Trafalgar Square! After the stillness of the park we were immediately reminded that we were still in the centre of this very busy city as black cabs and red busses swept noisily past us. The sun was now lower too and the temperature was dropping fast but we lingered to take it all in as there was a busker playing a guitar, a man challenging the crowds to try and ride his back to front bicycle (!) and it was fun to watch tourists of all ages posing for selfies trying to get Nelson, high up on his column, into their shots!
I have always loved the idea of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square … it is the north west plinth and has a rolling programme of temporary artworks on it which keeps things interesting as you never know what you may see or find up there! On this visit we found a black skeletal horse which made a dramatic juxtapose to the traditional historic buildings behind it – we loved it – and the electronic ribbon tied to the horses leg displayed live the ticker of the London Stock Exchange making the link between power, money and history apparently! Anyway we can’t wait for another excuse to get up to the ‘big smoke’ as it’s only 50 minutes on the train from Brighton so we really don’t have much of an excuse to leave it so long until our next jaunt up there!