It’s easy to take for granted how fortunate we are that London is so easy to get to from Hampshire.
After all, some people spend thousands of pounds on the trip of a lifetime to see the city.
I’m lucky in that I get to go to London a few times a year, usually as part of a work trip. And, like most people who visit, I usually gravitate towards the tube for getting around.
Recently though, I’ve made the effort to do more walking around London. This is great way to see a few sights and soak up the atmosphere. Sometimes, it’s quicker than the underground too. Especially when getting between places in central London.
On my latest visit to the city, I decided to walk back to Waterloo station from the area around Goodge Street tube station, north of Oxford Street.
First I popped in to a rather dank Cafe Nero to use its wi-fi to get my ducks in line for the weekend and finish my work day.
Following a disappointing espresso there, I started my walk by cutting into the district known as Fitzrovia past the Toy Museum and down to cross Oxford Street. I glimpsed the BT Tower through the buildings occasionally as I slipped past office workers making their way to various wine bars and pubs.
Then it was into Soho Square with its half-timbered gardener’s hut and into Soho itself past Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
I’d planned to walk through the heart of Soho past the record stores and cafes. But I suddenly found myself amongst the tacky shops and glittering signs of Shaftesbury Avenue. From here, I headed down to Picadilly Circus and then down the bottom part of Regent Street towards the towering Duke of York column that overlooks The Mall.
I then crossed The Mall and entered St James’s Park. It looked like I’d missed the best of the autumn colours. But it was now getting dark anyway.
There were still a few tourists feeding the squirrels in the fading light and taking selfies on the bridge over the lake.
Again, selfies with Big Ben (aka the Elizabeth tower for you pedants) and the Millenium Wheel were the order of the day. A beautiful early evening sky provided the backdrop to the Houses of Parliament on the north bank of the river.
Then, after a detour owing to some construction work that made me miss my train, I popped into the Hole in the Wall on Mepham Street under the arches. Here, I had a quick Friday night pint while I killed time waiting for the next one.
Then it was standing room only until Woking – I’d avoided the tube but I felt like I was back on it.