"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life"
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." — Samuel Johnson,September 20, 1777
Samuel Johnson was right; There is always something interesting to see and do in London, and he still had enough time to write his dictionary.
On 13th July, I took the #94 bus from Shepherds Bush to Piccadilly, and walked back to Shelley's flat. The #94 bus is one of the bargain sightseeing trips in London; London buses have a flat fare of £1.50 per trip, and if you manage to get a seat upstairs at the front, you have the same views of Notting Hill, Portobello Road, Kensington Park, Bayswater Road, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Oxford street and Regent Street as on the £25 sightseeing bus.
On my walk back, which was just on 11km, I walked along Picadilly, past Hyde Park Corner and the New Zealand War memorial, then along Knightsbridge past Harrods, to Brompton Road and Cromwell Road to Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.
London has many small English Heritage plaques that show places of interest; I spotted three good ones:
The first was at 103 Picadilly which was the home of Francis Berraud who was the guy who painted his dog Nipper which became known as His Masters Voice.
The second was as 153 Cromwell Road; the home of Sir Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma who lived there after their marriage in 1926.
I also found George Orwells home at 22 Portobello Road. I looked for a security camera, but nope couldn't see any surveillance...maybe it was hidden, or out of respect for George Orwell, there isnt one?
Saturday 15 July; we went to Kew Gardens. Shelley had very generously given me two tickets & the Kew Guide book for my birthday, so as it was a very pleasant sunny day, off we all went.
If not the best, Kew has to rank in the very top of the worlds best botanical gardens.
Large wooded areas with amazingly beautiful trees, neatly manicured formal gardens, the long and colourful 'boarder walk', the extremely interesting plant family garden beds, the vegetable gardens,lake and lily ponds, Queen Caroline's 'cottage",the treetop walkway about 20 metres above the ground and much more...and there are plenty of areas where you can walk and not see any other person which is a rarity in London. The silence in the wooded areas is only broken every 2 minutes by passing aircraft...but that's ok.
We walked about 7km over about 3 hours, but you could do the main parts in less distance/time or you could easily spend all day and walk 20km.
Sunday 17th July;
We drove to Hampstead Heath and walked to Parliament Hill. This is one of the higher spots in London, and you get a decent view south towards the city. You can see the major landmark buildings Shard & Gherkin quite clearly, as well as the BT Tower. There are plenty of walking trails on Hampstead Heath; on Sunday there were plenty of locals with unleashed scrappy dogs, and quite a few joggers.
We parked in a pay and display car-park off E Heath Road, with a parking machine and sign that could only be British:
" This parking machine accepts credit cards only. If the card is unreadable or does not work, you must pay in cash. This machine does not accept cash"
We walked around the paths for about 1.5 hours and 3km which was ample time.
Following which we indulged and went to one of the best Pizza places in London; L'Antica in Heath St Hampstead.
Great range of pizza cooked at 400 degrees for 90 seconds in a specially imported wood oven from Naples
More to come.......