Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Trip to Camden Town and London City - With Santacon Too !

Well the year is nearly over and this would be my last trip to London for now.  A little bit of Christmas shopping was to be embarked upon, along with some sight seeing in the City to see the Christmas decorations sparkling in the night time.  What we were not expecting to see along the way were Santas.  Many, many, many Santas.  Now, if your little ones are reading this with you, can I explain that these are being interviewed to work in the North Pole next year in the real Father Christmas' workshops!  To the adults- this was one massive pub crawl!!!!  So as I take you around our visit this time, you may see quite a lot of Santas' in different shapes and guises along the way!
Just a quick hop onto the tube to Camden Town from Kings Cross and we joined the crowds.  Yes, people were saying that we were mad to go Christmas shopping in London, so seeing the Mad Hatter as we came out of the tube station really didn't help!!
Camden Town is full of markets, individual unique shops and friendly staff - unrushed and very happy to please.  Yes, it was full of shoppers but we didn't feel as though we were being pushed along, instead we were able to take our time and handle things at our leisure.  What is also so different is that the signs for the shops are accompanied by huge examples of the wares they are selling inside.  So instead of seeing a typical barber shop red and white column, you can see boots...
in fact anything from a distance.
As we walked along there were more and more Santas walking along to Camden Lock.  Santacon was obviously in full swing!
Now to some I suppose Camden Town can look a little shabby with its individual style, so if you are into sleek and shiny High Streets then Camden is not for you.  However, if you like things that are a little different and especially if you have teenage kids, then this is a MUST see.  Miss Teen and her friend Miss B felt totally at home and were happily soaking up the young, vibrant atmosphere and were surprised at just how long the stallholders spoke to them and let them try things on without getting all huffy.  It was a new experience for them.

My happy places though were capturing the ghost signs on the sides of old shops...
... taxi cabs outside good old fashioned fish and chip shops...
... lamp shops...
... boots...
... dresses...
... candles...
... necklaces... (a favourite for Miss Teen and Miss B - the stallholder was amazing with his knowledge of TV shows and film).
Then there was the food, and what a huge choice there was.  All freshly prepared and cooked.  Yes there is the typical fast food places, but most people head to the stall holders where cocktail sticks are handed out to try the different flavours of the world.  Even Octopus is freshly cooked and served.
We went for the Turkish option with succulent chargrilled chicken, perfectly cooked rice, fresh salad and a flat bread!  Perfect!  For dessert we went along to some more stalls and spotted this one with oozing cakes.
I truly wanted that sticky toffee cake but passed, however Miss Teen and Miss B enjoyed the brownie pops.  I was allowed a little taster and they were heavenly!
Lunchtime here is very busy but again we didn't feel that we were being rushed along, everyone just taking their time.
But hey, do you want to see where all the Santas went?  They were at Camden Lock...
Streams of them, all very merry.
One had obviously already been down a chimney!
Another had already been to one of the corset shops.
The atmosphere was fantastic and the girls were so happy to be part of it.
But to keep on track we needed to get back over the bridge.
Passing this great looking shop called All Saints where you can just see all the antique sewing machines in the windows
Can you make them out?
Time was knocking on so we needed to say a reluctant goodbye to Camden Town.  I feel that this will be a regular trip for my daughter now!
Another tube journey to Charing Cross and a short walk to Trafalgar Square next.
When I was younger I used to have a regular Christmas trip here with my Nan and Grandpa, just to see the Christmas Tree which is a gift from Norway.
The lights were on as the sun began to set over London town.
Including the star at the top!
Yes, you guessed it.  Santacon was here too!
If I was prepared I think we would have stayed to see the whole square full of Santas, which is what happened later on.  But we needed to walk to Westminster before our train back.
We walked past Downing Street on the way.  Long gone are the days when you could stand next to the famous front door with a policeman!
Westminster was full but we managed to get near the railings of the Houses of Parliament.
Then along to Westminster Bridge to see the London Eye at night.
County Hall looks beautiful when it is lit up.
London at night is my favourite time to see this magical place.
Everyone dashing here, there and everywhere!
It was now time to say goodbye to the Thames...
And let the ghostly carriages pass us by!
Sorry, couldn't resist, the photo could have come out A LOT better but it was a quick turn round to see them going past me.

And so dear readers, if you are still with me after this mammoth post, that was my last trip to London this year.  Obviously plenty more being planned for next year.

I hope your festive plans are all in full swing now and you are enjoying your weekend - take care out there!

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  1. Camden town looks wonderful! I'd love to pay a visit. And yes we have Santacon here in Portland too. Wonderful collection of photos - makes me want to plan a trip "across the pond."

  2. Lovely and colourful but being a crowd hater this is the best way for me to enjoy it/

  3. A wonderful post! Your photos of London at night are fantastic, I love the one of the London eye, that is amazing isn't it. It sounds as though you had a wonderful day out!! Glad that you enjoyed it so much. xx

  4. My 17 yr old and I througly enjoyed your post! Both of us were laughing! LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDD it! So nice to see other architure (sp?)--and the funkiness of Camden! LOVED IT! One day I/we will visit your part of the world. Thank you for the smiles. Blessings

  5. What a fantastic post Chel. Strangely enough I took a drive into London last night to see the Christmas lights. The river views were stunning as we parked on the Embankment and took a walk over the Golden Jubilee Bridge. St Paul's, The Shard, The Royal Festival Hall one side, and The Eye and Parliament the other. I agree it's one of the best times of day to see it in all it's glory. You've captured the essence of the place perfectly. I just LOVE your London posts!! It sounds like you all had a fab time, and enjoyed the festive frivolity. Thank you SO much for sharing your trip out and your stunning pics x

  6. So magical to visit London at Christmas time. I did it once and just loved it! Love the night pictures and the moving horses with the two men in black hats!

  7. Oh my goodness!! I have been so looking forward to your/my trip to Camden Market!! It looks a fabulous place for a rummage!! That is on my list for next year, when I have got my stamina back!! Had a couple of rough months so have enjoyed all your jaunts even more than usual!! Have a lovely Christmas and all good wishes to you for 2015. And thank you for your amazing and very interesting writings, also for introducing me to places I did't even know existed!!! X

  8. I have never...ever...seen anything like this! I like things a little different so I would love this area! And the necklaces? Oh my! I would not be able to decide which one I like best! But it's just what I love to wear. And the Santas are great fun! I'm sure you could have taken photos every where you looked! WOW! What a great place to go during the holidays! Sweet hugs, Diane

  9. I so want to travel to England and go on a Pub crawl too! That sounds delightful. Thank you for sharing your London with us. Happy Christmas from across the pond. :)

  10. What a wonderful day out. I fell in love with Camden when we went two years ago. It's so vibrant. Your photos of london at night look wonderful with the twinkling lights.
    Ali xx

  11. Another lovely day out! I showed my "Camden" the pictures and I think now, at the ripe old age of 6, he finally believes me that there are places in the world that share the same name as him!!

  12. Holy noodle cakes there were a lot of people there wow and all the santas holy wow.

    Oh those treats look sooooo goooood,................I need some sugar.

    REALLY love those ceiling lamps absolutely beautiful!

    It is so satisfying to see places in this world that still hold onto their yearly traditions it's beautiful and I wish they had holiday events out here.

    Beautiful and I really enjoyed those thank you so much for sharing Chel. ♥

  13. I enjoyed the tour of London. It's the only way I will ever get to see it. TFS

  14. Chel, I thoroughly enjoyed your day in Camden Town and the other locations around London. Our Breckenridge Santas must have flown over to London for the day! My husband always orders Sticky Toffee if it's on the menu.

  15. wow! my goodness what beautiful pictures...london i just will once in my life to visit there....

  16. What a fun and colorful day for you and the girls! I imagine they were thrilled with all the sights and sounds. Those hanging laterns are so beautiful. The brownie pops look quite tasty, London is beautiful at night...especially the London Eye! So cool. Have a blessed Sunday.

    Hugs, Vicky

  17. I'm off to London next week - first visit in many many years - this post has given me a flavour of what I might expect - to a country bumpkin like me it all looks a little bit scary!

  18. Some of those Santas are going to have to get a move on to grow beards in time for Christmas. I can't help but wonder what my Great-Grandmother, who lived in Camden around 1910, would make of it now. If you'd said that last shot was a deliberately artistic interpretation of the scene then few would have disbelieved you.

  19. Great photos , hope you managed to get some shopping done too! I haven't been to Camden for years but your photos totally capture its spirit.

  20. I enjoyed your tour in Camden Town so much. London really is the place to be in Christmas time. I can imagine your girls went crazy being in Camden. And all those Santas, my favourite one is the one on your very first picture, haha.

  21. Hi Cheryl,
    Thanks for bringing us along. I thoroughly enjoyed my day out with you!
    Happy Christmas to you and yours,
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  22. Hi Chel!!!! I was looking at your pics with my boys and they liked them,too! Luckily we are going to London just after Christmas, so we could have the opportunity to visit Camden!!!!
    xxxxxxx Ale

  23. Thanks for sharing a tour of your day in London. So many lovely things to do. My paternal grandparents lived in England until they came to Canada. As I look through your photos and you describe the places you visited I can't help but think that my ancestors may have been in those places at one time. Thanks for visiting our Canadian Christmas home tour and for your kind comments.

  24. I have never been to Camden Town and now I seriously want to go! I would have loved to have seen all of those Santas!! That would have cracked my kids up! I have never spent Christmas in London... I have arrived Boxing day... and just before, but never Christmas... I shall one day soon!
    Much love to you Chel and Merry Christmas!
    Tammy xx

  25. Great pictures, this used to be a regular haunt for me a Saturday. Love the Santas, what a sight! x

  26. You don't know how lucky you are to live just a train/tube ride away from such a vibrant city!! Everything looks amazing and really fun!! Glad you enjoyed your trip, and that your girls had such a blast too. Have a great week Chel. Wendy x

  27. Lovely photos, and it looks such fun with all the Santas. I haven't been to Camden, must get over there on our next visit.

  28. Lovely visit to Camden Town and seeing London at night so good. I bet it was a treat seeing all those Santas in one place.

  29. This was so interesting to see. What fun to visit at the Christmas season. Camden Town looks like a lot of fun. You got some great pictures of everything. Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful week.

  30. What a fun filled day you had. I love London at Christmas time. My favourite area is around New Bond Street because the shop windows and street decorations are fabulous.

  31. I was only in England once, in the summer, but I think I would be magical at Christmas.

  32. Wow Chel, that looks amazing...Santas and London. I really need to organise a visit soon but until then your pictures are amazing. N X

  33. What an amazing trip into London! Camden Town looks like a fun place to wander and shop. And all those Santas! Wow! Love the lights of London. Some day.....

  34. A smashing post, Chel, with some wonderful pictures. Sewing machines seems to be a thing with All Saints (which I had previously thought was a girl band until I saw one of their shops); but where do they get them all from??!

  35. Hi Chel, so glad your trip into the city of London was so nice for you and the girls. I would have loved being there too. The shopping looks like fun. I like how the building look on the outside - so cool! The food sounds like it was amazing too. I love those Santas! We have the same thing too in NYC and it's so much fun to see. London is so pretty at night time. I really miss it and can't wait to go back. Enjoy the rest of the week.
    Julie xoxo

  36. So that's where all the Santas live... Never would have guessed ;)

  37. Looks like you had a gerat day out. I love all those lamps.

  38. I love this post! I can't tell you how much! We were in London in September and I am still missing it even now.
    I love that gluten free Almond apple cake, my husband was so pleased with all the great gluten free foods in England!
    And I love the Christmas tree that is always given from Norway!! I always hope to see it on someone's blog and you have given me my wish!! Happy Christmas to you!
    ( I am the only American you will meet who is homesick for London! I know, it's crazy!!!) xx

  39. Nice colourful and lively post, lots of Santas and a superb night shot of County Hall. The sewing machines remind me of a similar display in a shop window in the middle of Glasgow but no-where near the scale that you depict here.


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