Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Where Shall We Go On Our Journey Today... St Paul's and the South Bank, London

Yes, you've guessed it, I've done it yet again!  Cathedral climbing seems to be a new thing in my life and I didn't realise just how painful fun it can be!  For those who follow me on Instagram (a new toy for me), you will know that the train tickets were ordered and I was counting down the hours for when we would hop on the train back to my home town.  So, you know the drill - cup of tea and a McVities chocolate digestive in hand and let me take you on another journey to old London town.  
The iconic dome of St Paul's Cathedral is so beautiful and can be seen from all over the City.  I have visited it so many times, but the highest I've ever been is to the Whispering Gallery and that was when I was about ten years old!  So, feeling brave with my two teens and their friend, we started our ascent!  Photos are not allowed inside the Cathedral so I will have to describe our experience.  The first climb is along very shallow, wide, windy stairs taking you up to the gallery.  These were more modern than expected and never ending - no rest breaks here!  These take you 30 metres up (257 steps!).  The first thing you have to do is sit at the side to get your breath and then listen to messages being said from the other side of the dome.  These were a little confusing as there were so many!  But to be a little closer to the dome's ceiling brought so many happy memories back to me.

Then a little door invited us to go to the next level.  This time the stairs were narrower and stone - another 119 steps taking us to 53 metres from the Cathedral floor!  This time we could go out onto the balcony and look at the City from this height (and take photos!!).  Here we could see the Millennium Bridge leading us to the Tate Modern with the Strata Tower (the Razor) in the distance.
 Moving around you can't miss the London Eye as the Thames bends round to Westminster from Charing Cross Station.
And then the newer buildings gradually popping up with the Isle of Dogs in the distance, Canary Wharf and Greenwich (regular readers will know Greenwich as my 'happy' place).  There's the 'Cheesegrater',  the 'Walkie Talkie', the 'Guerkin'.  So many nicknames!!
With water consumed and legs beginning to feel every movement, we took the plunge and decided to climb the last set of stairs to the top!  152 more steps to climb making us 85 metres from the Cathedral floor.  Want to see?...
You can just make out the spiral staircase that we had climbed.  It hurt!  I mean really hurt!!  But there was one photo I just had to take.  So many photos are taken of the Cathedral looking up with it's two towers and then the central dome, but I wanted this shot...
By now we were in pain but this view down the dome to the west front with the tiny London red buses was worth it!!  Another climb, another Cathedral!

After more refreshments, we made our descent, slowly, painfully, but we got back down to the ground and made our way towards the Millennium Bridge.  Near to the Bridge and looking back towards the Cathedral you come across the National Fire Fighters Memorial.  This was originally depicting the fire personnel during the Second World War but is now a memorial to all fire fighters.
Ok, are you still with me?  Let's take a walk over the Millennium Bridge.
This shot was taken from the South Bank looking back at St Paul's.  The bridge is full of wonderful sights but my favourite part is when you see the city etched on the side to give you some idea of what you are seeing.
Both up and down the river.
There are artists on the bridge too.  This one I could have spoken to for hours!  His art is to paint on blots on the landscape... namely chewing gum left on the floor.  Ben Wilson is a bit of a celebrity and the link here is really worth a read as to why he does this.  As he paints the chewing gum, he is not defacing the bridge, and his work is so intricate and so much better to look at than the faceless, awful gum that is left behind.  As we walked along, we could see more and more of his work (the photo has an overlay of a close up of what he was currently working on).
On the other side we took a quick look at the Globe Theatre...
... and the Tate Modern.
On we went to the South Bank to take in some of the vibrancy of this great place.  Wherever you look there is something to see.  The suited man after a paddle in the Thames...
The smoking trumpeter, yes when he played there was smoke coming out!
The happy juggler! 
The pink double decker bus selling frozen yoghurt!
Such a wonderful, colourful place and great for teenagers!!
 But here was the main reason why we had come to the South Bank.  Miss Teen loves street art and wanted to see the skate park and the graffiti tunnel.  Unfortunately we couldn't find the tunnel but we found the skate park! (the first shot was taken by Miss Teen - she loved this place!)

 So, we started to head home, albeit slowly with the amount of walking and climbing we had done.  How I wish we could have jumped on this boat!
A pit stop at Green Park was needed, an ice cream while sitting on a bench.
And then a visit to the Palace...

I think the Police Woman was telling a joke and the Soldier just wasn't getting it...
 I love the little details that surround Buckingham Place.
 And of course, lanterns!  I love lanterns!!
 The Mall with it's red tarmac looked pretty empty compared with the crowds that were surrounding this place.
 With Queen Victoria looking out across London.
 So, after a very long and tiring day, it was time to turn our back on my home town.
 We will be back soon to follow the dolphin lamps.
And so, as I sit here (unable to stand up!), I do hope you have enjoyed your painless trip along this little part of the River Thames.

Have a wonderful weekend and week.

Take care.

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  1. Hi Chel! How fun! I remember St. Paul's because of Mary Poppins and the bird woman. I loved the tour! Thank you! You're a fun mama!

  2. So happy to take this virtual walk and climb with you! I needed that little vacation. So hard to choose a favorite photo today as weverything is absolutley breathtaking! The engravings along the bridge are absolutely amazing. I am off to read a little about the artist. Hope you have a lovely Sunday my friend!

    Blessings, Vicky

  3. Absolutely phenomenal photographs! I have never been to the top of St. Pauls but I did manage the Monument... I think I'll have to work up to St. Pauls... I don't want to have a heart attack in there!! haha :)
    Your Miss Teen takes great photographs as well, looks like it was a fantastic day!
    PS... I can't remember if I told you but.. I changed my blog address so I'm no longer on any of your follow lists, please note my new address, it's http://www.tlcukjourney.blogspot.com I miss my blogging friends!

  4. "Sweetbriar Dreams" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more visitors in your direction.


  5. Marvellous Chel. The climb to the top of St. Paul's was worth it for the pictures. I'm sure I've said it before, it's ages since we were in London, a place I associate too much with work. It's time to go back and see it through fresh eyes. So much has changed!

  6. So lovely to see these parts of London through your eyes and your great shots! Your skies look similar to our over here right now!
    My favourite shots are the lamps against the sky and the close up of the golden angel set off so well against the grey-blue sky!

  7. Whatever next abseiling down cathedral towers?Some wonderful views from up there!

  8. Aaah Chel, I just love our trips to London. Thanks for taking me along with you.


  9. I loved this post - I absolutely love London, although I am Midlands born and bred! We visited London this week, as usual we had a fantastic time. I love the way London "feels", such a vibrant atmosphere. I even love the drive into the city, so much to look at as one crawls along the A5!!!


  10. There was a fascinating documentary on Saint Paul's Cathedral just three days ago on TV so I really enjoyed that this is where you took us today. It also reminded me of fun memories when I took my pupils there as we were visiting place where Harry Potter had been shot. But we didn't go all the way up. Next time, I will, promise, and I'll remember to bring water ;)

  11. Well Chel, you did a bit of walking! But it's a great stroll from St P's across to Bankside. Loved your shot of Ludgate Hill - but I don't think I could suffer enough for my art to go up the dome! I enjoy London much more now that I'm not working in it quite as much as I used to. Lovely photos as usual - you have an excellent eye.

  12. What a fantastic visit! I have always wanted to see St Paul's, I watched a show about it not long ago and it looks so beautiful and historic. I love that window where you can look down at the floor, it must have been a little trippy to do that. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I did enjoy my painless walk along the Thames with you, it was lovely!! The view looking down into the cathedral is amazing, not a view that I have ever seen before in a picture or anywhere else come to that, and not one that many people get to see at all I would guess. It looks as though you had a great day, and the views from the massive climb were well worth it - well, I hope they were! xx

  14. I did visit London some years ago but I'd never heard of the gum-painting man before. Very interesting!
    Thanks for the tour.

  15. I just love trailing along with you it brings such wonderful memories. If I get back to London, I must have a climb, even if it hurts.

  16. You are amazing! What a lot of climbing but what an amazing view! I've enjoyed this posts and like so many that you do....I'll go back and look at the photos you took. It's hard to take it all in! I would never have been able to keep up! Hope you got to soak your legs in the tub! Have a wonderful week! Sweet hugs, Diane

  17. Oh St. Paul's was one place I didn't get to see! Next time for sure although I'm not sure I could handle all those stairs. Love all your trips around. I adore them!

  18. Oh, you are a brave woman climbing all those stairs, but the view is fantastic! So many different styles of buildings all together, from so many era's! I don't think I could have done it, mainly because of the vertigo that I felt just looking at the photos. Love the capture of the police woman and the guard. A beautiful city and thank you for taking us along. xo Karen

  19. Really nice mix of photos. I so enjoyed this post! The first shot, the overhead view, the graffiti and the second to last one are my favorites, but they're all wonderful!


  20. Whew, what an delightful day. I so enjoy all your wonderful travels. There is so much to see and in a day trip. What fun! I really must get back to London someday soon. Looks like the weather was really nice. Thank you for shring.

  21. I could never have done the steps or all the walking you did so I really appreciate you taking me around virtually! :o)

  22. Wow I am amazed at how much you did and all the walking and climbing in one day! What great photos you took also. I can't wait until I can go back and visit England again and I do miss it. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely week.

  23. I didn't realize you could climb up St. Paul's.. What fabulous views and I love that black and white photo of the Millennial Bridge.

  24. Wow Chel what shoes do you wear, that was one heck of a walk. As usual your photos are wonderful. I loved the colourful shots of the South Bank and the soldier made me smile. When I met my OH he was in the Scots Guards. He really didn't like tourists taking his photo and if possible he would move :)
    Ali xx

  25. I have been to London so many times but have never seen St. Paul's. I am usually there just to chill with friends so I miss all the tourist spots. I love city views so it looks like a worthwhile trek for me. Thanks for sharing, your blog is very nice, I will follow it :-)

    -Eimear {www.cutetravels.com}

  26. Have you recovered yet?! Looks a fabulous day out, loved the tour thank you. Just shown my teenage daughter the SNOG bus, such a british word!
    Wren x

  27. Hehe - think I've chosen to spend a London day wandering in very similar footsteps...


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