In December we spent a few days in London – the prime reason was to visit a relative who was no longer fit to travel to us for Christmas. While we were there, we explored places which were decked out to encourage shoppers.
We visited Borough Market for the first time. The area, as you can imagine, was bustling with people. The place is easy to find because it is located near to London Bridge railway station in Southwark. The market mainly sells a great variety of artisan foodstuffs. We enjoyed discovering the atmospheric passageways, which date back to 1756, although a market existed in the area since the middle ages. What is surprising is the fact that the market is a registered charity. There are other interesting things to see like Southwark Cathedral, the Clink Museum and unusual shops. We went into a pop-up art gallery, which was totally wierd!
Oxford Street was not that enjoyable. it was overcrowded with shoppers wielding umbrellas to protect themselves from the pouring rain. After dodging all the puddles, we decided to go into Selfridges for a cuppa and a sit down – no chance – queues everywhere. However, we finally found a pleasant restaurant called Caffe Concerto. There was an extensive menu – but most importantly a great selection of cakes!
Trafalgar Square was attractive with the fountains lit up. There was a Willy Wonka sculpture made entirely out of chocolate! There was also a giant menorah lit up for Chanukah – the Jewish festival of lights. Most impressive was the 25 metres high Christmas tree. it is a Norwegian spruce, a gift from the people of Norway to London, in thanks for Britain’s support in World War II. In the centre of the square was a Crib, and each day from December 11th there is Carol singing in aid of charities led by the choir of St Martins in the Fields church, which is nearby.
I am in two minds about visiting London in December again though. It was far too crowded for me -hobbling around on my stick! Queues everywhere and standing room only on the tube trains. When we first arrived at Euston Station we entered a lift packed with passengers and their luggage.After a minute the lift broke down and the “don’t panic” announcement sounded from the speaker. No help came. Eventually one of the passengers prised the doors open and we escaped. Of course, we then had to climb up the stairs with our luggage. On some underground stations there was no lift – just the escalators. At St Pancras – no lift working – and we had to negotiate walking down a broken escalator. Not fun! One gentleman had two enormous suitcases. Even for an able-bodied person it would be a challenge.
We will definitely be staying in London again in 2024, there is so much to see and discover. We will return – but not in December!