Sunday 28 February 2016

Berry Bros. and Rudd

Opening in St James's in 1698, still at the same premises it occupies today Berry Bros & Rudd are a wines and spirits merchant.

Since the reign of George III they have supplied the royal family.

The photos below were taken this year just before Valentine's Day.

Post settings Labels Bits of London, London, Occasional Tourist Schedule Permalink Location St James's St, London, UK Search Description Options Send feedback

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Horses of Piccadilly Circus

The Horses of Helios is a bronze sculpture by Rudy Weller. The statue is located on the corner of Piccadilly Circus and Haymarket.

Helios, the Greek God of the Sun, rides a chariot drawn by his four horses, Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon, from East to West every day.

The statue was unveiled by HRH Princess Michael of Kent in January 1992 and dedicated a 'charity fountain' for the Disabled Living Foundation in 1994, again by Princess Michael.

Friday 5 September 2014

Tall Ships Regatta

Since about a month ago the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been gearing up for the visit (and conclusion) of the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta.

Greenwich has a rich maritime history, Henry VIII famously building ships in dockyards in both Deptford and Woolwich. The observatory on the hill has a ball that drops every day at noon GMT by which ships used to set their clocks (assisting in finding their longitude).

Now it is perhaps better known as the home of the Cutty Sark (famous tea clipper) seen on TV every year by those watching the televised coverage of the London Marathon - the runners round it on their journey out of Greenwich.

The events in Greenwich (which also extends up and down the river) are commencing tonight and details of the many events can be found here. Apparently it has been visiting Greenwich since 2012 and I have somehow never noticed before.

Lamp-post banner seen in August

Charlton railway station this morning

Novotel Elements Bar decked out

Poster at Cutty Sark DLR

Crowds at Cutty Sark gardens

Cutty Sark and the Greenwich foot-tunnel

The Cutty Sark expecting weekend queues

Not so tall ship giving tours

Boats moored up at a floating dock

Moored down at the Peninsula

Another tour boat

Captain Nat

Cutty Sark decked out with flags

Tea stand by the tea clipper

Cutty Sark peeking through 

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Grosvenor Square

Like a lot of squares in and around Mayfair, Grosvenor Square has beautiful gardens in the centre. Like many gardens these were once for the exclusive use of residents of the surrounding properties ,but are now maintained by the Royal Parks department for the enjoyment of the public.

One of the squares most famous residents (for the last thirty years, anyway) is the American Embassy on the west side of the square (number 1) and the monuments in the square are strongly influenced by this.

Amused by the back of this street sign!

9/11 Memorial Garden (man with a leaf blower out of shot)

Eagle Squadron monument

President Roosevelt

Top of the American Embassy

Autumn sunshine in Grosvenor Square

9/11 Memorial up close (railing painter out of shot)

Grosvenor Square is named after the Grosvenor family who originally developed it (as are many of the squares and streets in St James's, Mayfair and other parts of the City of Westminster. It is now populated with the ubiquitous London Plane tree; although probably was once more elegant. The railings that enclose it (which once kept the populace out!) were replaced after the Ssquiecond World War - the originals having been melted down for the war effort.

The Second World War theme continues with Eagle Squadron Memorial commemorating over 200 American pilots who served with RAF fighter pilots in the Eagle Squadrons before the US joined the Second World War.

The origin of the statue of Roosevelt seems less straight forward, having been erected by public donation and inception to "a committee of the pilgrims of Great Britain".

The 9/11 memorial garden was officially opened in 2003. Each column of the wooden pergola is carved from a single trunk of an oak tree. The planting is inspired by flowers presented to the Queen during a memorial service at Westminster Abbey. The garden also contains the remains of a piece of steel structure from the buildings encased in resin.

There is of course, also plenty of local wildlife knocking around including squirrels, pigeons (they get everywhere) and even some office workers!!

Saturday 19 July 2014

The View from the Shard

Until The Shard opened, London was the only city in Europe whose tallest building didn't have a viewing platform.

The Shard puts this right in style. Tickets are sold in 30 minute slots to avoid huge queues (as I remember from my trip to the World Trade Centre back in 1999) but there is no limit to the time you spend on the viewing platforms at levels 69 (inside) and 72 (outside).

We went there on the opening day back in February 2013; it is pretty much the same now as then, but with a few touches of finesse (some 'sights' plaques on cardinal viewpoints, some astroturf on the external platform and a champagne bar).

It isn't cheap (about £27 a head in advance and an extra £5 on the day). The express lifts fly you to the sky lobby and before you know it you are up viewing. 

The first time we went it was the lower view followed by the external platform, this time we went to the top first and then down to the inside area. All of the staff are unfailing cheerful, polite and helpful - they clearly love their jobs (and to be fair, it's a job I wouldn't mind!).

There is a small shop at Level 68 and a larger shop on the way out, where you can also buy the almost standard shot of your party, taken in front of a green screen on your way in and then put in front of a choice of views. Compared to similar deals at the London Eye and London Zoo you don't get much for your money here... but that is the only fault I can find with the whole experience!

Friday 18 July 2014

Messing about on the River

Taking a trip along the Thames is still one of the best ways to see London. There are a number of options you can use; but if you already have a travelcard you will get a discount on a Thames Clipper fare; their various routes cover Woolwich to Putney and in between. If you alight at North Greenwich on an empty boat on a quiet day you can take a seat out the back and watch the scenery unfold (you may get splashed a bit).

OT River Trip

An album by nat_grove
2014-07-18 14.00.262014-07-18 14.06.512014-07-18 14.07.09
2014-07-18 13.36.392014-07-18 13.44.05
2014-07-18 13.47.582014-07-18 13.57.59
2014-07-18 15.08.302014-07-18 15.21.34

The Thames forces its way through London; almost as if London was there first and the river had to find its way through! Canary Wharf pops up all over the place as you round the Isle of Dogs and the same is true of most of the route. If you don't know London then one of the guided tours may be more educational!