We’re back in England for a few weeks, and started our trip in London this time.

London. Gotta love it. Beautiful architecture, wonderful food and gorgeous shopping arcades. This one is on Regent Street.

Our usual schedule is to take an overnight flight, land at Heathrow in the wee hours, pick up our rental car and drive to the most remote portion of our itinerary (like Northumberland or Cornwall), then work our way backdown to London to finish up.

We’re getting smarter (or older). This time round we took a day flight and landed in London in the evening, UK time, and went straight to our hotel for a glass of wine, a bite to eat and a reasonably early night. An oasis of sanity and serenity!

We took a couple of days to get acclimatized and happily wandered about, did a bit of shopping, had some great food and generally got ourselves “sorted” as the Brits would say.

This pub is near our hotel. We stopped for a pint (beer in Glenn’s case, cider in mine).

We usually stay in the St. James’s area, just up the road from Buckingham Palace and abutting Green Park. I’m struck anew, every time, at just how extensive the park system is right in central London.

I love the old world architecture and the stately street lamps on every corner. This building is on St. James’s Street, just approaching the corner where it meets Piccadilly.

 

At the corner, you turn right to go to Piccadilly Circus or left to go towards Knightsbridge with Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the other big department stores.

In case you’re still dazed from jet lag, or just too preoccupied with looking around, these signs are  everywhere to try and keep tourists from getting flattened by the very vigorous drivers, who give absolutely no quarter to pedestrians, believe me.

One of our excursions was to the Goodwood Revival, a vintage car event held every September near Chichester. We base ourselves in London and take the train down as it’s nearly impossible to get accommodation in and around Chichester due to the popularity of the event. Here are Glenn and I in our 1940’s era period costumes; the event is a spectacular display of both vintage cars and fashion, and most of the attendees are dressed in garb from the 1920s through to the 1960s. It’s loads of fun. 

 

The cars that race over the three days are all 1960s and older. The racing itself is very exciting; in many cases the cars are driven by retired or current Formula 1 drivers, so the races are no Sunday saunters – they’re moving! 

On the third day of the Revival, Glenn went off on his own, leaving me to putter about London by myself (oh, the hardship…). I set out, iPhone in hand to snap pictures and generally poke about. I had breakfast at Paul’s on Piccadilly and wandered through the Piccadilly Arcade afterward. 

Wouldn’t you love an excuse to wear one of these coats? Happy sigh.

St. James’s, historically, was a men-only district. During the Regency period, no young lady of quality would be caught dead within miles of the place. Today, it’s still renowned for its fashion-forward collection of menswear, particularly for formal events (think wedding scenes in Four Weddings and a Funeral). 

George Bryan Brummell, or  “Beau Brummell” as he was known, was the leader of fashion during the Regency period.

 

His statue is at the base of Piccadilly Arcade.

Women are not forgotten, you will be relieved to know. I’m always entranced by the tiaras, and joke that I really need a “starter tiara” to wear around the house, whilst doing the dishes, say, or taking a bath.

This is one of the shop windows at Fortnum & Mason, on which I’m going to do a separate post – there is so much to see there!

Ok – just one more for now – (sorry for the glare from the windows – it was hard to get a good shot).

I walked down past St. James’s Palace and was very saddened to see the pedestrian safety barricades that have been erected to combat the spate of vehicular terrorist attacks. All traffic is now completely halted around Buckingham Palace between 10 am and 12 pm, when the changing of the guard occurs. Sign of the times, unfortunately.

I walked through the Park towards Sloane Square, one of the very lovely shopping districts.


St. James’s Park is particularly known for its huge variety of waterfowl.

I was very amused to come across this parade of ducks. The two on the right got held up by the approach of a vicious dog (kidding – I think it was a Havanese) and took their time joining their companions through a hole under the fence.

Surprisingly, given the weather, London has a lot of outdoor cafes.

This is one of my favourites.  The salads are outstanding. (Again – please forgive the quality of the photographs. I was experimenting with whether I could get away with using just the iPhone on my shopping excursion. The answer – no. There really is a difference between an iPhone and a DSLR…)

I got a bit turned around and found myself in the home decor part of town. Well – not a bad place to end up!

Finally made it to Sloane Square. Cadogan Hall is a renowned concert hall in the area.

I went into Zara Home and coveted the very fun children’s bedding and tableware. Too much to take home in the suitcase, I’m afraid. I’d already bought a bunch of children’s clothing, so restrained myself.

I walked back through Harrods. I can never resist going in there to see the marvellous food halls.

Back through Green Park,

Past Lancaster House, where they filmed the palace scenes in The Crown. Last year, when we were walking to the train to take us to the Goodwood Revival, we were held up as they filmed a car scene approaching Buckingham Palace for Season II. It was very cool.

And back to the hotel. Glenn had a great time on the last day of the Goodwood Revival. I had a marvellous time just wandering around, out and about in London.

The next day we departed for Derbyshire. Destination: The Hunting Tower on the Chatsworth Estate. See that tiny little building up in the left hand corner of the second picture? That’s where we are staying next. Stay tuned!

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.

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