July 25, 2004
Sightseeing Sunday

It’s often said that Londoners don’t see enough of their own city. I for one would have to agree with this - I have spent so many years travelling through and working in Central London - that I haven’t really seen London from the point of view of a tourist as often as I would have liked. But occasionally, the Route79 family do try to make an adventure of a Sunday morning - and hop on the tube down to Central London whilst (hopefully) most Londoners are still in bed.

Today’s plan was to get the Jubilee Line into town. Go play football for a while in Green Park. Pop over to Buckingham Palace to watch Changing the Guard - and then stroll back along Piccadilly and up Shaftesbury Avenue into Chinatown - get some lunch (Dim Sum perhaps?) and then on towards Leicester Square to get a tube back home.

Riding the Jubilee Line into town.
(I’ve noticed that undersized kids just love sitting on those side-seat things.)

The band that plays all the pompous music that accompanies the Changing the Guard ceremony often break into tunes that sounds really familar. Today, amongst all the traditional Royal pompy stuff - they played the theme from Thunderbirds. (Please DO click this previous link - you will thoroughly enjoy it if you remember Thunderbirds from childhood!) I’ve had that music on my brain all day. Even right now - as I type - I just can’t seem to get it out of my head.

Changing the Guard ceremony.

Click the MORE below to continue … (quite a few more pictures)

Well - we had hoped that most of London would still be in bed - but it turns out that most of London was actually out to see the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The place was so crowded! We managed to get a space on a marble-white wall near the water-feature adjacent to the Victoria Memorial - which is the big statue right opposite the gates to Buckingham Palace.

Sitting on a wall at Victoria Memorial

Walking back along Piccadilly - towards Piccadilly Circus - we stopped to jokingly contemplate having a “cup of tea and a slice of cake” at the Ritz. But just like every time we have done this in the past - we jokingly contemplate about doing it some other time! There is a uniformed guy standing guard at the entrance to the Ritz Club - and he has a spare peaked cap which he places on the head of any child that goes up to him to pose for a photo! And that’s the place I took the following picture from:

Alternative view of the famous “Ritz” sign

Just before Piccadilly Circus - there is a very old church called “St.James Church Piccadilly” - designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1684. The interesting thing about this Church is the fact that it had a grapevine growing in its garden - which trails over the fence and onto the street-side on Piccadilly. And remarkably - there are big bunches of grapes growing on it! I have to admit I’ve never seen a grape vine at all in my life - until today.

Bunches of grapes growing at a church on Piccadilly!

Lunch in Chinatown - followed by browsing around curiosity shops. A strange mixture of traditional British, traditional Chinese, hardcore porn and second-hand music.

Chinese lanterns

And a final wander around Leicester Square. Too full to bother with banana-split ice cream at the Swiss Centre - we made our way back down underground.

Leicester Square tube station

The largely empty tube train carriages on the way back home are compelling playgrounds for the younger generation. Especially all that space around those yellow poles …

Empty train carraige = kids playground

Posted by jag at July 25, 2004 05:01 PM

Have you taken your daughter to the Museum of London yet ? Fave outing with The Boy is Museum of london (St Paul’s tube), then tube to Lancaster Gate, accross the Park via Peter Pan statue, eating a packed lunch while watching pedalos on the serpentine, carry on accross to Harrod’s, have a look at the toy dept, get a piece of fudge in the food hall then home on the Piccadilly line. Total cost 1 family travel card and £1.20 for fudge, can’t beat it.

Posted by: stroppycow on July 25, 2004 08:28 PM

That’s the emptiest tube carriage I’ve ever seen - crikey!

Great photos, as usual

Posted by: Vicky on July 25, 2004 08:30 PM

By the way, I just got rerouted to an error page upon submitting that last comment…

Posted by: Vicky on July 25, 2004 08:31 PM

Those side-seat things are also my favourite place in the tube, although I’m not exactly “undersized”. ;)

Posted by: Maxx on July 25, 2004 08:40 PM

Stroppycow: I haven’t taken the kids to Museum Of London yet - but I have been there a few years ago with Ms.79 when we were first dating! I used to work in the City you see - so on occasions me and the Ms.79-to-be used to meet up and go for lunch or something - and we once did go to Museum of London. That was quite a few years ago - and haven’t been back since - even though it’s a stone’s throw from where I often work today too! Thanks for the tip though - we will bear that in mind for our next Sunday outing. And I have to agree with you re the great value: a Family travelcard is SUCH good value! And we LOVE fudge too! Thanks!

Vicky: yes - if you confine the Sunday morning adventure to just the morning/lunch - then you can ride back in the early afternoon on the tubes without any of the crowds! Cheers!
(By the way - your “duck” picture whilst you were away was rather striking.)

Oh - and I am aware of the “error” page on comment submission - haven’t worked out what the problem is yet - perhaps I need to upgrade my MT installation? :-( (The comments seem to be accepted fine though for now!)

Maxx: yes - I have to agree - those side-seat things are quite convenient for “oversized” people too. I often perch on them myself!

Posted by: Jag on July 25, 2004 09:10 PM

That sounded like a great day, Jag :)

I used to love Covent Garden on a Sunday - fabulous buskers and cool stalls.

Posted by: Fi on July 26, 2004 04:04 AM

A virtual one day tour of Central London. Quite a vicarious way of enjoying whilst not being there.
The Changing of Gaurds ceremony is Classic British. Especially when seen fully vibrant in documentaries and serials. I wonder when it originated.

Posted by: sat on July 26, 2004 04:59 AM

Hi Fi - thanks - haven’t been to Covent Garden for AGES !

Sat: According to the link that I provided to the Royal website - the ceremony dates back to 1660. I agree with you it is very colourful and very British.

Posted by: Jag on July 26, 2004 07:51 AM

Oh this brings back memories, but heck, they’ve all faded. I have the definite impression that my family did all the London sights with us before I was 5, so even as a child they were pretty hazy. It’s time for a rerun soon as I’ve promised Senior Chef that, one day, I’ll whisk him off to London for a long weekend and tour of the sights and perhaps even a visit to the little old Auntie in Queensbury who has never seen him (Ohhh, innee biggg!!!).

Posted by: David on July 26, 2004 10:38 AM

Brilliant photos - I’m amused and feel impressed that you chose the exact same lantern display in Chinatown to photo for your blog that I did. What’s the saying … great minds think alike…? :)

Posted by: Vanessa on July 27, 2004 02:55 AM

David: I’m sure Senior Chef will be really pleased! That would be a great adventure I’m sure: Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, The Ritz, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Science Museum - and Queensbury! :-)

Vanessa: thx! Yes - I like to think it’s great minds anyway! More likely it’s the fact that one can’t quite help being drawn to the lantern colours swinging gently in the breeze.

Posted by: Jag on July 27, 2004 01:39 PM

cant’ remember the tubes either looking so empty or so clean.
the pics look lovely as usual.
this is my fav spot for nostalgia. incidentally i discovered a book in my collection from the “alperton” library:)

Posted by: Harini Calamur on July 29, 2004 02:51 AM

Harini: Thanks for the comment re the pics. You still have a book you didn’t return to the library? Naughty! :-)

Posted by: Jag on July 30, 2004 10:03 PM

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