Tuesday 25 October 2022
Despite being exhausted after yesterday’s pub crawl/walk we both slept badly again – the room is just too hot and stuffy and the pedestal fan is too loud. We’ve decided that while we love the convenience of this hotel, we’ll never stay here again. Previous visits have been in December when it’s been cooler. It, however, is what it is.
Today is our last day with Heather and John. They’re off to the airport later this afternoon to begin the slog home to NZ – via a few days in Singapore. The specter of that long-haul flight is hanging over us too…
Whining aside, on with the day…which begins at The Shard for the short walk down to Borough Markets.
Even though we’ve visited before, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with these markets – and never get sick of wishing I could bring some of the produce home with me.
Merchants first began trading grain, fish, vegetables and livestock down here near the riverside over a thousand years ago. Parliament shut it down in 1775, but just two years later local residents reopened it – and it’s been going since.
Up until the 1990s it was mostly a wholesale market, but since then it’s blossomed into a foodie destination.
We had the usual oysters and prosecco and three of us shared a massive (and very good) sausage roll… now, that’s what I call a balanced breakfast!
From here we set off to walk over London Bridge to head back toward the city…
Past the monument to The Great Fire…
…and to Leadenhall Markets.
Located in Gracechurch Street (if you’ve read Pride and Prejudice, this is the street Mr and Mrs Gardiner lived in…) Leadenhall Market dates back to 1321. Originally a meat, poultry and game market it’s situated in what was the centre of Roman London and what is now the financial centre of the city.
The building with its airy and light wrought iron and glass structure has been here since 1881, having replaced the original stone market previously created by Lord Mayor of London, Dick Whittington in the 15th Century.
The last time we were here it was decorated for Christmas, this time it was all about pride – and an octopus which I can only imagine was for Halloween.
We were here primarily because on our last visit to London together John had a pie he’d been talking about ever since. The mission was to go back to the same pub for another.
This time we were disappointed. I ordered a minestrone soup (that I barely touched) and Grant and John had a pie and mash they didn’t enjoy. Heather’s fish and chips were declared to be okay.
From here it was back to the tube bound for Piccadilly Circus and Jermyn Street where Heather and John had been staying.
This part of town is posh and full of shops that sell (mostly gentlemens) handmade shoes, suits and accessories and it’s fair to say their hotel is posh enough that it doesn’t need a noisy pedestal fan to move the hot air around. Before we say goodbye to them there is, however, time for a poke around in Paxton & Whitfield, a cheesemonger that’s been purveying fine cheeses since 1797 and has a swag of royal warrants to prove how fine the cheeses are.
Tongues firmly out of cheeks, this is a lovely street to wander and while you know that the bustle of Piccadilly is just on the other side of Fortnum & Mason, here it feels quieter and somehow removed from that.
Back into the bustle, we loiter around the windows and displays at Cath Kidston – which have been decorated for Bake-Off …
before heading into Fortnum & Mason…where Christmas has begun to happen. The windows are in the process of being Christmas-fied, the shopfront has been turned into the annual Advent calendar…
…and the Christmas shop is buzzing.
There we engage in one of our favourite games – the quest to find the most expensive Christmas crackers. It’s still October so not everything is out yet, but this hamper containing six crackers (below) for £1000 would have to be a contender.
My back is killing me again and every step hurts. I suspect it’s the weight of my handbag, although after yesterday I removed everything other than my phone and wallet. That and the fact that I haven’t been doing the strength work I do at home or seen my chiro in 6 weeks. It absolutely would have nothing to do with having put on even more weight while we’ve been away…absolutely not. With that thought in mind, we head into The Parlour for a seat, a cup of tea, and a scone…in that order.
The Parlour, adjacent to the Christmas shop in Fortnum’s is clearly aimed at children and ice creams – and today, it being half-term, there are plenty of them about.
We order tea and share a plate of scones and a Scotch egg. And yes, in the pic below I have put my cream on first – only because it’s clotted cream that spreads like butter.
From here more wandering – through the Burlington Arcade past the Royal Academy of Arts, along Saville Row with their workshops busy making bespoke garments, down Regent Street (where the Christmas lights are up, but not yet turned on) to Carnaby Street and Liberty of London (where I took pics of the window displays), before catching the tube back to Victoria at Oxford Circus.
Because I’m so sore dinner is close to the hotel tonight – Dim T, a (mostly) Thai restaurant in Belgravia, just a ten minute walk away.
Tomorrow we’re off to Greenwich so potentially another big walking day. I think this time though I’ll leave my handbag at home and see if that makes a difference.
Hi Jo, what a wonderful day exploring this area of London. As always your photos are amazing and I feel like I’m there. I’ve been to London several times but don’t remember the Borough Markets as a couple of those sausage rolls have my name on them. Next time I’m in London (next year), I will be there for sure – thanks to you. xx
I could eat this post! OMG, all the pictures look amazing. It’s always sad to return somewhere and not have it be as good (that’s sort of been the whole Prague thing).
As to your back- that’s so hard when you are traveling. One tries to do the right stuff, but it’s hard when away. Definitely scrap the handbag. My other half and I share caring a very small backpack, but honestly, he carries it 80% of the time. He’s been so good this time – first, the ribs fractures as we were leaving, and then the blinking toe fracture. Bernie
Hi, Jo – I’m with Sue and Bernie. The next time that I am London, I will check several of these places out — beginning with the street Mr and Mrs Gardiner lived in — and then make the whole thing an eating tour!
So sorry to hear that your back was acting up but it does look like such a fun day of wandering and browsing and eating.
Markets and walking the streets of London – yes to both. I can imagine that the lack of a handbag will make a difference. I will just have to wait for the next instalment.