Street Art Tour of Camden

When the topic of street art in London crops up I always think of Spitalfields but last weekend I discovered the richness of work to be found in Camden. A while back now I went on a street art tour of the Brick Lane/Spitalfields area which I loved – see my blog post about it – so I was excited to be invited to join Nelly from Camden Street Art tours on a 2 hour explore of the back streets of Camden. Continue reading

Spring is a beautiful time to be in London

In 2013 the winter seemed to go on forever and it was chilly through much of March but April saw the blossom come out at last. The Brits are famous for being obsessed by the weather and this blog seems to be confirming that! 

Spring is a fabulous time in London and I’d like to share some photos taken during April so you can enjoy it too. 

Brits are always out, sitting or laying in a park at the slightest hint of sunshine:

Outdoor yoga – seems a bit public to me but they look like they are completely in to it:
 

My neighbour’s front garden is always a delight:
 

And this is just around the corner from me, pink magnolia trees in Notting Hill and a small garden, squeezing some daffs into a corner:
 

Camden Market and Camden Lock are great places to hang out and shop on a sunny day:

 

You can’t beat the Thames on a fine spring day, looking towards the east, on a boat or near the London Eye:

 

Even an April shower brings its own reward – a rainbow right over London:
 

Another famous sight that shines in the sun is Westminster Abbey. The red buses were on hire for a wedding  so we wondered if someone was getting married inside this great building – it’s not just for Wills and Kate!

Piccadilly Circus is a famous meeting and hanging out spot – never more than on a sunny day:

Primrose Hill offers fabulous views over London (how many landmark buildings can you name?) and you can hang out on the grass all day relaxing. The nearby streets have beautiful blossom:

 

 

Regent’s Park is home to an open air theatre that starts in mid May but before then you have the gracious gardens, good for strolling or playing in the fountains:
 

 

It’s another lovely day today, so I must head out to enjoy it!

Bye for now.
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon

 

 

 

3 top London markets!

My 3 favourite markets in London are Camden, Portobello and Spitalfields. They have a different feel and are in different parts of London but beware, don’t ever try to do more than one in a day or you will have a severe case of market overload!
Let’s go to Camden first. It’s in north London and is made up of several markets that cover a huge area around the Grand Union Canal’s lock which is why you’ll see many references to the lock and this can be another name for the markets. Camden market grows every time I visit and has mushroomed from being some stalls around the canal area to the massive redeveloped Stables area which is full of huge bronze horse statues as it was once a stable and horse hospital. There is always something new and one area which burnt down a couple years ago has been rebuilt and incorporates a fun cafe of Vespas (see photo)
One thing hasn’t changed in all the years I’ve been coming, is Camden fashion’s love of black and leather and outrageous visuals. There are tons of food stalls, clothes stalls, jewellery stalls but most of all clothes stalls. My last visit was rather sad as the news of Amy Winehouse’s death spread through the crowd while we were there and as fellow local, the stall holders felt a great affinity with her.

Camden is full-on over the weekend when they reckon 100,000 people visit, especially on a Sunday, but you can visit during the week tho’ don’t try going in the morning as no one is up! The streets leading to the market are amazing too, trading on the image of Camden of black leather and tattoos – see photo
Photos are: the lock and the market; Vespa cafe; classic shop entry!; Camden fashion; and, the street leading to the market.

 

Next we are off to east London to Spitalfields market where Sunday is the big day, tho’ again there are some markets during the week but unlike Camden, they are much smaller. On Sunday the square is humming with stalls manned by new designers just starting off with their creations – mostly clothes but other items too. They are always keen to tell you about their work and tell you about the creative process. Of course there are the food stalls and stalls with stuff you’ll see elsewhere but there is still a good selection of one offs. This market has grown recently and is now surrounded by large shops and well known restaurant chains but it has kept its buzz and is a great Sunday out.

There has been a market on this site since 1638 when fish, fowl and roots were sold here. The original market, specialising in wholesale fruit and vegetables was moved to new premises out of central London in 1991 and now it is at the centre of a busy market area. Close by is Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Truman Brewery so on a Sunday you can wander from one to the other and experience the amazing range of cultures and styles in London.

A key landmark in the area is the beautiful  Christ church built in the early 1700s which is the first photo. The others show the busy market trading .

 

Our final stop today is my favourite market because it is round the corner from where I live – Portobello Market. In fashionable west London this market is best visited on Saturday, as the other days of the week are a shadow of the bustle of the main day. The market lines both sides of Portobello Road and it changes character as you move down from antiques at the beginning, to fruit and veg, to general items, to a new designers section, a major second hand clothing section, a farmers market (with a seasonal pop up cinema!) and finally to the north African/Portuguese/Spanish section as you get to Golborne Road. The area where the antiques are is where you see the classic views of the brightly coloured houses that typify the road.

Portobello Road was the setting for Notting Hill the film and we still get lots of visitors trying to find the famous blue door and the travel bookshop. The market is also famous as a favourite Saturday activity for Paddington Bear who lived locally! Trading however dates back to the early 1900 when it was mainly fresh food with the antique traders arriving in the late 1940s and 1950s. 

Photos are: busy market day ; a quieter day with the food stalls and the Electric cinema; the beautiful coloured houses; and, the famous travel bookshop.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my favourite London markets – there are loads more, but that’s for another day.

Bye for now,
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk