Flying into London

As many of you will know I’ve been in Africa for 9 weeks working on a voluntary project in Ghana and then joining a tour of West Africa. It was an amazing adventure and I feel very happy that I played my part in building a primary school in a very hands-on way! Our tour took us on the roads less travelled in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia and Senegal and there are many stories to tell about these dusty red roads but they are for another time… Continue reading

Best view in London is from the Shard!

I’ve been watching the Shard grow from a hole in the ground to an amazing finished building which catches the eye where ever you are in central London.

This week I finally got round to going up it and it certainly lived up to all the hype I’d heard since its opening in February.  I awoke on Monday nervously looking at the sky as I really wanted a fine day. Western Europe’s tallest building can be hidden in or even above the clouds as I’d seen during the Jubilee river parade –  that famous day of dreadful weather when the top of the Shard disappeared into the clouds! However, it turned out to be a fine morning and I reckon having been there that a visit would be fun even in poorer weather. Continue reading

5 big reasons why we love the River Thames!

Here at It’s Your London we love the River Thames and this week’s blog will give you 5 big reasons why:

1. Number one has to be Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic sights in London. If you are lucky you can catch it as it opens and here are 3 shots of the levers up to allow passing traffic. One of the shots is really unusual as the sides are completely open to allow a tall ship through.
Tower Bridge was built in 1894 and the design is an amazing arrangement which allows traffic to flow by road and by river with the minimum disruption and they can open and close it in just a few minutes. It is situated next to the Tower of London making an amazing pair of sightseeing treats.


2. Number two reason is that there is always a great event going on.  In the last month we’ve had the inspirational swim by David Walliams. He swam the full length of the Thames, a daunting 140 miles, for the charity Sport Relief, raising over £1 million pounds for his efforts.  We rushed down to catch him coming out of the water for the last time and then could see him being interviewed by Lenny Henry holding a bottle of dubious looking water! The Thames does has fish in it in now so it reasonably clean but definitely not for drinking!

Then on the south bank of the river a set of beautifully decorated life sized gorillas appeared to publicise their plight as endangered species. They were fabulous – just another day on the river bank!

3. Number three is the Thames Barrier – an extraordinary feat of engineering that saves London from major floods and keeps the river under control. It’s out in the east of London and you can visit to see how it works and also see what a beautiful construction it is. Without this barrier London would be in great danger as climate change brings higher waters surging up the Thames estuary. Built in 1983 it is the second largest of its type in the world (after the one in Holland).

4. Number four reason why we love the Thames is the brilliant views you get from so many angles. The river bank is lined with historic and fabulous buildings and where ever you look there is a great photo opportunity. I have hundreds of photos to chose from and have picked out just 2 here. One is taken from the top of Millbank Tower and shows the sweep of the Thames past the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. The second is at dusk with the sun highlighting the bridge with St Paul’s and the Gherkin behind.

London is a photographer’s dream and the Thames is at the heart of that dream, so do come and visit and get snapping!

5. Our number five reason was hard to chose as there are so many more….. However we went for Richmond as it is one of the lovely towns along the Thames which are easy to reach from the centre of London. It has a wonderful old bridge, great walks along the river banks, excellent bars and restaurants. It also has an outstanding view of the Thames, across a meadow showing the curve of the river, one of its islands and the countryside stretching out in the distance.


Hope you enjoyed the Thames as much as we do!

Bye for now,

Phew what a scorcher!

Summer has burst out in London and the weekend was amazingly hot and the sky was sparkling blue. We’ve had a long and cold winter so we are all very excited by this change and it’s all the more precious because we know it won’t last…. These photos are taken on the Thames in the centre of London. One is where a gang of sand sculptors use the low tide to create new art works every fine day. And the other is by the Royal Festival Hall where a temporary fountain tempted people to get completely soaked! So, it was like being by the sea side without being stuck in traffic for hours getting there…


London has gone mad about elephants and elephant tracking is now a major activity with people trying to snap as many of the 250 as possible (see last 2 blog posts if this doesn’t make sense!) I’ve attached a couple of my favourites from this week. If you are looking for them, try near City Hall and Covent Garden where there are small herds!




There was one day trip out of town this week to St Albans, the old Roman settlement of Verulamium with its fine cathedral and old streets. So much wonderful history that we really needed a guide book but just wandered around instead tho’ we did know that St Alban was the first British Christian martyr and is buried here so it became a site of great pilgrimage.





Restaurant report this week focuses on the Blue Print Cafe near Tower Bridge where we spent a wonderfully long Sunday lunch with a great view (see photo) and good food. The big treat was to see an old sailing boat go through Tower Bridge – they opened up the middle and in a mere 5 minutes it was up and down and the traffic and pedestrians are crossing over again. It’s such an amazing sight, everyone stops to watch.



This week’s theatre trip was to the Noel Coward theatre to see Enron which was a brilliant production, making the story of a corporate failure into a gripping visual feast. I gather it bombed in New York but it’s a sell out here and deservedly so.
Other restaurants included Marco Pierre White’s new place where he’s reviving the old Wheeler’s group – it was good but I chose badly for my main course which was a shame but it happens. Then there was the Carpenter’s Arms, a gastropub in Chiswick with a lovely beer garden which really suited the weather and the crab gratin is highly recommended!
Bye for now,