Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Lighting Up

For a while we'd been thinking of taking the boys down to the Smoke to see the Christmas Lights. But I had dreadful visions of epic crowds, spending a fortune and disappointment.

So we had a think of how we could do it and good old public transport came the rescue. We started off our day at the marvellous Museum of London. Free, lots of space and great collections including the newly represented Medieval Galleries. I studied medieval history at university and I was pretty transfixed by the haul of gold and silver coins and ancient swords found in the muddy reaches of the Thames.
And then onto the Tower, my old stamping ground. I worked here for my very first post-uni job. It was superb but I got lonely and returned North after a couple of years. It was great to be back with my boys but we're saving visiting for another time. Last Saturday was all about skating and we loved it!
And as the light fell while we whizzed around the rink, London put on her party face and
 the skies lit up all around.
Instead of traipsing through the crowds we jumped on the No. 15 bus, a proper red Routemaster that wound it's way up Eastcheap, past St Paul's, down Ludgate Hill, past Pudding Lane and the Monument to the Great Fire, onto Fleet Street and the Strand.

We changed easily at Charing Cross, hopping on a sleek new No. 6 to join the crawl up Regent Street, past Eros in his protective bubble and the throngs of shoppers, all the while with stunning lights strewn above us on the top deck. It was slow going along Oxford Street but that gave us plenty of time to take in the fantastic shop window displays where the crowds were half a dozen deep.
At Marble Arch we jumped off and caught the tube back to the station and sailed home. All included in our Travelcard. It was such an easy trip and we saw so much without the hassle or stress. Properly festive and unforgettable.

19 comments:

Crafts @ Home said...

WOW, I love your 1st photo, it looks like a painting to me...... What an amazing time you had, and certainly one which you will all remember, It's so much nicer travelling around London on the bus, and I'm always very grateful if anyone I go with understands the timetable and destinations, otherwise, I have to use the tube :( I would have been very tempted to hop on and off the bus to look inside some of the shops along Oxford Street.....
SueXxx

Frances said...

I am such a public transport fan over here in New York City...you really can see a lot if you understand how to make the links from bus to bus to subway train etc.

On my recent UK trip I saw the Lowry exhibit at Tate Britain, and think that your first photo of the skaters really has the feel of many of Lowry's street scenes. Skinny legs in motion, but Your Photo has happy folks in motion.

xo

Hillside Garden said...

Great impressions from London!

Sigrun

Curlew Country said...

Thanks Frances, I do see what you mean about Lowry! I'm flattered. Must say the Transport for London journey planner online was superb and very easy to use. Helped us out a lot. I bet NYC is very festive now. Do you have all this snow we hear is affecting the States? Please send us a little for Christmas!
Love Steph x

Curlew Country said...

Thanks Sue! Next time you're in London give the Transport for London online journey planner a try. Really easy and you can mix up tubes, trains, buses and walking etc. super easy to use, I was impressed. Thanks for you lovely comments xx
Steph x

Karen Wiederhold said...

Your opening photo reminds me of a Lowry painting.

Sue said...

Ooohh how fab Steph, I too thought the first photo was a Lowry painting,good to know you had a great day, and i admire you too for going, such a homebod am i , i can't even go out to our nearest city (Birmingham) to have a mooch around the German market and shops there !!!!
Hope you're well
Sue xx

Frances said...

Only a few flurries of snow so far, but it is oh so cold! I remember an expression, "it's too cold to snow."
Over on my blog, I've posted some photos of Christmas decorations around Fifth Avenue, which you might enjoy seeing. http://cityviewscountrydreams.blogspot.com

thehouseatnabend said...

Looks magical, glad you had such a lovely time! Hx

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

I used to dread London at this time of year. A couple of years ago was my last attempt of walking down to Hamleys, or should I say swept down. I think your idea of hopping onto a bus would be the safest and most easiest to capturing the evening. Thanks for the memories xx

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Anonymous said...

Hello Steph, oh such beautiful photos, all of them were just amazing I got lost in all the prettiness of it all, certainly made me feel Christmas is here, such a different side of Christmas on your wonderful side of the world from here down under in Australia, I love both! Simone xxx

Ali said...

i am such a fan of travelling by bus in London - I love seeing all of the hustle without having to be in the crowd. Looks like you had a perfect trip!

Cait O'Connor said...

I thought that first pic was a Lowry at a first quick glance!

just Gai said...

Yeah for public transport. I lived in London for a while and loved travelling through it by bus. So much to see through the window, especially from the front seat on the top deck.

thehouseatnabend said...

It looks as though you had a magical time! I visited the Tower for work earlier in the year and vowed to go back and explore it properly. Seeing your post has reminded me that I must do it! It must have been an incredible experience working there. What did you do?

Curlew Country said...

Thanks! I was a Business Development Assistant, basically the office junior in the Marketing & Press Office which was a great experience. I was the only one interested in the research side for our campaigns and events. It was brilliant. Stayed there overnight a couple of times and saw some hidden corners. Very lucky. Enjoy your visit when you go x

Country Rabbit said...

what a wonderful festive experience ;0) x

Happy Homebird said...

I love Medieval history - I got into it in a big way last year. I follow a Thames Mud-larking group on Facebook and love seeing the things that they find - fascinating. Sam