Walking down Whitechapel Road on a Monday morning was busy but it had a festive, rushed feel to it. These were not people hurrying to work. Everyone was dressed in traditional Muslim clothing and racing to and from the direction of the East London Mosque. Kids had balloons and there were cake stalls. An iman was being interviewed outside the mosque. I decided to ask someone and sure enough it was Eid. I knew enough about Eid to know that it’s akin to the Christian holiday, Christmas (without Christ of course!) It was nice to be caught up in the celebrations.
Duck & Waffle
First stop was brunch at a place I discovered on a London Instagram account. The food was so pretty and the view was spectacular.
The teenager discovered wifi and became totally unsociable despite our best efforts to engage him in conversation.
This is where Diagon Alley from Harry Potter was filmed and I can see why. The architecture is lovely and does have a magical feel about it. The shops are not as cool though!
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the Great Fire of London 1666. A curse as well as a blessing as it put a stop to the plague.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Another Christopher Wren design. His tomb is also here and it’s epitaph reads ‘reader, if you seek his memorial, look around you’. I spent my 21st Birthday sitting on the steps 27 years ago. Recreated it without the random Bobby. I’ve not even seen a Bobby this trip. Once spin a time the police carried only batons. Now they carry machine guns and wear proper hats. Pigeons gone, bobbies gone; lucky the Ravens are still here and Pizza Express.
20 Fenchurch Street – Sky Garden
A pretty amazing use of space. 35 floors up with a living garden inside, restaurants and bars. Once again great views. Very pricy cocktails but YOLO right?
Did I mention we did a stack of walking and busing and tubing today. Handy hint: when the train doors beep because they are closing, don’t be selfish and jump on leaving your wife and child stranded on the platform. True story.
The Churchill Arms- Notting Hill
The absolute beauty of this pub drew us here. The WW2 Churchill memorabilia, fascinating knick knacks, beer and Twiglets kept us here. Every nook and cranny had some interesting thing to look at. Even the ladies toilets were a sight! My sister Rachel worked here on her Aussie trek to London. Do kids still do the trek?
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
The big extravagance of the holiday besides the holiday itself! Freaking expensive cocktails in the Mandarin Hotel bar to start with. And we made the mistake of eating a few bowls of cashews resulting in us feeling full quicker than we hoped. Maybe a good thing we only had the one dessert. And we only had that because we had to order it at the start!
Harry cracked up when the waitress said “init” which made her crack up too! Especially as she was from Hungary! She was great, very patient with Harry wanting her attention. She took him to the kitchen to watch the plating up. He was entranced.
Our uber home was a black BMW series 3 so Harry thought we were rich people. I guess in a way we are. Very decadent to spend so much on good food. We are very aware of our privilege.
Today was always going to be about good food. We had booked the 3 places intending to spend the day with our friends Karen & Nick but due to Karen getting quite ill, we had to go it alone. It just wasn’t the same without them.
One more day left in London before the big UK bus trip!