Amanda had a lunch appointment today with her sister and, at the moment, it's not easy to find a day where the sun is out for a good part of the day but today was one of those days so I just had to go. Amanda really didn't mind.
I started, as usual, at Liverpool Street Station and caught the number 23 bus which starts here and goes past a number of interesting locations such as the Bank of England and Mansion House:
Then on to St. Paul's Cathedral and Ludgate Hill which seems to have cornered the market in buses. I counted at least twelve.
Going along the Strand I took this photograph which I thought would interest Marie and anyone else who has stayed there.
The funny colour in the top right hand corner is on the window of the bus. Next, Trafalgar Square. Well, Nelson's Column at least. The rest of the square is obscured by traffic.
On the other side of the square is Admiralty Arch which, as you know, leads into The Mall and thence to Buckingham Palace.
Then up Regent Street
to Oxford Street. No I didn't take a photograph of Oxford Street.
At Bond Street Station in Oxford Street I got off the bus – into mayhem. That's how Oxford Street always strikes me on a normal weekday. God knows what it's like on a Saturday. Perhaps 4:00 AM on a Sunday would be a good time.
Having crossed to the north side of the road, a short walk from the bus stop in the same direction as the bus was travelling, there is a very narrow entrance to Gee's Court which is easy to miss and, to prove it, I managed to miss it but went up James Street instead and the open area on the right into St. Christopher's Place is very easy to spot.
This is Gee's Court looking towards Oxford Street:
and it narrows significantly where it joins Oxford Street. Gee's Court runs into St. Christopher's Place which is tucked behind Oxford Street and would be very easy to miss.
The network of narrow paved streets or alleys harbours an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants with a very pleasant atmosphere.
After looking around St. Christopher's Place I turned south, crossed Oxford Street and turned down Duke Street passing through Grosvenor Square along Carlos Place (keep going straight where the road curves left) past the Connaught Hotel to here:
This gateway could easily be regarded as the entrance to a churchyard especially with the end of a church showing at the back but that assumption would be wrong. This is one ot the entrances to Mount Street Gardens a small public garden/park also known as St. George's Gardens. Because it is so sheltered there are plants growing here that you might not expect. For example there is a Canary Islands Date Palm.
You wouldn't find it worth while to make a special trip to see it however it is worth a vist if you are in the area.
I now headed east along Grosvenor Street and Maddox Street and on my way passed this impressive church on the corner of Maddox Street and St. George's Street.
It is St. George's Church built in the early part of the 18th century and Mount Street Gardens used to be the burial ground for this church but that usage ceased in the middle of the 19th century.
Continuing across St. George's Street to the other part of Maddox Street I soon arrive in Regent Street with Great Marlborough Street opposite and that is where I go to find this:
Although it looks like an ancient timber-framed building it is actually Victorian. The perfectly straight timbers should give it away. Have you been there? Do you recognise it? There is a name above the door on the angled part but it isn't easy to read. Does this view give you a clue?
Yes, it's Liberty's of London. They give their address as Regent Street but the majority of the building is in Great Marlborough Street shown here. In 1924 this building was constructed, in the Tudor style, from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan and the frontage on Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan. It is a Grade II listed building.
Liberty sells a wide range of luxury goods including women's, men's and children's fashion, cosmetics and fragrances, jewellery, accessories, homeware, furniture, stationery and gifts. Liberty is known for its floral and graphic prints. Let me give you some advice. If you go into Liberty's with your credit cards you could come out bankrupt so don't say you weren't warned.
The inside of the building is a delight and is worth visiting even if you don't intend to buy anything. There are light wells like these which run from the ground floor to the roof.
Even the stairs are nice (there are also lifts).
It is a veritable Aladdins Cave in here. You know you can't afford it.
Time to move on – but not very far. Travelling east along Great Marlborough Street, away from Regent Street, to the end of the Liberty building where I immediately turned right to enter Carnaby Street and I'm in Soho.
Carnaby Street does seem popular and it's certainly busy but I pass through and out the far end. There are plenty of interesting streets in Soho as evidenced by Great Windmill Street, Rupert Street and others.
I eventually turned south down Wardour Street and crossed Shaftesbury Avenue to Chinatown. This really consists of just a few streets – the southern end of Wardour Street together with Gerrard Street, Lisle Street etc.
Colourful init? Even the street names are in English and Chinese.
All I have to do now is find my way through the maze of back streets to the western end of Long Acre via Leicester Square.
Well it's simple enough as far as the junction of Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road but then, when I reach Charing Cross Road, I expect to see Long Acre on the other side. But no! On the other side is the continuation of Cranbourn Street. The bit on my map shows Cranbourn Street that I'm in, then a short length of un-named road before Long Acre. I take a chance and go along Cranbourn Street and it does lead into Long Acre.
Why Long Acre? I'm looking for Stanford's the map and guide book shop. Stanford's moved into the shop in 1873 so it must have been built before that.
They have just about every map and guide book that there is and I want to try and find the London AZ Super Scale Street Map (scale: 9 inches to 1 mile) which has every little alleyway marked on it but covers only the central portion of London.
One thing that you can't fail to notice is the floor.
A map of the world on the Ground Floor and a street map of London in the Basement. Fascinating!
I did find my map so that was a worthwhile visit but I'm getting tired so it's once again time to go home. I walk down to the Strand and get an 11 bus to Liverpool Street Station.
I expect we'll be back – both of us next time.