This visit to London IS different for so many reasons. Our age, temperament, interests, and even our stamina dictates what we'll see and do - as well as how we'll accomplish those items on our to-do list. The lovely thing about this visit is there is no need to rush, and while I tend to be a planner I've only decided on where we're staying and how we get there and left the rest to serendipity.
So, when we arrived at Gatwick all that had to be done was purchase our Senior Railcards, catch a train from the airport to St. Pancras International station, and check into our Airbnb flat. It was a short 6-minute walk from the train station and once inside we immediately felt at home. The small but well-equipped one bedroom flat was perfect for our needs and the exterior of the building isn't too shabby either. The Dolphin Pub (where we had our first Guinness) is the shorter, yellow brick building to the right. How convenient is that?!
|Queen Alexandra Mansions, Tonbridge Street|
What's lovely about our flat is how incredibly quiet it is for being in the centre of London. I also like the centre courtyard. This is the view as we walk up the spiral staircase (53-steps in total from the sidewalk to our 4th floor flat).
|Queen Alexandra Mansions|
Neither John nor I slept on the flight over, so by 7PM British time Friday we were zonked and decided to call it a day. Good thing because Saturday morning we walked from Kings Cross to Baker Street. Along the way we stopped at North Gower Street to take a second look at one of the locations where our favourite BBC series, Sherlock, is filmed. It also happens to be the same location our daughter lived for a year while she worked at the Commonwealth. (This pic is for you, Sarah!)
|North Gower Street|
We continued west along Euston Street and passed the line up for Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (even in November it was a 2-hour wait) as well as a substantial line up for the Sherlock Holme's Museum on Baker Street. Our destination, however, was just next door, The Volunteer Pub.
|Courtesy of The Volunteer website: www.thevolunteernw1.co.uk|
We'd arranged to meet our Buckinghamshire homeowners for lunch. (We're house and pet sitting for them Dec. 23 - Jan. 11.) We also met Jasper who was quite excited to have four adults taking him for a walk in Regent's Park. We quickly discovered he will do almost anything for a yummy treat and he responds to hand signals as well as verbal commands. He also loves to play fetch and will run forever to retrieve a ball! But when it came time for the adults to grab some lunch at the pub and to have a rather lengthy gab session, he lay down under our table and didn't complain or make a peep until we were ready to leave. Good boy, Jasper!
Weather wise it was a glorious, sunny day and being in Regent's Park we took full advantage of being outdoors and walked as far as our feet could carry us.
|Regent's Park, London|
|Regent's Park, London|
Take a look at the lush foliage along Euston. It looks almost tropical, and is all the more poignant when we learned it was snowing at home. (Shudder!)
Sunday was overcast, but with the British Library literally across the street we couldn't care less. :)
|British Library, exterior|
|Statue of Sir Isaac Newton outside the British Library|
We decided to see the Terror and Wonder exhibition. Fascinating stuff about the past 250 years of Gothic literature and imagination. Not surprisingly it took us 4 hours to view the entire exhibit - everything from Walpole, Lord Bryron, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Hitchcock and the very recent Twilight series.
Before we returned to the flat we stopped by the Kings Cross station to grab a few items for supper. While the ceiling is spectacular, the poppy reminded us of sacrifices made by so many for not only this country but our own.
|Kings Cross Station, London|
At the north end of the building is Platform 9&3/4, made famous by the Harry Potter films. The photo below is blurry because I literally had to wiggle my way through throngs of people to get it, but no one seemed to mind and neither did I!
This shot is of the cue of people waiting patiently to their own photo opt...
After buying a few things for dinner (including some incredible British cheddar) we headed back outside and came face-to-face with this incredible view of St. Pancras Station lit up against the evening sky. Again, it's not the greatest photo, but you get the drift!
All in all, we enjoyed every second of our weekend in London. Next stop, Edinburgh!
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