4 In Life in London

South Bank, London: Eat the World Street Food Festival

It was a cool, but sunny Spring day on Friday with no obligations or plans and a four day bank holiday weekend ahead.

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So I indulged in something I haven’t done in a long time: set out on an aimless walk through the streets of London.

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I carried with me a camera and a book, set for an afternoon of wandering, shopping, taking photos and sipping tea in my favourite cafes.

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I headed East, walking along the King’s Road, past Sloane Square, along Eaton Square and on until I bumped up against the crowds milling about Buckingham Palace.

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There, the sidewalks were blocked by tour groups waving yellow umbrellas or red flags, listening to someone speak in one language or another about the Palace or St. James’s Park.

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I decided to stick to a similar route and headed down Birdcage that lines the edge of the park where about 10 people were standing around a tree filming on their phones an ordinary scene of two squirrels chasing each other around a tree.

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Others posed by a colourful bed of tulips and children chased after the ducks by the pond.

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Once Big Ben came into view, I reached my limit with crowds and wove through the back streets to the Golden Jubilee Bridge.

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I had read that there was a world street food market on South Bank over the bank holiday weekend (today is the last day if you’re in the area), so I headed over to take a look.

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I wasn’t particularly hungry, but markets always make for great people watching and it didn’t appear to be as jammed as I expected.

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As you would expect from a world food market, there were food trucks selling everything from South African Bunny Chow to Italian Gelato to drinks created right around the corner in London’s Hackney.

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There were Egyptian vegetarian dishes, Korean BBQ with a Mexican twist and Caribbean jerk chicken and soul food from America’s deep south.

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I saw a Polish deli, a guy selling cheddar cheese, cider and chutney from Somerset and a couple of French  trucks with duck confit.

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There were burgers everywhere. 

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When the market ended, I spent a few minutes watching the skateboarders and browsing the outdoor book market.

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Then walked across a super windy Waterloo Bridge.

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I aimed for north east and followed the streets that looked most interesting through the edges of Covent Garden and Soho until I found myself on Regent’s Street.

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I popped into a couple of shops before veering off to Ganton Street for a tea and cheddar and chive biscuit at Sacred Cafe, a place I’ve returned to time and again since I was first taken there for a magazine interview in 2007.

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When I was warmer and had finished the chapter I was reading, I followed my wonky sense of direction toward Marylebone, walking past the swanky designer shops on New Bond Street and eventually to Marylebone Lane.

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Marylebone means the beautiful skylights and oak panelled walls of Daunt, my favourite bookshop in London.

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Eventually I decided to head home. I thought I’d take the tube after walking for ages already, but I carried on toward Marble Arch, crossed the road to Hyde Park and walked through to Knightsbridge, down Sloane Street and back to King’s Road.

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It plotted it out on a map and it was about 10 miles altogether. I’m still not allowed to run for another month since I had my eye surgery in March so walking is the new running for me right now!

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What have you been up to this weekend? Eating loads of Easter chocolate like me? Relaxing? Anything exciting? 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    What a great way to spend the day! This is inspiring me to have a wander around Chicago with my camera one day soon! My weekend was pretty fun. I saw some family on Easter and played with my niece and nephew. I also took a flower arranging workshop and came home with a beautiful arrangement with lots of poppies, roses and ranunculus.

    • Reply
      littleobservationist
      April 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Yea, it was relaxing and great to get some fresh air (or at least as fresh as it gets in a big city!). Your flower arranging workshop sounds amazing. I’d love to do that! You should post photos! Despite the fact that my mom’s a florist and my fiance is a garden designer I could definitely do with some lessons in all things floral. x

  • Reply
    Marieken
    April 27, 2014 at 11:49 am

    A street food festival sounds amazing! And yes to the pretzel-peanutbutter-brownies. Thanks for letting me tag along on your walk.

    • Reply
      littleobservationist
      April 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Tell me about it. I was so tempted by the pretzel peanut butter brownies but I was so full already I managed to summon the willpower to pass them by. Next time! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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