It was a cool, but sunny Spring day on Friday with no obligations or plans and a four day bank holiday weekend ahead.
So I indulged in something I haven’t done in a long time: set out on an aimless walk through the streets of London.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Others posed by a colourful bed of tulips and children chased after the ducks by the pond.
Once Big Ben came into view, I reached my limit with crowds and wove through the back streets to the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
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.
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.
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.
There were Egyptian vegetarian dishes, Korean BBQ with a Mexican twist and Caribbean jerk chicken and soul food from America’s deep south.
I saw a Polish deli, a guy selling cheddar cheese, cider and chutney from Somerset and a couple of French trucks with duck confit.
There were burgers everywhere.
When the market ended, I spent a few minutes watching the skateboarders and browsing the outdoor book market.
Then walked across a super windy Waterloo Bridge.
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.
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.
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.
Marylebone means the beautiful skylights and oak panelled walls of Daunt, my favourite bookshop in London.
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.
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!
What have you been up to this weekend? Eating loads of Easter chocolate like me? Relaxing? Anything exciting?
KatieApril 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.
littleobservationistApril 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
MariekenApril 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.
littleobservationistApril 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. 🙂