Exploring London: Wandering the South Bank

Last Monday I had another day in town with some time to myself between a lunch, hospital appointment and drinks in the evening. I had no firm plans other than to head towards the South Bank...

Heading towards St Pauls and the Millennium Bridge (which we still call the wibbly-wobbly bridge following its initial problems when it opened back in 2000), I photographed some of my favourite City views:

Top left: view from St Swithins Lane, Top right: on the Millenium Bridge looking back to St Pauls, Bottom left: view from Queen Victoria Street, bottom right: the Shard from the Millenium Bridge

As the weather was dry I decided to leave the Tate Modern for another day and headed up towards the Royal Festival Hall. I had two and a half hours before I needed to be back at London Bridge hospital for my mid-afternoon appointment, so wandering avoiding the huuge puddles worked for me. I got as far as Oxo Wharf before taking my first detour around the often quirky design shops there. There were less shops in the wharf than I remembered, but my last visit was most probably before the Financial crisis in 2008, so that was more than likely a contributary factor. 

Monday wasn't the best day to visit I discovered as many of the shops (but not all) were closed - in some ways though that could be a blessing, it was definitely the cost-effective way to visit!  Here's a few of my favourite would-be buys: 

Moving on, and after a mooch around Gabriel's Wharf (which was also mostly closed) I arrived at the Southbank Centre. It was as usual a hive of activity with dancers and school kids practising their routines in the open spaces; a small exhibition on showing the layout and photos from the Festival of Britain in 1951 and a patchwork depicting key events from the last century. 

My parents are visiting for a few days at the end of March and I suspect they may be interested in taking a look at this, along with the "Pull out all the stops" Organ Festival (which runs between March and June).  The Royal Festival Hall organ, which has been restored to its full glory in time to celebrate its 60th birthday this March, will take part in this festival which includes solo recitals, orchestral concerts as well as an interactive exhibition. Amazingly following the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall in 2005 only a third of the organ was reinstalled when the hall reopened in 2007. Wow.

Heading back outside it was now nearly 3:30pm - I know, where did the time go?  I managed to take a few more snaps, including the rainbow over Blackfriars bridge. 

The cloud looked ominous, and it was. As I more hastily walked back towards London Bridge - that's easier said than done when you're in a tourist area of London - I knew I was walking into the rain. However there was nothing for it and although I arrived in time for my appointment I was rather wetter than I would have liked!

After my appointment, there was nothing else for it but to find somewhere warm and dry to while away the time until my evening arrangements. And I found just the place, The Oyster Shed (which is on the north side of the river between London Bridge and Cannon Street station). A comfy chair, a good book and a pint. Bliss!