It is all fun and games during the week until you get to the weekend. Get some comfy shoes, grab a bottle of water and hope for the weather to stay sunny. Let me introduce you to a lovely walk through the West End. It might take you 1 1/2 to 2 hours or even longer if you decide to chill in the park or roam through Piccadilly’s many patisseries.
This tour guides you through the heart of the West End, from the chic shopping streets in Covent Garden over to Chinatown and St. James’s Park up to Trafalgar Square.
Your first stop is the always busy Covent Garden Piazza (1) with its street artists and performers, continue down both King and Garrick Streets. Long Acre to the left brings you to Leicester Square (2). Go right into Warder Street and you will discover the exotic gates to Chinatown (3). Be sure to check out The Londonist or Timeout London for places to eat.
Shaftesbury Avenue (4) hosts some of the best-known theatres in the West End. If you are a musical fan this is the place to go and search for some leftover tickets.Try your luck! At the end, of the street lies the ever-hectic Piccadilly Circus (5), filled with blinking neon signs, shops and (of course) tourists.
Follow the path to the West through the Piccadilly Boulevard (6) which adds a touch of aristocratic exclusiveness so typical for St. James’s and Mayfair. There you will also find St. James’s Piccadilly (7), an Anglican Church designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren. A bit more to the right you will spot the impressive Burlington House residence of the Royal Academy of Arts (8) and last but not least the famous Ritz Hotel (9).
Left the quiet green oasis of the Green Park (10) lures you in with breathtaking oaks and old-fashioned street lamps. Go straight down to the end of the park and while stepping through the beautiful Canada Gates there lies the Buckingham Palace (11).
On the right side of the gorgeous Mall (12) stretches St. Jame’s Park (13). On a sunny day, you will find almost as many different species of birds as there are people. Grab an ice cream and feed some wildlife.
On a clear day, you will be able to spot Admiral Nelson on his column from far away. Follow this gentleman and he will bring you straight to Trafalgar Square (14). Have a stroll through the National Gallery or turn to the southern side to spot Big Ben and continue your journey.
If you want to know how I spent the St. Patrick’s Day check out the blog entry here:
Afterwards, a couple of friends and I took a long stroll through Brick Lane. The place has an incredible history, a gloriously messy Sunday market and some excellent shopping, eating and drinking…if you know where to look.
The Lane has always been a haven for immigrants. Over the centuries, Dutch, French, Irish, eastern European Jewish and most recently Bangladeshi communities have all found a home here. All those different cultures mixed up in one place create a unique energy and atmosphere.
Be prepared to spend a couple of hours walking and crawling through vintage clothing stalls and food courts. If you are up for a coffee, a place to sit and some delicious dessert, check out @, a laid-back Swedish restaurant with a nifty roof terrace.
I would have loved to shown you a picture of the “Peanut Thunderdome” with vanilla ice cream, but it was gone too quickly. Have a picture of a deer drinking tea instead, cheers!