Whilst in London, there are so many ways to discover the city, to get your bearings and enjoy the view. Why not aim high and book a slot at Sky Garden in what locals affectionately call the Walkie -Talkie. 20 Fenchurch Street is the fifth tallest building in the capital, so as you can imagine the views over London are stunning.
Sky Garden is as it’s name suggests, a garden 38 stories up ! Three tiers of lush geenery and tropical pants make up this heavenly space , with its incredible panorama. I decided it would be the perfect venue to admire the city-scape , whilst we were down in London celebrating my sister’s Birthday. It was a fantastic post by Laura from Tales of Adventures Big and Small that inspired me to look it into it. Not long after , my facebook feed started buzzing with folks enjoying a cocktail here, so its definitely gaining in popularity. 🙂
Of course another incentive to visit, is that Sky Garden is a public garden , therefore absolutely free! You do however need to book an hour slot and tickets become available online up to three weeks before your chosen date.
Our overall experience of Sky Garden was great. We had a short wait on the ground floor before being ushered to the elevator that zipped us up into the clouds with ease. 🙂 On arrival we were drawn out onto the open terrace to enjoy the views and the fresh air.
It was a lovely sunny spring afternoon so the views towards the Shard and down the Thames were suitably impressive. After drinking in our surroundings we enjoyed cocktails at the bar. You are not obliged to buy any food or beverages, but this was a birthday treat after all. 🙂
There was ample time to explore the gardens and admire the many vistas before our hour time slot expired. Not that anyone asked us to leave, I think the staff are fairly relaxed about it.
It is possible to visit Sky Garden as a walk-in early mornings ( fancy breakfast with a view? ) and in the evenings. But make sure you do book tickets for daytime trips. Nearby tube stations include Monument and Tower.
Have you ever been to Sky Garden? I really recommend it as a great and Free thing to do in London. 🙂
This past week I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time in my nation’s Capital London. And what a wonderful week ! Our trip was all in aid of celebrating my baby sister’s upcoming 40th Birthday. We managed to pack quite a bit in. Here are a few photos of what we got up to in this beautiful city. 🙂
Far the best way to travel to London ( unless you have your own private plane 😉 ) is by train. You can often find relatively cheap First Class Tickets, so your journey is speedy and comfortable with plenty of food and drink included. We booked with Virgin £80 each return from Preston and had use of Virgin’s complimentary First Class Lounge at Euston. ;0).
is well worth visiting, if only for the Dinosaurs ! Like many of London’s museums it’s free and is so vast you could easily spend the whole day here. I especially liked the moving Deinonychus above. One of the best ways of getting around the city is via The LondonUnderground and the nearest tube stops are Gloucester Road and South Kensington. Underground travel has gotten simpler with the use of contactless payment. Remember though , the money doesn’t go out of your account until a couple of days later.
Spring Blossom In Green Park.
Typically I hunted for Green Spaces in the city, and there are plenty. One day Wil, my brother and I bought a picnic from Harrods ( like you do)and sat down to eat it in Hyde Park. We then walked through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park , back to our hotel near Trafalgar Square. It was a nice way of seeing London and the various wildlife that makes the park its home. Look out for the Parakeets!
Harrods food hall.
London Eye from St james’s Park.
My sister wanted to see a show whilst we were away and which better to experience than The Lion King which plays at The Lyceum and has since 1999. Its an amazing piece of musical theatre and we loved it. Highly recommended.
The Lion King.
Happy times. 🙂
Even in London it is possible to stumble upon almost secret places. Colourful Neals Yard in Covent Garden is an Instagrammers delight with its multi – coloured buildings. Its also a lovely spot for a coffee or a bite to eat. The perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.
If you are going to celebrate a special Birthday in the Capital then you might as well go the whole hog and book a luxurious Afternoon Tea in one of London’s high class hotels. 🙂 Claridges in Mayfair offers a delicious array of finger sandwiches, warm scones with Marco Polo jelly & Cornish clotted cream, a varied selection of teas and a tray of delectable cakes and desserts from £60 per person. The setting in the grand art-deco inspired foyer and the attentiveness of the friendly staff add to this sublime experience.
A must for everyone’s London trip is a river cruise down the Thames, taking in all the cities famed landmarks, old and new. We used City Cruises to plan a return jaunt to Greenwich which is definitely worth a visit.
Helter Skelter in Greenwich.
On the Boat.
Another way of enjoying stunning views of London is to go some place high. Very high ! Like The Shard The Sky Garden commands a spectacular vista of the city. Unlike The Shard, it is absolutely free ! You still need to book online and tickets are usually available from three weeks before you go. We enjoyed cocktails ,amazing views and an unusual garden setting from 155 metres above. 🙂
Sky Garden goodies.
Sky garden’s view.
So there you have it, just a small selection of what we got up to in London town. It was a fabulously memorable holiday and a fun way to spend time with family too. Hopefully I will try and blog about some of our adventures in more detail soon.
Thanks for reading and a Very Happy Birthday to my sister Yvonne. 🙂
The Helpful Hiker has compiled a list of the Best Outdoor Dates For Valentine’s Day. ♡
Ever considered Greenland for a City Break ?? Ellen says Ilullisat is one of her favourite destinations. And I can see Why.
Nina is celebrating 2 years of being a Mum to little cutie Lana. 🙂
I might have to try this tasty looking low fat Flapjack recipe on Fred The Thread Blog.
Need to know what Galentine’s Day is all about. Read this article here and arrange time out with your Besties. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day ! Let me know how you will Celebrate? I’m doing ‘The Galentine’s ‘ thing on Friday night with some girl friends. A cocktail masterclass at ‘Escape’ in Clitheroe. I will let you know how it goes. 🙂
When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic shops , several dog-friendly parks and a variety of accommodation and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails. It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….
Where we stopped. We booked Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.
Where we walked. Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park. Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.
There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago. The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.
We also walked up to Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC. On a clearer day the views are stunning.
Places to Eat & Drink. Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes. In fact all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons. Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could ! My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse Inn, and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂
I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂 Keswick has that sorted . We loved Merienda on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is CafeBar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious pancakes. 🙂
Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.
Shopping. Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi and Love The lakes on St John’s Street,for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.
Visitor Attractions. Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂
Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk
Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk
A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk
Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk
Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk
The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale. Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk
I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂
Last year I started my 25 Before 45 Bucket List and although progress is quite slow, I have at least achieved a few things on it ! Whilst I have not yet learned to crochet, swum in a Lido or watched a Film Outdoors, I have managed to Trek With Llamas in the Lake District, Picnic on a Village Green with my old-fashioned Picnic Hamper ( Not very successfully, Hugo ate the cake ! ), do a Rail Ale Trail Tour on the East Lancs Railway and take part in The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk led by the Queen’s Official Guide, Cedric Robinson. I have just under 2 years to complete the list, so hopefully in 2017 I will make a sizeable chunk in it. Wish me Luck!
Picnic on the Village Green.
East Lancs Rail Ale Trail Tour.
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.
Lakeland llama Trekking.
And now for a bit of Blog love. Here are some links to posts I have enjoyed reading in January. X
As is now tradition, I am posting a quick photo round-up of my year. All in all it’s been a pretty good one! I have been slightly more organized than normal and included some post links. Yay!
January. Woh this seems such a long time ago now. January gave us the only snow of the year. Hugo loved it of course but it only lasted one snow day. 😦 It was still frosty and cold however on our visit to Formby Point where we saw Red squirrels 🙂 And yep thats me with a naked man at Another Place , the Anthony Gormley Art Installation on Crosby Beach.
February. It was a pretty quiet month in February. We did manage a day out in Manchester however and I had a fun time photographing the Street Art in the Northern Quarter. I also attended my God daughter Mady’s sons christening. I’m not one for holding babies but baby Jason was very chilled. 🙂
March. Wil and I had a weekend away in Coventry and stopped at the lovely Coombe Abbey Hotel & Country Park. We also visited Coventry itself which had lots of surprises. And later in the month I was in Manchester again , this time for a friends birthday. You can read my post about it here.
April. Spring arrived at last ( hurrah! ) and I couldn’t wait to get out and about with my camera and my Ladybird Book Guide To spring. 🙂 A day out at Bolton Abbey in the Easter Holidays was great fun and I treated Wil to a trip on a steam train ( with lots of Real Ale involved 😉 ) on the East Lancs Railway.
May. The weather was great in May and included a day out in Kirkby Lonsdale with my sister and her family. We even managed a paddle in the river. 🙂 A walk along the banks of Derwent Water in the Lake District was made all the more interesting , when Wil, Hugo and I came across a giant hand sculpture! Our Holiday Season started in May.:) A camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales , not too far from Fountain Abbey. And a stay in a hotel looking over Haweswater. 🙂
June. I loved our day out in Malham where we walked up to the Cove and paddled in Janet’s Foss. Think that was Hugo’s favourite part.:) We also went camping in Silverdale and Hugo enjoyed his second ever boat trip, on Lake Windermere.
July. Clitheroe has had lots of great new eating and drinking venues open in 2016 and the biggest surprise is probably Bowland Beer Hall at Holmes Mill. It’s an amazing space in an old textile mill, host to a listed steam engine and what appears to be England’s longest continuous bar. I attended the opening evening with Wil and some friends in July. I also crossed Llama Trekking off my Bucket List when myself and some of my family enjoyed a half day with these adorable animals here. Oh and Hugo found himself inside the July edition of The Simple Things Magazine. 🙂
August. In August there was a holiday at Spring Park in Cornwall. We stayed in ‘The Duke’ , a beautifully restored Showman’s wagon. On the way down to Cornwall we stopped one night in the spa town of Bath.I would love to return to both places. 🙂 Hugo has been busy bagging lakes all year. Here he is in Grasmere, over the bank holiday.
September. The poor pooch wasn’t quite sure what to think of The The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk. as it involved a lot of doggy paddling. I got pretty soaked too! The new Bridget Jones film turned into a bit of an event for us ladies.:) And if you like cake ( doesn’t everyone) you will like my post about my friend Nicolas Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.. She certainly didn’t scrimp on her baking. 🙂
October. We had an unseasonably dry October so this month’s posts are full of Autumn colours. 🙂 I joined in with #30dayswild, and enjoyed fun days out at Lowther Castle & Gardens and The Forbidden Corner with family.
November. November is my Birthday month so it was great to get away with Wil and Hugo to a holiday cottage in Scotland . The Afternoon Tea in Portpatrick was a Birthday treat courtesy of Wil and it was also nice to get together with friends. 🙂
December. This month has been all about meeting up with family. 🙂 I’ve included a piccie of my cat Slinky as she does tend to get overshadowed by a certain Black Labrador. And I took part in Janet’s ‘Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap’ which I will post about separately I’m sure.
Despite the radical changes in this country and abroad in 2016, I guess the best thing to do is just carry on and LIVE. Life is just to short to get depressed about it. So all the best for 2017 guys ….. and see you soon. X