On March 25, 1999, I decided to take advantage of a cheap train
fare deal and pay a visit to London because I haven't been there for many
years. Now I can hear you saying, why March? why not June or July? Basically
because in the Summer, London is absolutely heaving with tourists, and I
wanted to go out of season to avoid this - but having said that there were
still a LOT of tourists there so they must have had the same idea as I did!!!
The weather was kind though, and the rain stayed off all day, even though
it pelted down with rain in Bristol, and the temperatures were quite mild
too so it didn't matter that it was overcast and the sun didn't come out
at all. I had a nice time.
There are a few photos of the usual touristy things like Big Ben and Nelson's Column, plus a few other interesting things that people may have not had a chance to see, such as Canary Wharf and the Thames Flood Barrier.
One thing that has to be said about London is that it is easy and cheap to travel by public transport - buses, underground and light railway. Travelling by car is a nightmare however, even out of season - it doesn't have to be rush hour for huge traffic jams to build, especially at the busiest junctions. I lost count of the number of frustrated looks I saw on drivers faces as I was walking about. It cost just £4 for a day 'Rover' ticket for unlimited travel within about a 6 mile radius on buses and trains. You cannot argue with that - in Bristol it costs more than £2 for a return trip of about 8 miles on one particular journey on one bus route! London is also a great city to walk about in with lots of pleasant parks to get away from it all. I visited a friend of mine while I was there who used to work in Covent Garden and we ate lunch sat in Victoria Embankment Gardens looking out across the River Thames - very pleasant even in March. And the walk from The Isle of Dogs under the Thames to Greenwich and the Cutty Sark is most interesting - although they are now extending the London Docklands railway along this route so it will be easier to travel.
I absolutely love the London Underground system - the sights, the sounds, the smells - it works extremely well and is very punctual - with apologies made over tannoys if there is a delay due to having to wait for another train to pass or something. The Underground map may look confusing at first but when you have used it a few times you get used to it and it is a quick way to get around the city and out into the suburbs. And the new Jubilee line extension was under construction when I went to London which will allow visitors quick and easy access to the Millennium dome. the only times when the underground can be frustrating along with all other forms of London Transport is at rush hour when the entire working population of London moves all at one go! Even though underground trains run every few minutes on busy lines you find yourself waiting for some time to board one as they are crammed full of commuters - then it is standing room only for many journeys - but it cannot be avoided for an hour or so in the mornings and evenings - at other times there is are no problems as such - so don't let it put you off travelling on the underground!
I am sure I will be visiting London again soon and I will try to take some more pictures to add to this section.
UPDATE: I have been back to London two more times since the original batch of photos were taken. A selection of the photos I took can be found below in the new section - 2003/4 PHOTOS.
Links to London on the
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