Day two in the English capital turned out to be a great day. The weather was amazing, with a slight breeze but plenty of sunshine making it perfect weather for walking. And walk I did. I set off from my hotel around 9 AM. My first stop was the Twinings tea shop on The Strand. It’s the only official Twinings-only shop in the world and they have many varieties that aren’t available in Holland. Argyll Square – View from my hotel room
Houses on Argyll Square
Tudor style houses near Chancery Lane
Clock of the Royal Court of Justice
After picking up nearly 10 different teas including a ‘vintage’ Darjeeling I walk about for a bit as I wanted to go to Temple Church but it wouldn’t open until an hour later. I found myself walking along the River Thames and found a bench bathing in sunlight. I sat there people and boat watching while listening to music and waited until I could go to Temple Church.
Chestnut tree (?) on Victoria Embankment
Fierce looking dragon near Middle Temple lane
I had heard that Temple Church would be difficult to find and while trying to find it, I figured why. The church is surrounded by other buildings that are part residential area and part offices. It is completely encased and I found it by walking into a narrow alleyway. If I hadn’t I would have most likely walked passed it. Temple Church is quite a strange place. It’s only a stone’s throw away from the heavy traffic of Fleet Street/ The Strand, but yet it’s so quiet and peaceful when you walk into the courtyard. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in the middle of London.
The interior of the Church
Effigies of the Knights Templar
Temple Church is famous for being round on one end rather than having the shape of a cross. In the round part of the church you will find the famous effigies of the Knights Templar as featured in The Da Vinci Code. The ones you see in the picture above are actually plaster casts of the original which are on the other end of the room. The casts were made during the Victorian era for the World Exhibition and placed in the church after the originals were badly damaged during The Blitz in WWII. The Church is still active which is why it is only open at specific times a day.
Original entrance door of Temple Church
The reason why Temple Church is hard to find: courtyards and narrow alleys
Fountain with National Gallery
After the Church I walked via The Strand to Trafalgar Square and had a pit stop at Starbucks and Superdrug where I picked up some make up by brands that aren’t available in The Netherlands. I then went to the National Gallery where I walked around for a few hours viewing mainly Impressionist and Dutch 17th century art. The museum houses art from the 1200s till 1900 and since it is huge I picked two categories to go and see because I didn’t want to spend such a lovely day indoors all day.
The National Gallery is definitely worth a visit. If art isn’t your thing you should just step inside to see the interior. It is hands down one of the most majestic buildings I’ve ever been in, without it being preposterous. It’s a beautifully designed museum, especially the room called Central Hall and the rooms directly adjacent to it. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum so you’ll just have to believe me or go there yourself. The museum is free so just stop by and pop in to have a look whenever you’re near it.
After viewing Monets, Renoirs, Rembrandts and the like I felt hungry and had lunch outside in the sunshine with a delicious salad. With it only being 3 PM and having gone through my plans for the day already, I set off towards Leicester Square to see if I could catch a West End musical. Unfortunately nothing struck me as remotely interesting and there aren’t many movies out right now that I think are worth visiting so I decided to take a beeline toward Covent Garden. There I found the most amazing shoe store on Floral Street called United Nude. It was too pricey for me, but nevertheless these shoes are eyecandy in its purest form. The shoes seem to be a combination of design and architecture and seem impossible to walk in.
I had quite a browse around Coven Garden, bought a few things here and there and headed west again along Shaftesbury Avenue towards Piccadilly Circus. There’s a Waterstone’s nearby as well as an HMV (I like their book section there too) and plenty of food places. So I bought some books and quite exhausted found a table at TGI Friday’s as I was craving a burger. I finished my meal with an Oreo sundae icecream and took the Underground back to the hotel. My feet were killing me after walking around for nearly 12 hours, but that’s how I like London best: by foot.
Stay tuned for more blogs about my London trip later this week!
How is your week coming along?