South Bank

Today, I’m back to normal life in London and doing another photowalk, which is going to be very touristy, as it involves Big Ben and South Bank.

Big Ben and Westminster Palace are actually the first things I see as I step out of the Westminster tube station.

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This is another iconic view of the London Eye and the river Thames, which I get as I’m crossing the river via Westminster Bridge.

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It’s actually the first time I ever notice this nice little lawn in front of the St Thomas’ Hospital. I suspect no one else does either, unless they are looking specifically for it – everyone must be too consumed with the sightseeing attractions around.

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Even though it’s relatively early in the morning, the number of tourists in the area is simply unbelievable, so finding a spot to take a decent picture of Westminster Palace is not an easy task at all. But well, I’m no less of a tourist myself today!

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Here I am, standing right in the middle of Westminster Bridge and taking pictures (on a traffic island, of course – for some reason, I always feel the need to specify that I’m behaving in a safe manner!)

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Finally I step onto the Queen’s Walk, which is a really long promenade on the southern bank of the Thames. It starts around Lambeth Bridge, which is way before the famous district referred to as the South Bank that is my focus today.

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This is just another photo of Westminster Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Bridge and the river, from a different angle.

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The South Bank is always buzzing, and of course, weekends are especially busy.

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The weather is also quite nice (so far), which supposedly attracts even more visitors.

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There are two Queen’s Golden Jubilee footbridges over the Thames, running on both sides of Hungerford Railway Bridge.

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Cafés and restaurants are already up and running, serving breakfast and Sunday brunch, but they don’t seem to be extremely busy yet.

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Nice try, South Bank, but bringing over some sand and launching a Brazil-inspired beach can hardly turn London into Rio de Janeiro! 😀

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This graffiti-decorated skate park is completely empty. Not that I’m familiar with skaters’ sleeping habits, but quite apparently, they are not really morning people.

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The people running the Southbank second-hand and antique book market are already up, though, and busy setting up their stalls.

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This is how the north bank looks from across the River Thames.

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And this is the promenade, just past Waterloo Bridge.

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What a sad bench this is!.. Even though it may appear that it is a memorial for someone who has drowned in the Thames, in fact the bench is a tribute to the three British students who were killed in a road accident in Thailand and has been placed there by their mothers.

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On a slightly more positive note, that’s a pretty awesome view containing St Paul’s Cathedral, the City and the OXO Tower at the same time.

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A few people are making sand sculptures here, which makes me wonder if it’s some sort of a competition, or at least some coordinated effort, or if each of them is completely independent from the others.

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I think, this is a very nice place to have breakfast, it’s weird that the balcony is empty – maybe they don’t open it in the morning.

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On an even more positive note, here are some words of wisdom about the British summer from a local pub, which are not quite relevant for the past few days’ weather though.

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Looking at the mostly empty tables, I can’t help thinking whether there is any correlation between this fact and their over-pessimism 😀

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Once again, this is St Paul’s Cathedral, and Millennium footbridge on its right.

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I’m now around Southwark (which, by the way, is pronounced like ‘SUTH-uck’ and not ‘SOUTH-walk’ as one may think) and the skies are getting considerably greyer.

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I am always looking out for interesting examples of graffiti and street art.

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One of the most memorable places on the South Bank for me is this full-scale replica of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon, Golden Hinde.

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I’ve never noticed that head of a female deer (or actually, a Hinde) there!

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This is Southwark Cathedral and I’m really wondering why on earth it is luring people with ice-cream…

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I am now on Tooley Street, which, quite interestingly, gets its name from the distorted pronounciation of St Olaf’s name, who had a church named after him right here. The church was demolished in early 20th century, and an office block called St Olaf House was built instead.

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I did a photowalk around the City previously, but it was quite hard to make nice pictures of its high-rises at a short distance. Now they look much better.

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By the time I get closer to Tower Bridge, the weather changes completely, it is now pretty windy and not as warm as it was earlier today.

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