London’s Southbank is a great place for strolling and people watching.
We got out of the train at Waterloo and made our way along the side of the Royal Festival Hall and settled on Le Pain Quotidien for our breakfast. Lovely aromas of croissants and coffee welcome you as you enter the cafe. We were taken downstairs to a charmingly rustic dining space set in one of the arches supporting the railway above. The French style is unmistakable as coffee is served in bowls rather than cups or mugs. The menu is extensive and we settled on ham and cheese croissants. Absolutely delicious and highly recommended.
Even though the day was dull and drizzly, we wandered along the Southbank past families and children and sheltered for a while under Waterloo Bridge and browsed the books for sale. A large, eclectic mix of books (old and new) and posters are on offer.
Southbank is a great place for photographers and Instagrammers to visit. There is so much to see!
We then headed back towards the London Eye past the Underbelly Christmas market and on to see the street entertainers and buskers along the way. Whatever the weather this part of London is popular throughout the year. Tourists and Londoners alike enjoy the friendly buzz that characterises this area of London. And there are plenty of places to enjoy a coffee or a meal. Street artists are fun to watch. They are well into the technology of the 21st century now and even take contactless payments! We watched acrobats and singers – a lively, colourful display in sharp contrast to the grey skies above.
Then back over Westminster Bridge…. Where gambling “stations” abounded that morning. Young guys offering punters the chance to try their luck on “chase the ball” under one of three cups. Money was changing hands fast. And so were the balls! These huddles add to the local colour in the area….. And on Sunday there was not a policeman in sight!
The sound of music
As we came over the bridge the sound of bagpipes filled the air. Then just round the corner past the entrance to the Houses of Parliament we were treated to the view of a bagpiper in all his glory! Dress from head to toe in traditional Scottish clothing including a kilt and a sporran.
We skirted round the side of Parliament and, by then, were ready for a cup of coffee. Fortunately we spotted a cafe sign opposite the House of Lords and enjoyed a coffee in the old Jewel Tower. A nice quiet spot for a Sunday coffee in a very ancient building.
Our wander back to the station took in the Field of Remembrance outside London’s magnificent Westminster Abbey where poppies are on display to commemorate the fallen. A sobering scene.
Then past the many fascinating statues in Parliament Square including Millicent Fawcett, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill to name but a few.
And finally back onto the underground at Westminster to the sound of the bagpiper’s serenade.
If you want to book a short stay in this lively hub, there are a number of good apartment residences in the area.