The following Guest Post appeared on November 9, 2012 on http://www.jettingaround.com
So here’s the scenario. I’ve flown from Toronto to London on a Thursday night (about a 6 hour 30 minute flight). I’m walking into an all day meeting on Friday. At 9 p.m., I’m in my hotel room and in bed for a 10 hour sleep. I’m heading back to Toronto on Sunday. Saturday is my only day to explore London. I’ve been to London a few times in the last couple of years so there’s a few things I want to do. Go to Oxford Street (the “high street”) for a little shopping; grab a quick “take away” lunch at Pret a Manger; drop into Fortnum & Mason to fill a jam order. I’d love to drop by the National Gallery; love to see a Premiership football game in person; love to drop by one of the many great museums in London. There’s many more things to see and do in one of the world’s great cities. I just don’t have time…
I do want to do something a little different. I want to spend my morning in one of London’s markets. There’s a few to choose from but my choice is the Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill.There’s a chance to see a variety of different things. Clothing, antiques, household items, vintage cameras, food and more. Also a chance to talk with locals and shop owners. It’s bigger than I imagined. I walk the market for a couple of hours and make my way back to Notting Hill Gate.
Making my way through Kensington, I’m off to find Kensington Palace. I have an idea where it is but don’t really know. Around a corner and down a tree-lined street and lo and behold, there it is. It is magnificent in appearance and with its grounds, makes you feel like you are in the English countryside. I wish I had time for the tour/paid access inside but I don’t. Next time.
Hop on a bus, past Hyde Park, the Marble Arch and onto Oxford Street. Marks & Spencer, Debenham’s, and the hustle & bustle of London on a Saturday. It’s a lot of fun even for a guy that doesn’t shop. A quick look through some stores and I make my way over to Regent Street.
Time for some lunch, I pop into Pret A Manger (they’re not hard to find) on Piccadilly and grab a “Crayfish and Rocket” sandwich and a “white” coffee (coffee with milk). Walk across the street to Green Park and have a little picnic.
As I begin to walk through the park, I see another famous palace a few hundred yards away through the trees. Buckingham Palace. Take a couple of snapshots, walk down the Mall and back over to Piccadilly.
A short walk past the Ritz Hotel, I come to one of London’ best – Fortnum & Mason. It is pure English and the quality and style are second to none. I browse through the biscuit area/section and the jams, jellies, etc and have my purchase. Fortnum & Mason is a must visit for me on every trip to London.
In my short list of things to see, I visit a second market albeit a very small one. The Piccadilly Market at St. James’s Church. The market feels like it could have been there since the Church was built in 1684 but it has only operated since the early 80’s. Interesting arts and crafts for purchase. The vendors are exceedingly pleasant and have some real quality goods at a fair price.
On my way back to the Underground, I grab a Marks & Spencer “meal deal”. Back at my hotel, I’m in the Pub to grab a couple of pints and watch a football game with my new English friends. The end of a great day in London.