Bird’s Eye Views

And Street Views Too

Today we head down to the South Bank so we take a bus to St. Paul’s and hit the streets.

South Bank lies along the River Thames across from the city of Westminster. This entertainment and commercial district lies between the Westminster and Blackfriars Bridges.

On the map below I circled in yellow the 2 bridges bordering South Bank, St. Paul’s Cathedral where we started walking, and the London Eye, our first destination.

London Eye

This now famous Ferris Wheel was originally intended to be a temporary attraction when it first opened to the public in 2000, but a year later, a 5 year lease became an application for permanent status. (

The observation wheel consists of 32 passenger capsules carrying up to 25 people each. There’s a bench in the middle for sitting and plenty of room for walking around.

Enjoy the views!

Tucked away in the middle of the green trees below, is Buckingham Palace.

That’s St. James Park in front of the palace.

The waterway running through St. James Park is the Tyburn River.

The beautiful semi-circular building below is County Hall. From 1922-1986 it served as the seat for the local London government. Today County Hall is a tourist complex, containing Sea Life London Aquarium, London Dungeon, the London Film Museum, Namco Funscape, 2 hotels, and a McDonalds. (

After a delightful view of London from the Eye, Andy and I take the Queen’s Walk heading east past Blackfriars Bridge into Bankside.

I added green circles on the map below to pinpoint the Queen’s Walk (the red line), the Millennium Bridge, Bankside, and the Globe Theater.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

As we continue walking past the Globe, I turn around and capture the column of the Tate Museum of Modern Art in the background.

Just beyond the Globe in Bankside we continue heading east. The Shard looms in the distance.

I turn around and take this picture of St. Paul’s Cathedral behind Southwark Bridge.

Continuing our walk along the Thames, we take Clink Street to Borough Market, as indicated by the blue mark-ups below.

As we approach the narrow cobbled walkway of Clink Street, we are greeted by this giant mural of Shakespeare.

Jimmy C, an Australian Street artist, painted this portrait on a brick wall in 2016 to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th birthday. (

Jimmy C is known for his portrait of David Bowie in Brixton.


Clink Prison and Museum

Clink Street gets its name from the prison attached to the medieval Winchester Palace, supposedly from the sounds of clanking manacles. Under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Winchester, prostitutes, brothel owners, drunks, brawlers, and petty thieves were thrown into the Clink, an unpleasant prison mostly below sea level, awaiting trial. (

In 1546 the brothels or “stews” were abolished by Henry VIII. When his daughter, Mary I, restored England to Catholicism in 1553, the prison housed Protestants awaiting execution, often by burning. In 1558 when Elizabeth I came to the throne, the religious climate had changed and recusants, Catholics who maintained their faith, were imprisoned here along with Brownists or Independents, who were extreme Protestants, the predecessors of the Puritans who eventually set sail on the Mayflower in 1620. (

Winchester Palace

One of the largest and most important medieval buildings in all of London, Winchester Palace was built as a home for the Bishop of Winchester, a powerful and major landowner who traditionally served as the king’s royal treasurer.

The city of Winchester served as the capital of the Saxon kings of England. Bishop Henry of Blois, the brother of King Stephen, founded the palace in the 12th century to house the bishops of the diocese in comfort when visiting the city for royal or administrative business.

All that remains today is this gable wall of the Great Hall with its  rose window and 3 doors leading to the buttery, pantry, and kitchen. Below the Hall was a vaulted cellar with a passage to a wharf on the River Thames. ( and

The palace remained in use until the 17th century when it was divided into tenements and warehouses.

These ruins were rediscovered in the 19th century following a fire, and finally revealed in the 1980s when this area underwent redevelopment. (

Borough Market

Located on the southern end of London Bridge in Southwark, this wholesale and retail food market is one of the largest and oldest. The present buildings were built in the 1850s. An archived website of Borough Market claims the existence of a market on this site since 1014. (

We order freshly-ground venison burgers for lunch and sit at a picnic table in an open food court. Andy takes his seat and his foot hits a tall rectangular package. He picks it up and it’s an expensive bottle of Johnny Walker, not something you leave out for a returning owner to find…. So Andy takes it to the nearest food booth and the worker places it on top of a refrigerator in plain sight.

Within 10 minutes a man walks by and glances at Andy’s feet. Then he looks up and turns around and notices his package in the food booth. The worker nods at us and, reunited with Johnny, the man walks over and profusely thanks Andy.

After lunch we walk a few feet to a pub adjoining the market and order a pint and a short-pint.

We enjoy the bustling atmosphere.

…And, after buying some cheese, bread, cured sausage, and heirloom tomatoes, we decide to walk to the Shard.

The Shard

Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, this 1,017 foot skyscraper offers panoramic views of London for up to 40 miles on a clear day.

The Shard has 11,000 glass panels covering 602,779 square feet. It takes 17 window cleaners 3 months to clean the whole building! (

We weren’t planning on going up to the viewing deck on the 72nd floor, but, Andy and I looked at each other, looked up at the Shard towering against a bright blue sky, and said why not? It’s a perfect day!

So glad we did!

The journey starts in 2 sets of high speed lifts that carry you up from level 1 to level 68 in sixty seconds. From here you walk up to level 69 which is an enclosed observation deck with a bar.

A stairwell leads to level 72 which is an open observation deck and the highest you can go, unless you are a window washer…

Oh, there’s a bar on this level as well. Champagne seems to be the cocktail of choice.

Andy and I are so glad we came up here! The views and experience are well worth it, especially on a clear day.

Back in Islington, we enjoy the charcuterie spread we purchased at Borough Market…

Another deliciously perfect day!

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