Anarchy in the UK
Those were the headlines yesterday after I returned from my little solo site-seeing trip to central London. I missed the violent parts of the demonstration, but did see quite a few protestors on my route. More on that later.
My original plan was to start back at Trafalgar Square where Kevin and I had previously visited on our double-decker bus ride. I wanted to go back because the 2012 Olympic countdown clock is now on display.
I arrived before there were many people in the square, most didn’t arrive until the National Gallery opened at 10. In the meantime I explored St. Martins-in-the-fields church (which can be seen behind the Olympic clock). There has been a church there since 1222! Probably at that time it was in a field. The name is probably there to remind you how old the church is :-) The crypt of the church was very nice, with art galleries and they hold regular concerts.
Finally at 10AM I went in and took a quick look around the National Gallery. This is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in London. Just a few of the famous pictures here; Sunflowers – Van Gogh and Bather’s at Asnieres – Georges Seurat.
After a quick tour of the National Gallery I was already getting hungry, so I wandered across Trafalgar Square to Pret a Manger. I’m reasonable sure there are more of these restaurants in London than there are Starbucks in all the US! They serve premade sandwiches and are a staple of the business crowd in central London.
Trafalgar Square from the steps of the National Gallery.
The next part of my plan was to walk down Whitehall to Westminster Abbey and hop on the tube to wander around the Borough Market. The only part of that plan that actually happened was the walk down Whitehall. The rest was interrupted by the demonstrations.
The first thing I came across leaving Trafalgar Square was the Admiralty Arch which is at one end of the Mall heading towards Buckingham Palace.
As I walked down Whitehall, here are just a few of the sites I encountered:
(left to right) Downing Street, Scotland Yard, St. James Park, Bali Memorial
I finally made my way down to Westminster Abbey to catch the tube to Borough Market only to find that the station was closed for “security reasons”. A few minutes later it was clear I was at the beginning of a day of demonstrations.
Below are a few scenes as I walked back to Trafalgar Square to try and find an alternate way home.
All in all I had a great time wandering around in this very small section of London. Next time I’ll check the news to make sure I don’t go site-seeing during a demonstration. At least I got home before the violence started. If you didn’t read the news, here’s what things looked like later in the day: http://www.smh.com.au/world/protesters-run-riot-as-violence-erupts-on-londons-streets-20110327-1cbj4.html