Back in September I attended my first Open House London weekend which was fantastic and I managed to see everything I wanted to and more. The one place that I absolutely wanted to visit was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building so I headed there near its opening time and after a brief security check I got in without having to queue – not the situation when I left as the queue then was starting to skirt around the building.
Aldwych is a closed station on the London Underground which opened in November 1907 with the name Strand, as you can see below, named after the street it is on.
St Mary le Strand is one of London’s “island churches”, standing on a traffic island by Somerset House. It’s the second church to be called St Mary le Strand, the first having been pulled down in 1549 to make way for Somerset House. Construction of the present church began in 1714, the architect being James Gibbs (architect of St Martin-in-the-Fields among many other places).
I’d taken photos of the exterior of St Clement Danes Church on a previous visit to London but I was finally able to spare the time to go inside in September. Right by the Royal Courts of Justice it is one of London’s two “island churches”, so-called because of the layout of the road around it. (The other is St Mary le Strand which will be the focus of a later post).
Whenever I’m in London for a few days I try and schedule an afternoon of just wandering around an area and taking photos of places I’ve not managed to visit before or where I’ve visited only briefly. Despite the intermittent rain after visiting Temple Church I decided to take a wander around Somerset House. There was some sort of event going on inside so I only took photos of the courtyard and exterior.
As has become a yearly exercise I went out last week to take some photos of the Christmas lights around Nottingham. I was particularly impressed this year by the lights and tree in the Exchange shopping area as in the first picture below.
I’ve had the Temple Church on my to visit list for a while now and I finally got around to it on this most recent trip to London. The London headquarters of the Knights Templar, from where Temple Church took its name, it was consecrated in 1185. The Templar’s churches were always built to a circular design in remembrance of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which certainly makes it a striking building.
I’m not sure why I hadn’t realised you could actually go inside Wellington Arch until my most recent visit to London. It’s now an English Heritage property, built as an original entrance to Buckingham Palace but then became a victory arch celebrating the Duke of Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. The sculpture at the top, apparently the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, represents the Angel of Peace descending on the four-horsed Chariot of War.
Apsley House is an English Heritage property at Hyde Park Corner, the former residence of the Duke of Wellington. A Grade I listed building it was originally built by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley, the then Lord Chancellor, hence the name. The Duke of Wellington purchased the house in 1817.
Last weekend a friend and I travelled to Blenheim Palace for the Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail. Our tickets were for 5pm so we had just over an hour to explore the Christmas Market in the daylight and have a bite to eat from some of the many food vendors before heading along the trail.