Mini Walking Tour of London, part 1

So, I love walking. I think its the best way to see a city and my recent work trip to London gave me a couple of free afternoons to march around Britain’s capital. For this first walk I got off the tube at Covent Garden made my way to Cecile Court, where two dapper gentlemen were browsing antique maps.And one man in a flat cap was picking up £1 books.  For the uninitiated Cecil Court is a late Victorian thoroughfare linking Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane, lined with shops specializing in rare and antiquarian books, maps and prints.
Cecil CourtCecil Court - beautiful Jane BirkinThere was a great shop selling JK Rowling signed Harry Potter books across from this seriously funky shop window featuring the very beautiful Jane Birkin.  I then walked down Charing Cross Road and ended up at the National Gallery.
National GalleryThe National Gallery is joyfully free and open 361 days of the year. The National Portrait Gallery next door has great a programme of events called Late Shift every Thursday and Friday from 6pm – 9pm. There is a free drop in drawing class every week, talks, discussions, live music, films, a bar and I think even life drawing classes once a month.
talentI then headed past St Martins in the Field, down and over Hungerford bridge (yep thats what it’s called).  Above: Talent spotting on the Southbank.  Below: Love that orange! the Southbank Centre Book Market housed under Waterloo Bridge on Queen’s Walk is fun, free and right next to the BFI’s amazing cafe.
second hand booksAnd past the brutal architectural gem that is the National Theatre, complete with bright red pop-up timber auditorium. Affectionately called Shed A, the temporary structure is in place while the Dorfam auditorium undergoes a year-long refurbishment.
NT exterior2 IMG_6374 Natinoal lightNext, the crazy juxtaposition of Gabriel’s Wharf with the surrounding city.  Gabriel’s Wharf feels like a crazy boutique village in the middle of the city with independent shops and cafes… and painted red brick buildings.
GabrielsBefore heading down and around Tate Modern.  Below:  Looking down on Abraham Cruzvillegas Turbine Hall commission and the very special Tate Modern bookshop with an awesome paper airplane book.
Tate Modern Tate Modern from above Tate Modern book shop paper airplanes

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