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Monday, December 17, 2012
Cindy is a London blogger who is passionate about eduacting others on all the wonders which the London has to offer. Her blog is filled with exciting tips on how to make the most out of a 3 day trip to London.
Q.What does 3 days in London signify?
A.3 Days in London signifies a whirlwind journey; a journey of exploration and discovery, about finding the hidden gems of London as well as the top attractions and seeing as much of what the city has to offer as is possible in 3 Days.
Q.What inspired you to get into travel writing? When did you start your blog?
A.I started travel writing when I first arrived in Europe; regaling my family and friends with tales of my travels via emails that took a couple of hours to read! They got fed up with that so I started blogging instead on notjustagranny.wordpress.com. When I joined twitter a few years ago under my own profile of @notjustagranny I 'tweeted' with a lass from America who one day asked me for some ideas of what to do in London for 6 hours. I created an itinerary for her, showed it to my daughter who thought it was a brilliant idea and thus 3 Days in London was conceived.
Q.Which other cities have you visited and how does London stand out?
A.I have travelled all over Ireland, been to Edinburgh, Inverness, Cardiff, St David's, Windsor, Winchester (and many others besides). I have visited Venice, Verona, Paris, Versailles, Amsterdam, Bruges, New York, Miami and many, many more.
The reason why I think London stands out is due to the fascinating mix of ancient, old and very new. From a Roman Amphitheatre, and the remains of the Roman city walls, ruins of a Mithras Temple to Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral and everything in-between across the aeons to the Gerkin and the Shard we have a cauldron of villages, people, architecture, palaces, history and ancient traditions - some of which date back into the mists of time, all coalesced into one massive conurbation that yet still maintains it's country roots with wide open green spaces. No other city I have visited mixes all of these together so well, where seriously ancient wooden and brick buildings, some of which survived the Great Fire of 1666, huddle cheek by jowl with modern towers of steel and glass. Which other city can boast that both Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens were born there never mind the hundreds of well-known or famous and infamous people who have lived there from all over the world!! I could write reams of why London truly is a city for everyone. You can NEVER be bored in London.
Q.Is there a hidden gem or a lesser known place in London that people should definitely see?
A.With hidden gems aplenty in London it is hard for me to choose one in particular. But I will say that my most amazing discovery was the Roman Amphitheatre. I was astounded to say the least. Now that is a hidden gem!
Q.What can you do and see in London in 24 hours?
A.If you leave it to me, I would happily spend a good 24 hours going walkabout. For the not so crazy, I would start off at Tower Bridge for a most fabulous vista of the old and new city on both the north and south banks of the Thames, then a visit to the Tower of London and up to Tower Hill to see the remains of the old Roman wall, after which I would hop on the iconic Routemaster number 15 to visit St Paul's' Cathedral and climb the galleries. From there I would head over to The Centre Page Pub for steal & ale pie with buttery mash, mushy peas & a pint.
Once replete I would walk along St Paul's Vista, cross over the Thames via the Millennium Bridge for a quick visit to the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern, then back to see Temple Bar, Paternoster Square, the facade of Cutler's Hall and visit Stationer's Hall. I would then take a walk along thousands of years of history down Ludgate Hill, with a diversion along Old Bailey to see St Sepulchre's Church and the Criminal Courts aka Old Bailey, then back to Ludgate Circus and along Fleet Street to St Bride's Church to visit the crypt. I would then walk past the place where Samuel Pepys was born, slip along narrow alleyways to Dr Johnson's House, stop for a pint at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese before continuing back along Fleet Street and thus to Strand and the original Temple Bar where I would step back in time into Inner Temple to visit the church of the Knight's Templar.
Next I would take a quick stop at The Royal Courts of Justice, a visit to the two island churches of St Clement Danes and St Mary le Strand, before heading onto Somerset House, then a quick walk through Soho to Covent Garden, China Town and onto Trafalgar Square. I would pop into The National Gallery, stop on the porch before I left to look along Whitehall to see Big Ben in the distance, make a quick visit to St Martin-in-the-Fields to see the exquisite sculpture of the baby on the porch and the beautiful East window. From there I would head up to Leicester Square and along to Piccadilly Circus to see the Shaftesbury Memorial fountain and Anteros/Eros, the architecture of Regent Street and along Piccadilly to see the Fortnum & Mason Clock, then I'd head back to walk along Lower Regent Street, down the stairs at Waterloo Place, past The Duke of York on his perch and onto The Mall and thus to Buckingham Palace.
After a brief visit I would then step into St James's Park and stroll alongside the lake where I would hopefully see the pelicans; descendents of the pair given to King Charles II in 1664, then past the Swire Fountain to the Bird keepers Cottage, across the Horse-Guards Parade where I would make a circumnavigation of the parade to see the statues, the Turkish guns and admire Old Admiralty and possibly sneak a peek at the windows of number 10 Downing Street. I'd then walk through the courtyard to Whitehall and turning right would walk past Downing Street and King Charles Street stopping briefly at the Cenotaph before heading to Parliament Square and making a quick diversion to the Jewel Tower.
I would then walk through the grounds of Westminster Abbey, across to see the fabulous reliefs/sculptures on the front of The Supreme Courts, then to the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. From there I would walk across Westminster Bridge stopping briefly to say hello to Boudicca, and to read Wordsworth's poem, then head over to Southbank and the London Eye. I would then walk along Southbank to the carousel, cross the Thames again via the upstream side of the Hungerford/Golden Jubilee Footbridge to Victoria Embankment, visit Cleopatra's Needle then visit the bomb damaged Sphinx's. After I would have early morning tea and breakfast at the cafe in Victoria Embankment Gardens, say hello to Lord Byron and have a quick look at the Arthur Sullivan memorial before crossing back over the river via the downstream side of Golden Jubilee footbridge, stopping to admire the wonderful vista of London skyline at sunrise with St Paul's in the distance.
After I would walk past the Royal Festival Hall to Waterloo Station where I would take the train to Richmond, walk across Richmond Green (the scene of jousting competitions in the middle Ages), through the grounds of what was once Richmond Palace, cross the river via Twickenham Bridge and home to sleep for 3 days. I have no doubt that along the way I would stop in at any number of coffee shops for a quick cup of coffee or hot chocolate to keep me going, especially if it is winter!
Q.Name 3 quirky London attractions that everyone should go to.
A.John Soanes Museum, Lincoln Inn Fields
Dr Samuel Johnson's House, Gough Square
Leadenhall Market, City of London
Q.Any tips for aspiring travel blogger out there?
A.Write about what you love whether it be a city, a country, the traditions of a certain culture, the architecture, the food or a way of travel. There is no easier way to put pen to paper than if you have a passion for your subject. Write from the heart.
Follow Cindy on Twitter at @3days_in_london and see her blog here: http://3daysinlondon.info/
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