As we took a taxi direct from Heathrow Airport to my parents house in Leicestershire just before Christmas we didn’t actually see anything of London until we returned there for the New Years period. Due to maintenance work though it wasn’t quite so simple to get to London as we had to first take a bus to Bedford before changing to the train to St Pancras.
Rina’s main desire was to visit the British Museum but motion-sickness on the bus put paid to that idea and so once we got to our hotel near Blackwall Station in East London we didn’t rush back out as originally planned. She booked our hotel and I was very happy with the location as I am …(nerd alert!) … a fan of the driverless DLR Line which it’s on.
Piccadilly Circus (and not Piccadilly Circle as Rina said!) was our starting point on that first evening in the nations capital. Early dinner at Wasabi followed by some shopping and walking around amidst the Christmas lights and decorations was all we really did.
Still suffering from jet-lag and general tiredness, we returned to our hotel for an early night…and I mean an early night! I was in bed at 9:30 pm which was my earliest time to hit the sack for the whole trip where I struggled to stay up past 10 or 10:30pm! Rina was in bed over an hour before me!!
“Japanese” food was on the menu again the following morning as Rina wanted to get something at Itsu but, as mentioned in this ‘Dining Out‘ post, she was ultimately disappointed by her Japanese-Thai fusion dish.
Round the corner from Itsu was the British Museum. I left my wife to it as I’ve been there a few times now and didn’t really want to look around it again. Good to have some time apart too so I journeyed a little west to Marylebone Station. It’s frontage was thought to be a far more appealing exterior for Paddington Station in ‘Paddington‘ (2014).
Paddington Basin was somewhere I’d never beard of until I saw the ‘Jason Bourne‘ (2016) movie which features about 15 minutes of footage from there. As it was within walking distance of Marylebone Station, I decided to go there on foot to seek out the movie location match-up shots from that film. What I also found was another Paddington statue close to the entrance for the Underground station.
After reconvening with Rina at our planned time (2:30 pm if you must know!) we then walked south for about ten minutes to go to the Oasis Masterplan25 exhibition.
We then continued on to the Temple area passing this interesting looking building. I think it’s actually just a college but I liked it’s structure and appearance.
Better was to come just a little further on by way of the Victorian Gothic style buildings of the Temple area. Rina went to investigate the Royal Courts of Justice which were built in the 1870s.
Whilst she was in there I explored and got lost in the Middle Temple area as I tried to locate a few places including Temple Church which was where Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou (of ‘Amelie’ fame) searched for the tomb of a knight in ‘The Da Vinci Code‘ (2006).
Prepare yourself for some big New Years Eve celebrations! Ha! As if! We were in bed early again albeit a little later than the previous night. This was actually my first time as an adult to not be awake at midnight although I think I did wake for a brief second at that time as the fireworks were going off in the city centre.
That early night led to me being awake very early so whilst Rina continued to sleep I went out exploring in Canary Wharf Station. This state-of-the-art station has been used in ‘28 Days Later…‘ (2002), ‘Rogue One‘ (2016) and ‘Men In Black: International‘ (2019) but it was not easy trying to find some of the angles used in “one” of those films during my 60 minutes there!
Having briefly returned for breakfast with my wife at the hotel I then popped out on my own yet again. Not so far from our hotel was Trinity Buoy Wharf which is home to Fatboy’s Diner; the restaurant diner for the first date between Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah in ‘Sliding Doors‘ (1998).
Across the Thames was the O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome) which (from a movie perspective) played a starring role in the James Bond film ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999).
I can assure you that the rest of our New Year’s Day was spent together and what we did on that day, whilst dragging a small suitcase around, will be in the next instalment.
Click here to read ‘London Pt II: Capital Sights, The New Years Day Parade, Phone Box Art & Quirky Platforms!