Eating Out,England,Exciting England,London,Markets,Museums,Sights,Travel

Southbank Shenanigans

Last weekend I met up with my friend Nicola at London Bridge station for a day of fun along the southbank of the Thames!  Nicola is actually from England but lives in Australia now, I met her while working in Western Australia, but she often comes back here to visit so it was fun to catch up.
First up we wandered around Borough Market, a food and produce market which is pretty amazing! So much food and different cuisines to try.  I only bought some honeycomb and Turkish Delight (and a pork belly and crackling roll), but you could easily go crazy here!

When you first go in you’re in this big area with plants all up the poles…

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One thing you see a lot of here is cheese, and some of the biggest cheeses I have ever seen!
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“Drunk Cheese” with red wines and other alcohol!
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At this stall you could buy actual liquorice root and all sorts of liquorice assortments, I know my grandfather would have liked this one!
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The cheesecake stall!
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Cool garden shop.
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All sorts of mustards and pickles.

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More cheese, the size of car tyres!
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Yorkshire rhubarb!

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I really liked how they displayed all their olives here.

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Like I said, there were delicacies from France, Turkey, England and lots of other places.

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All the different flavours of Turkish Delight! I had some traditional rose, as well as vanilla, pomegranate, peach and an orange and cloves flavour!

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Game and seafood is on offer.

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Pheasants and boar.

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The biggest asparagus I have ever seen!

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We then walked past Southwark Cathedral (with the Shard in the background of the third picture) as we continued along to our next destination.
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Here you can see a replica of The Golden Hinde, the ship Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe between 1577 and 1580.  You can go onto it for tours where the tour guides dress in period costumes to give you an idea of life on the high seas back then.  You can even hire it for children’s parties! See more here.
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We didn’t go onto the ship but continued a little way to another replica, this time of Shakespeare’s Globe.  However, we’ve both been here before so we just took some photos and visited the gift shop!  We also both bought an eraser that says “Out damned spot!” The Globe is well worth a visit if you’re in the area, there is an exhibition about Shakespeare and the theatre and you can go on tours of the theatre itself.  Performances of his plays are also presented in the Summer, I am definitely planning to get to one this year!
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We kept walking only a few more metres before we saw these lovely views of the Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern.

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Obviously the Tate Modern is inside an old power station, we were a bit confused when we first went in as to where all the art was!

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We figured it out in the end though (the galleries are up and to the sides) so we wandered around the free galleries for a while.  Some of it was good (there were some original Picasso pieces), but as a lot of it is very modern art it sometimes seems a bit odd…

Dead birds pierced by arrows against this drawing on the wall…

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Is that poo on the ground?

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Giant kaleidoscopes…

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Russian Communist propaganda posters.

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A Dali! My favourite bit 🙂

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The website for the Tate is here.  Don’t let my ambivalence stop you though, by this time Nicola and I were both getting sore feet and were hungry so started feeling a bit ‘cultured out’ at this point, so we headed into Leicester Square and had a very late lunch at TGI Fridays!

I’ve never been to a TGIs, so it was pretty fun.  We both had yummy burgers (vegetarian for Nicola) and chips.  The dessert menu also looked amazing but we were too full to fit any in! I guess I’ll have to go back another time 😉

Our last trip for the day was back to the Thames where we got off at Westminster, took some photos of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, before visiting The London Dungeon!  I couldn’t take any photos in there (you’re not allowed and it’s too dark anyway) but have a look at the website and I would definitely recommend this attraction to anyone visiting London.  Be warned, it is fairly expensive and you have to queue for quite some time (inside and outside) and it is pretty scary as well.  Don’t go alone!  But I do think you get your money’s worth.  There are frightening rides, amazing decor and actors in period dress who take you through the darker events of the city’s history; from Anne Boleyn going to the Traitor’s Gate (on a boat ride in which you go forwards and backwards in the dark and get splashed!), Sweeney Todd, the Great Plague, Jack the Ripper and even the torture of Guy Fawkes.  The whole thing is very atmospheric, the sound effects, the labyrinthine maze you weave around, even the smells are convincingly gross!  It takes about 90 minutes to get through (not including queuing times) and is not suitable for children!
We had a quick, light dinner before Nicola went out with a friend for some drinks, and I went home to bed!  It was a pretty awesome day, so for now I will leave you with some more pretty photos of the Houses of Parliament and London Eye in the evening.
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