Springtime in London, sooner or later, generally means rain. But this isn’t such a bad thing- after all, umbrellas can add a certain charm to any outfit, and London has no shortage of fascinating indoor attractions that can be enjoyed when the weather isn’t quite so friendly. Furthermore, the capital’s skyline is really beautiful shrouded in cloud and fog. It gets a sort of dreamy quality that is at odds with the never-ending bustle of the streets; and when the sky is nothing but a flat grey canvas, it’s almost as if London is all that exists. It’s very special. On my May 2012 trip to London with my dad and brother, we had only one day that was like this, and we enjoyed it as much as all the other sunny days.
View from our room at the Danubius Hotel Regents Park, with the featureless cloudy sky prominent
Nothing could be more comforting on a grey London day than a pub lunch and a pint, so on this particular day we took a train from Waterloo Station to Hampton Court in order to eat at the Albion pub. Located on a charming little street about 5 minutes from Hampton Court Palace, the Albion is a wonderful pub. The atmosphere is cosy and traditional, and I always find the food fantastic- on this occasion, I ordered Chicken Kiev while my companions went for the classic Bangers and Mash. Both dishes were very well-received. But most importantly, the Albion serves Fuller’s London Pride, which is my beer of choice!
After our lunch, we went back to the station to catch a train back to Waterloo. Before embarking, however, we took advantage of a cupcake shop located at the station, and each bought a gourmet cupcake to enjoy on the journey back! The Waterloo-Hampton Court rail journey offers some interest of its own, and some famous London landmarks are visible from the train.
The Docklands, with “Canary Wharf” (the pyramid-topped building) visible in centre
Tower Bridge, and the A100 road that crosses over it
A charming church, one of many that exist in Greater London
The Shard, which is currently the tallest building in the European Union
This striking building was still under construction in May 2012
Our train journey also afforded some intriguing sights of Greater London- glimpses of Edwardian residential areas, overgrown allotments, and nostalgic-looking town centres.
Semidetached homes around the Surbiton area
It looks like there’s a pub on the left side of this picturesque street!
We also went through Wimbledon- that meant great excitement for me, since I am a huge tennis fan and I eagerly await every late June because of the famous and prestigious tournament. One can’t see the Wimbledon tennis courts from the train, but the tracks do go past the Centre Court shopping centre, which always amuses me.
In all, the trip from Waterloo to Hampton Court (or back again) takes about 30 minutes, which makes it an easy way to reach central London from the southwestern outskirts. That’s quite convenient for me, since it means it’s never too difficult to pop down to the Albion whenever I’m in London! Once we were back at Waterloo, half of the day still remained, so we made our way to Tower Bridge. But that’s another post! Watch out for Part Four of this series for some breathtaking aerial (or close to it!) views of London in the rain!