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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2022, 2:14 PM
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hkskyline's 2022 in LONDON

London has always been a very special place for me. Going way back, I used to make annual visits to see friends and springboard into the rest of Europe. While those visits have dwindled in recent years as I chose more convenient and cheaper places to transit, this place has that certain level of familiarity.

Getting here is an adventure in itself. From Hong Kong, we used to get plenty of daily flights but with the pandemic restrictions persisting, I already thanked my lucky stars the 21 day hotel quarantine on return has changed to 7 in early 2022. I took the gamble and booked a flight despite the airline not resuming flying here yet. Then came airport chaos in Europe as they re-opened to normality, but I arrived unscathed without delays in the early summer.

Despite being a frequent visitor, I start with the traditional tourist circuit with a walk along the Thames. With cool summer weather as I came before the heat wave, I noticed tourist crowds have returned and life has gone back to normal.

Big Ben started ticking in 1859 and the structure was covered in scaffolding from 2017 to 2022 for restoration that costed 80 million pounds. Can you see the dials are now back to their original Prussian blue?



Continuing down Victoria Street, I passed more government offices and veered into the side streets for the surprisingly nice entrance to St. James's Park Tube station.





Queen Anne's Gate is a quiet side street with grand homes in Queen Anne architectural style. Their backs face into St. James's Park, and the street's tidiness suggests it's not a cheap area to live in.









A short walk away is the serene Royal Military Chapel. During World War II, the church was bombed and destroyed but the 6 silver candles on the main altar had not gone out, and have been kept lit since. The current chapel was built in 1963.









I then headed back to Parliament Square along the leafy Birdcage Walk to see the monumental government buildings along Whitehall. This area was actually a royal residence back in the 16th and 17th centuries until a great fire took out almost everything in 1698.





Nice promenades line both sides of the Thames and it is a comfortable flat walk all the way to The City.











The City's skyscraper developments have irked some conservationists all the way up to the royals. The Gherkin is almost entirely overshadowed by many taller neighbours. It wasn't long ago when it dominated the skyline.









Unfortunately, Tate Modern's viewing deck was not open today. With clearing skies, I decided to see the museum exhibits on another, likely rainy, day.



I had a grand plan to head past Tower Bridge along the South Bank, but the blue sky lured me to cross the Thames here to see St. Paul's and into The City to look for historic alleys now wedged between skyscrapers.











I actually quite like the modern and historic mix in the financial district. Even some of the new buildings respectfully keep to the neighbourhood heights to give it a bit more intimate human scale, although there are a few blocks where things get a bit more crazy and out of proportion.





















The Bank of England was founded in 1694 with a mission to serve the people as the government's banker and debt manager. The current building was a redevelopment completed in 1939. Note that a lot of central banks store their gold in the basement vaults here.





Across the street from the bank is the Royal Exchange, which was established in 1566 for trading stocks, taking inspiration from the Bourse in Antwerp. The current building is a third generation that was opened by Queen Victoria in 1844. It was extensively renovated in 2001 and is now a shopping mall.





Despite many modern skyscrapers in the area now, there are still a number of narrow alleys in the road plan. A bit hard to imagine what they were like hundreds of years ago though ...





I somewhat stumbled across Leadenhall Market, and it was a lucky discovery. Despite having walked around these streets a number of times before, I didn't realize how beautiful this place is. There were a lot of bankers enjoying a drink here during mid-afternoon. Interestingly, this isn't a scene we would see in Hong Kong, where bankers would be huddled high above the city in harbour-view offices to encourage rich folks to hand over an ounce of their wealth.







But this would be a nice place to have a drink and see what my bankers have to offer me.



Next door is an architecture fan must-see. Lloyd's services facilities, including staircases, elevators, toilets, and pipes, are placed on the outside of the building to facilitate maintenance. Just 25 years after it opened, it was listed as a Grade 1 building in 2011. If you are a VIP and want your leg or arm insured, this is the place to go to.



More photos coming on the next part or visit my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2022, 3:01 PM
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I was there at the beginning of the month and will be again later this week. Such a liveable city. The skyline has gotten both wacky and fascinating, which I love.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2022, 3:39 PM
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Very nice photos!!!
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  #4  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2022, 5:18 PM
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Were you there to compete on 'Who Wants to Be a Prime Minister"?
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2022, 7:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Were you there to compete on 'Who Wants to Be a Prime Minister"?
Believe it or not, at this point, I'm wondering whether I wouldn't be qualified for the job, myself.

Nah, that's kidding. All that hellish political pressure would be far too annoying for me to take it.
Not even politicized, I would feel lost in that mess, that would drive me insane.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2022, 9:26 PM
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Excellent set of photos... thanks! I was looking at the above one and thought that if you removed St Paul's, you could easily think you were looking at downtown Beverly Hills.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2022, 12:14 AM
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London never ceases to amaze.
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  #8  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2022, 2:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Were you there to compete on 'Who Wants to Be a Prime Minister"?
I can make a lot more money working a job far less visible to the public eye.
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2022, 6:09 AM
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The new crop of skyscrapers does look rather dynamic!
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 31, 2022, 10:41 AM
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Southwark once had a reputation for vice, being a hub for criminals and prostitutes during the Middle Ages. That has changed with new attractions, making the short journey across the Thames worthwhile. This is no longer an area to avoid.









Hay's Galleria was once a busy wharf that handled mostly perishable goods such as food. It has now transformed into a shopping area.





I headed behind London Bridge station en route to my next stop, the Leather Market.





Bermondsey Street has once the centre of the tanning industry but has since transformed into a trendy area with cafes, galleries, and shops.







The Leather Hide and Wool Exchange was built in 1878 and the exterior has artwork depicting the tanning process.















From here, I walked back to Borough High Street to the west, passing by residentials along the way. The neighbourhood was a bit rougher than the north side of the Thames, but not yet unsafe during the day.





Borough High Street was a major transport route between London and the south of England, as London Bridge was the only Thames crossing until 1750.















More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2022, 4:13 PM
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The Elizabeth Line's Central London section opened in May 2022, running every 5 minutes between Padddington and Abbey Wood daily except Sunday. Tfl's existing services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington as well as Liverpool Street to Shenfield were incorporated into this line although a change of trains is needed until 2023. With a tunnelled section under Central London, journey times between Paddington and Canary Wharf have shortened to only 17 minutes.





















More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2022, 8:59 PM
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Superb! Great shots. Can't wait to go back to London
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2022, 1:05 PM
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Magnificent!
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2022, 6:11 AM
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The area around Woolwich station is undergoing massive redevelopment while retaining part of its history as the former Royal Arsenal. It is very close to the Thames and river view units can see Canary Wharf's skyline. The 30-year project will house over 5000 new homes when complete.





















More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2022, 3:56 PM
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Here are some aerials of London as my plane approached Heathrow, which is always an exciting sight.





















More photos on my website : London Photo Gallery
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Last edited by hkskyline; Jan 7, 2023 at 11:01 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 27, 2022, 1:33 PM
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The top section of the Shard is occupied by the Shangri-La Hotel, with a few restaurants offering tremendous views from the city's tallest building. The observation deck is even higher up but with a 28 pound price tag, I opted to eat at the hotel a few floors down instead.



























The 52/F restaurant Gong serves Japanese food, although they strangely don't offer hot drinks such as a green tea.









More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2022, 4:55 AM
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Outstanding views from The Shard. Thanks for posting.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2023, 10:59 AM
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Once an industrial wasteland within viewing distance of Parliament, the Nine Elms area has been regenerated into a new residential and business district. The project is Europe's largest with 20,000 new homes and 25,000 jobs, with Apple placing its new London offices at the former power station and a new US Embassy. The Northern Line has also been extended with 2 new stations that opened in September 2021.

























More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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Old Posted Jan 10, 2023, 4:24 AM
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The Battersea Power Station once provided a fifth of London's electricity, operating from the 1930s until 1983, receiving Grade II listed status in 2007. Work began to redevelop the site in 2012 when the current shareholders bought stakes. The 42 acre site would include a shopping mall for the power station itself.

















Outside, there are many new buildings of various shapes and sizes in this new neighbourhood.













More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/london.htm
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Old Posted Jan 10, 2023, 10:47 PM
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^this is the famous pool for rich nobs, was it frozen?

From the snow on the ground I know what week you visited - the city was a ghost town due to train strikes
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