The view of Tayyabs on Fieldgate Street, dubbed the best Indian restaurant in London, and the surrounding hierarchy of buildings in the very early hours of a frosty January morning, taken on my way to work. I love the light here – the warm amber glow of the streetlights, too early to be turned off, the sky still dark, but just getting light – you can’t tell whether this picture was taken in early evening in summer or in early morning in winter. I know it was the latter, and it feels all the more special for it.
Leaves poking through the November mist in Richmond Park. It was so misty, you could barely see in front of your nose! I thoroughly recommend it for deer spotting.
Taken on my way into work, looking up towards Horse Guards Parade in Westminster. It was so quiet in the breaking dawn.
I love the light and the stillness of the lake in the morning. The fountain looks like a frozen willow tree and the pelicans are bathing themselves on the rocks. St James’ Park, ethereal in the winter light.
What looks to be an eerily creepy gated establishment worthy of a horror film on a winter’s evening in January is in fact one of the most gorgeous and impressive buildings along the Victoria Embankment. Closed in by beautifully well-kept private gardens (they are actually open for the public to walk through if you get there very early in the morning before work, when the gardeners are tidying things up after an evening’s wind and rain), this is one of the buildings along Whitehall Court that remains like a fairytale silhouette in the winter sky. Inside it houses some of the most intriguing and unusual clubs and bars, such as The Lounge
Hustle and bustle on a Tuesday morning in June, under the Hungerford Bridge on Embankment Station.
Nelson looking handsome on his column.
Even horses have to queue… police horses waiting at traffic lights on Northumberland Avenue.
Green Park turning gold in early Autumn.
So many coots, so little time… coot-watching in St James’s Park.
I love the way these trees look as though they are part of an Amazon rainforest, but really it’s the courtyard of St James’s Church on Piccadilly.
A horse-drawn ‘Edward Stanley’ omnibus driving up Haymarket on the double, two beautiful greys out in front. I wish all transport could be more like this, perhaps it would make us slow down a bit and reconnect with Nature.
These flowers have the Philosopher’s Stone – they last and last and last, and they never stop looking beautiful. Thank you, gardeners of St James’s Park.
Standing to attention on the side of St James’s Lake – more coots than you can shake a stick at!
Tower Bridge from the South Bank, looking like the bridge from a fairy tale just before a storm.
Peaceful summer waters in St James’s Park.
The quiet and elusive black swan, one of only a handful I’ve spotted in St James’s Park.
A myriad of colour – an early autumn flowerbed on the south side of St James’s Park.
The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden… otherwise known as St James’s Park, Birdcage Walk.
This is how I imagine the Glades of Helicon would look like from Greek mythology… Taken whilst lazing in St James’s Square on a rare Friday afternoon in late Summer.
Sunset on a cool summer’s evening looking over the lake towards the Eye and the buildings of Westminster.
A view from the bridge as the sun went down over Buckingham Palace
Nelson on his column in the late Summer evening, catching the last of the rays
St James’s Park… Peaceful under the trees
The view from my (old) offices. Politics isn’t what you think it is, but the views aren’t all that bad!
The rare sight of autumn crocuses, or the ‘Naked Lady’. Thank you gardeners of St James’s Park!
He’s watching you… A stealthy heron giving me the eye on a calm summer’s evening in St James’s Park
My favourite picture ever taken in St James’s Park, behind me say a man doing yoga and in front lay students and friends playing and laughing in the late afternoon sun.
Mother duck with her crew, taking a turn around St James’s lake
A pair of swans in Regent’s Park.
Battersea power station like an ominous beast on the horizon.
The view from the South Bank across to Lower Thames Street and Monument. When I look at this picture compared to those of trees and lakes, can you believe this is part of our planet?
I love the contrast between the old, regal stature of Buckingham Palace and the tower block and red, hanging cranes in the distance. It is such a strong representation of London – the mesh of architectural forms, the new always building, whilst the tradition stays strong.
I find it painfully ironic that this bar is called ‘Halfway to Heaven’. It is a low-rise greasy knees-up packed into the side of the African High Commission. But there definitely seems to be quite a few people drinking outside. Maybe the owner has a sense of humour!
Taken on a summer’s evening as I walked back from work through Chancery Lane and wandered into Lincoln’s Fields, which are usually barred to the public. It was their summer party and the guard was on the phone so taking advantage of the lull in security, I wandered in. It was a stunning sight and reminded me of my time at school. Great leafy buildings and lawns with well-kept paths, a chapel rising in the distance. I could have stayed a long time.
Hyde Park on a drizzly day in August, looking very much like an unbounded country walk rather than a park in the centre of London.
My path through Hyde Park, off the beaten track.
The entrance to one of the grand old buildings in Lincoln’s Fields. I love this picture as it reminds me of school.
The Leadenhall Building from the ground, with the sun just breaking through the clouds.
Bright sunshine after a sharp spat of rain but no sign of it now. Standing in front of the Whitechapel Gallery… and those cranes again – great creating arms in the sky.
The herb garden of Hackney City Farm on Hackney Road beside Haggerston Park. Again, I love the raw red metal framing beside the soft greens and purples of the trees and herbs. It’s a London scene again, one which makes me love it so much.
Even though I live in the heart of Whitechapel, it makes my heart sing that this is my little view. My bedroom looks out onto a little courtyard which is awash with rubbish, but the power of Nature burns through. The tree you can see in the background has been ripped out so many times yet it still finds a way to come back into bloom every summer!
Forbidden fruit – the tree laden with poison berries outside my front gate. It’s a beautiful evil.
The Garden of Eden.
I’ve seen Green Park in all weathers and all seasons, but there is a special charm to it in the rain, when no one else is around and most people forgo the wet paths for their safe cars. The park is deserted and it’s all mine, with Buckingham Palace illumined in the distance.
All roads lead to… this magnificent building, which I got to see under construction with Mark Hutton and his team. I’ve always had a soft spot for it, ever since I wrote the article ‘Awakening the Giant: Then and Now’ on Messy Nessy Chic.
This is one of those incredible buildings that I walk past every day, but didn’t notice its fairytale palace detail and in-laid gold until fairly recently. This is the Atkinsons Building on Burlington Gardens, designed in the Gothic Revival style by Vincent Harris and originally built for the perfume company, ‘Atkinsons of London’. Sometimes you forget to look up in London, and it’s always worth doing so!
I love this plant right outside my window. It makes me so happy just to look at its wet leaves poking through the bars.
Battersea Power Station at sunset after a very successful evening drinking English sparkling wine at the site it’s on. I love the smudgy feel of this picture, the quiet beast is going to sleep.
The sun going down on a tranquil St James’s Park in September.
Feeling the warm sun on my back through the trees. Green Park.
A very tranquil image that shocks you back into the reality of life – a life with horses, and parks and water and connection with animals. Everyone was standing around watching in fascination. I love that there can be these little pockets of the countryside all over London. This was taken outside Green Park station as everyone was leaving work – a policeman exercising a large grey police horse. He was a bit out of breath, so he let him drink from the fountain.
Such surprisingly warm sunshine in October on one of my walks in Green Park
Green Park in the rain with Buckingham Palace in the distance
Taken on a balmy evening in October just outside Whitehall Gardens. The Eye looks like a giant ferris wheel and the open top tour bus just made it so jolly.
A heron perched unusually atop one of the willow trees in St James’s Park, keeping watch over the lake.
A pigeon taking flight from Wapping Wharf. It puts Canary Wharf and all its supposed ‘wealth’ into perspective.
In the distance is the same grey police horse who was drinking at the fountain outside Green Park station after his evening stroll. Here he is again walking down The Mile towards Trafalgar Square in the early evening.
During my incognito stroll around Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It’s one of London’s great joys that this stunning 17th century architecture still exists amidst the corporate hubub of offices on Chancery Lane and Fleet Street.
Another quietly magnificent building in the 17th century Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is still in use today.
Enjoying the feeling of grass on my feet in my sparkly sandels, albeit in the midst of London’s Hyde Park.
It is strange to think sometimes that urban landscapes such as this are also classed as ‘a view’ in much the same way as rural ones are. This is the view from across the Thames standing on the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.
I lived in London for 5 years before discovering this absolute Queen Anne gem that is the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It is like stepping into another world.
A couple enjoying a quiet moment in St James’s Park in early Autumn. We can all do with these sometimes.
The Royal Courts of Justice, just around the corner from where I studied at King’s College, London. My library, the Maughan, where I spent the majority of my final year, saw many a bustling barrister on his way to court in full legal attire. It was always an impressive sight.
St Paul’s Cathedral is and will always be one of my favourite buildings in London. It’s beauty and grandeur never cease to astound me. This picture was taken on one of my many walks home, which always takes me right up to it and past its gardens. I sang here once and the acoustic was incredible.
One of my favourite pictures ever taken of Whitechapel is this glimpse of the East London Mosque from the window of Indo, a small pub on Whitechapel Road.
I absolutely love the trees outside my front gate. My street in Whitechapel is beautiful and the berries add a splash of colour that always makes me smile.
A member of the Golden Eye duck family whizzing by.
It still brings me joy to walk past the Gherkin every day and catch sight of it in all its moods and in all weather. It never loses its touch.
I am always stumbling across churches either forgotten or largely unknown to the majority around them. This one was opposite some playing courts and Spitalfields City Farm. St Anne’s Catholic Church on Underwood Street.
Some white geese taking a nap under their wings.
A cold morning light from the bridge in St James’s Park, my favourite spot.
Warm sun on my back on one of my walks at lunchtime in Green Park.
The Gothic – style front of St Anne’s Catholic Church on Underwood Road. The front always reminds me of Notre Dame.
A passage read during one of my strolls from Jon Krakauer’s novel ‘Into the Wild’.
The elusive black swan paddles in solitude away from some festive hanging berries.
The BT Tower rising like a spaceship from a street in the Borough of Camden.
So many squirrels burrowing fervently as fast as the gardeners can dig up the borders to plant new flowers for the season!
Regent’s Park in beautiful hues. Tranquil and blue.
A homeless gentleman feeding the ducks in the early morning hours in St James’s Park.
Reflections in Autumn on the lake’s surface, Regent’s Park.
A pair of Egyptian geese enjoying a morning bathe in St James’s Park. This beautiful species of goose are native to Africa. The Ancient Egyptians believed they were sacred and these geese feature frequently in artwork from this period.
My poisonous tree right outside, looking just as gorgeous in early winter. It compliments the Georgian houses in front in any season, any weather.
Just chillin’… the Bar-headed goose is a species that usually winters in Pakistan, but this pair seem to be just fine hanging out together in St James’ Park right here in London!
The bridge on a frosty winter’s eve in St James’ Park. If it wasn’t for the figure’s backpack, this could be a scene from a Victorian novel with the gas lamps burning to light the traveller’s way through leafy London.
A neon glow from the traffic peeping through the trees as I walked beside the lake in St James’ on my way home one evening in December.
The grey squirrels in Green Park honestly have a lot of confidence… / balls. Not for them the shrinking wallflowers of the countrified, provincial squirrels, who are usually wary of any humans who happen to come their way… these ones just go right on and climb up your foot or eat right out of your hand! I have to say, it is amazing to feel at one with Nature in the middle of London with a wild squirrel eating out of your hand. I thank God for them every day!
One of my favourite pictures of Buckingham Palace, taken in November when it was just getting much, much colder. I love the green neon glow of the lights against the red of the cranes and inky smoky black of the night sky. That’s a flag pole with its flags furled tight away in the foreground.
This was the day I sat and watched a stag and his two hinds in Richmond Park for hours as they browsed in the bracken. They let me get close enough to sit only a metre away on a chilly tree stump and admire them, unbothered as we were in those misty conditions by any other tourists. They were happy to be there and I was quietly elated to be so close. Deer are my favourite animals.
Richmond Park in the mist.
These strikingly coloured Egyptian geese are unusually calm about people getting so close, but I expect this is because of all the tourists who wander up to take a look!
He’s a poser, this one.
I had to look up this building because I have never known its name although I have seen it many times, illumined against the night sky and towering palatially above the Victoria Embankment Gardens. It looks out imperiously across the Thames towards Waterloo. If anyone has ever read the Philip Pullman book ‘The Golden Compass’, this is genuinely what I imagine the Magisterium to look like! This is in fact the Adelphi Buildings, ‘a group of 24 neo-classical terrace houses between the Strand and the River Thames’ (Wiki). They were built in the mid-18th century and retain the 1930s art deco frontispiece. Notable residents include Thomas Hardy, the English novelist, and George Bernard Shaw, the celebrated playwright.
I love this swan. I want to name her. I hope it’s the same one as is in my pst ‘The Black Swan’.
The Royal London Hospital from Fieldgate Street on a cold clear morning in January. it was so beautiful with the steam billowing from its many vents in the early hours of the morning, I had to take a photo. This building inspires me, nestled as it is in the heart of the city, and always beating its own heartbeat, caring for those inside it as the chaos goes on around it. I love its modern blue tower block style. When I worked in the Heron Tower in the City, I could look out from the 18th floor and spot its big blue face in the distance and know that my home was just round the corner.
One of my favourite pictures ever taken in St James’ Park. On my way back from work, I was on the phone to my sister I think, or just about to be anyway, and I noticed how the ground-lamps from the ‘Inn the Park’, the restaurant in St James’, were illumining the trees’ spider hands just so. It is a ghostly but somehow comforting image.
This image was taken of the golden statue outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen Victoria Memorial, as I walked on my lunch break down through Green Park. My close friend’s grandfather was terribly ill at the time and I remember taking this picture to cheer her up. It ended up too dark in the end and I ended up sending her a much less sombre one, but I like the way it turned it out. It seems like the perfect darker side of a close angel watching over us, perhaps as though an eclipse was about to occur or a snowstorm begin. For me, it captures the statue in a perfect light in January.
A couple kissing down by the Wapping shore of the Thames, outside the Prospect of Whiby pub and looking out towards the Glass City.
My gorgeous chilly street on a clear winter’s morning in January. It never gets old for me.
Nancy Mitford is one of my favourite female novelists. She was incredibly witty and led an absolutely fascinating life. Her letters, along with those of her 5 sisters, are published for everyone to enjoy, and I thoroughly recommend reading her best-known novel ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, just for the laughs!
Whitechapel in the morning . It never ceases to amaze me with its unexpected beauty.
Taken on an evening when I was feeling low in November. I remember standing on the Embankment and staring across at the Eye, knowing that I wanted to make a difference in the world, and not knowing how. I was on the phone to my mother’s best friend at the time, who has helped me immeasurably just by talking to me. I got the most beautiful picture out of it. Proof that beauty can come from the saddest things.
The Thames on a warm winter’s evening in December. It looks like a scene out of a Dickensian novel – the Victorian mudlark picking at the shores of the River Thames at low tide. You can reach this shady spot just down the secret mossy steps beside the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping.
Under the bridge downtown… was where I took this picture. Well, not really downtown, but in my favourite part of the East End. I’d ventured down Quaker Street towards Bethnal Green Road and came across this singer with his guitar. It was a cold evening and people hadn’t yet finished work so we had it to ourselves. I headed off after this to enjoy a dinner for one in the Shoreditch Beach Blanket Babylon and a cocktail.
This plaque is nailed to a house in Whitechapel on the corner of Old Montague Street and Vallance Road. I have to say that the photo was taken whilst I was rather tipsy on the way to The Carpenters Arms, my favourite pub on Cheshire Street. But I love what the plaque reads and it inspired me to find out more about Mary Hughes, who was a ‘friend to all who knew her’.
The Wheatsheaf in Borough Market on a Saturday evening, an incredible space, this is definitely the venue of my next party! Open-air and somehow undercover, spacious, with tyres hanging from the beams for you to swing on, loads of exposed brick and the music is always loud loud loud.
The strikingly coloured Egyptian geese foraging for worms in the dewy grass.
An oyster bar, Elliot’s Market cafe and Feng Sushi right next to one another… what’s not to love?!
The weak winter sun on the Hop Exchange on Southwark Street in London Bridge. It’s a beautiful, unusual building and I want to find out more about it.
One of my favourite and most familiar spots in London – the tube station at Aldgate East. I see it every single day and there is always a real mish-mash of characters outside.
Another image of the light capping the highest buildings outside Borough Market.
Borough Market on a Saturday, amidst the hustle and bustle.
It turns out that there are actually fish in the lake in St James’s Park… they don’t come out very often, but when they do they are HUGE. The best time to see them is very early in the morning, as this one was spotted here. I’m not sure what kind of fish this is yet, I will endeavour to find out.
I love the light on this building on Borough High Street. This was taken just after the rain had fallen in short sharp bursts and the sun had suddenly burst through the clouds on our way to Borough Market on a chilly Saturday in November.
So green for January!