Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

August & October 2015: London

This page is a summary of three different visits to the UK capital: a relatively unusual midweek trip in August and two separate weekend jaunts in October. As ever with this endlessly interesting destination, all three 2015 visits were hugely enjoyable. Perhaps surprisingly after many years of regular visits, the places covered below include a healthy number of personal 'firsts'.

Tower Bridge / City Hall

This area was familiar enough, but since I was once again based there for part of my August visit, I saw no harm in taking a few up-to-date shots. Quite clearly from the photos, it's lunchtime!

The Wallace Collection

This extensive and impressive art collection can be found in Hertford House, Manchester Square - a short walk from Selfridge's. Originally a private collection, it was left to the nation around 1900. Surprisingly, I had never even heard of it until shortly before the trip.

Palace of Westminster

Although I have seen the Palace of Westminster (popularly known as the Houses of Parliament) countless times from the outside, prior to 2015 I had only ever toured the inside of the building on one occasion. This had been as long ago as the 1970s, but the visit did allow me to claim thereafter, with absolute truthfulness, that I had spoken on the floor of both houses.   Following a period of many years when the tours were withdrawn for security reasons, I was pleased to be able to relive the memory nearly four decades later, and even more delighted to find that the whole visitor experience was very well done.

The new audio tour covered Westminster Hall, St Stephen's Hall, the route used by the Queen during the State Opening of Parliament, the Lords Chamber, the Commons Chamber, and various lobbies. Photography was strictly limited to the first two of these areas, and the restriction was universally observed - perhaps because security services within the complex are provided by the Metropolitan Police.


I thought it was time to capture some real-life impressions of the most prestigious spot on the London 'Monopoly' board!

Somerset House

This substantial, 18th-century building is on the south side of the Strand. Formerly associated with various arms of government, it is today partly occupied by King's College and is also home to the Courtauld Gallery.

Holland Park

This west-London public park has given its name to a fashionable residential and shopping district, to an open-air theatre within the park and to a seasonal programme of operatic performances. The park itself is in three main sections; a woodland area to the north and an array of sports pitches to the south border a central section that is home to a number formal gardens, including two that are Japanese-inspired. 

Alexandra Palace

This eye-catching public entertainment venue dates from the 1870s, when it was opened as a kind of north-London equivalent of Crystal Palace, this having been rebuilt at Sydenham in 1852 following its original use in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Alexandra Palace was associated with the BBC for many years. It was badly damaged by fire in 1980.


Although Wimbledon is a substantial district of southwest London with many points of interest, for many people the name means one thing: the annual tennis championships, the only grand-slam tournament played on grass. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, to give it its full and proper name, also houses the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which in turn organises guided tours of the complex.

The City

Rather unusually, I was based in the famous 'Square Mile' for part of my August visit. As such, I couldn't resist taking a few shots of my immediate surroundings.