Blog Archives

Photo Friday: Looking up the grand staircase at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The grand staircase at the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

I know I’m not alone when I say St Pancras station is one of my favourite London buildings. The Gothic Revival, Victorian masterpiece puts its (rather dull in comparison), rival London mainline stations in the shade. St Pancras was built as an hotel and train station in 1868 to a design by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878).

The Midland Grand Hotel as it then was known was very luxurious when it first opened and boasted fireplaces in every room (although sadly not ensuite bathrooms, which contributed to its demise in the 1930s when it was closed). The centrepiece of the hotel was – and still is – its grand staircase and gold leaf wallpaper. When the building was taken over to reopen as the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in the 21st century, the double staircase was restored to its former glory. Why not take a look on a visit to the Gilbert Scott restaurant and bar and gaze up at the starry vaulted ceiling and its Neo-Gothic features.

  • St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras.

For a review of Afternoon Tea at the Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance, click here.

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Photo Friday: Tribute to our ‘special relationship’ with Allies on Bond Street

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

‘Allies’, a bronze sculpture by Lawrence Holofcener

Sat at the junction where Old and New Bond Street meet is a sculpture of a more recent piece of history compared to the many 18th and 19th century monuments dotted around Westminster. In contrast to the equestrian or military poses of many depictions of famous British leaders, royals and soldiers, this particular tribute is rather more informal.

Seated on a bench outside 16 New Bond Street is ‘Allies’, two bronzes statues of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) sitting talking. The piece, created by sculptor Lawrence Holofcener, was a gift to the City of Westminster from the shops and businesses of the Bond Street Association. It was unveiled by the late Princess Margaret in May 1995 to commemorate 50 years of peace.

  • The ‘Allies’ sculpture is situated outside 16 New Bond Street, Mayfair, W1S 3SU. Nearest station: Green Park or Oxford Circus.

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Photo Friday: Dusk at Trafalgar Square

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Trafalgar Square at dusk on a February evening

I haven’t done a ‘Photo Friday’ post for a long time but took this photo with my camera phone this week and wanted to share it. While I’m not a fan of the cold weather, the cooler temperatures do often make for clearer skies. I visited the National Gallery after work earlier this week and was distracted by the stunning light in the sky as I left the building. As the sun went down, the lights gradually started to come on as the city starts to twinkle. I see this as a quintessential London scene, with people meandering around the square, buses and taxis whizzing past and the monuments such as the Houses of Parliament and Nelson’s Column standing tall against the sky.

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London in silhouette against an August sunset

Just posting a rare photo post to the blog following a lovely summer sky in London last night. After spending Saturday outside in the park with friends, we were a bit disappointed by the frequent cloud cover throughout the day. Of course, clouds and sunshine usually means for gorgeous sunsets so we were rewarded later on. Here’s a view from Tower Bridge looking east down the River Thames featuring silhouettes of various London landmarks, such as the BT Tower, St Paul’s Cathedral and Cannon Street station.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Summer sky: A view looking east down the River Thames from Tower Bridge on 1 August 2015

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Photo Friday: Smiljan Radić’s Serpentine Pavilion

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Smiljan Radić’s Serpentine Pavilion is open until 19 October 2014

I haven’t done a photo post in a while, but thought I’d do a short post with a photo of the Serpentine Pavilion, which is only open for another few weeks before it leaves London forever. Every year, the Serpentine gallery in Kensington Gardens invites an architect to design a temporary structure outside the building for the summer.

Open since late June, this year’s Pavilion is the 14th and has been designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. The Pavilion is a semi-translucent shell-like structure propped up on quarry stones. It has been compared to a giant rock or spaceship due to its wide span of metallic-looking material. The temporary building includes a café inside, giving visitors a chance to enter and interact with the Pavilion.

  • The Pavilion is located in Kensington Gardens, just outside the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington W2 3XA. Nearest tube: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. The gallery is free to enter and is open daily from 10am-6pm. The Pavilion remains open daily until 19 October 2014. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website.

For a post on last year’s Pavilion, read Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013: Sou Fujimoto lights up Kensington Gardens with his airy, lattice creation.

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A different kind of street art: Painter on Hungerford Bridge

Street art has been gaining a newfound respect in recent years thanks to the likes of Banksy and Stik. However, of course there is another kind of ‘street art’… as in someone on the street creating art. While crossing Hungerford Bridge today, I spotted an artist painting the London Eye and Southbank. I rarely see artists creating work outside these days so it was a pleasant surprise to see a painter in action. Hope he was pleased with the finished article…

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

A painter on Hungerford Bridge studying the London Eye

Greenwich summer sunset over the River Thames

The glorious hot weather we’ve had over the past few weeks have made for some stunning sunsets. Last night, I was out with a few friends enjoying some alfresco drinking in Greenwich and couldn’t resist the draw of the River Thames as the sun prepared to go to bed. I took this photo with my cameraphone, so admittedly not as good as it could have been if I remembered my camera! However, the combination of still water, clouds, the colours and silhouette of The Shard in the distance made for a stunning scene.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Summer nights: Sunset over the River Thames at Greenwich on 26 July 2013

Eerie shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral on the sky

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Eerie: A shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral dome on the sky

Tonight I was out in the City of London for dinner and a spot of theatre. I’ve heard about the roof terrace at One New Change and popped up in the lift to the sixth floor to check it out. Although the sky was overcast, it was a lovely view of St Paul’s, The Shard, Oxo Tower and more. However, a few hours later, once the ‘sun’ (cough cough) had gone down, we were passing One New Change on our way home so couldn’t resist popping back up to the terrace for another perspective at night. Bizarrely, thanks to what I assume was a combination of low cloud cover and the powerful lights on St Paul’s, there was actually a silhouette, shadow of the iconic dome on the sky. I must confess it was very strange, and slightly eerie and I’m glad I had my proper camera on me to capture the shot.

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Reflection of The Shard on melted snow water

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Reflection of The Shard on a puddle of melted snow on the river wall of the northbank of the River Thames

Despite the unseasonal freezing March, I braved the cold today and spent several hours walking around the City of London and Southbank. The poor weather meant there weren’t as many people around so I enjoyed a bit of ‘me time’ with my beloved city. As I walked along the Thames Path on the north bank of the River Thames, I took this photo of The Shard’s reflection in a puddle from the melted snow on the river wall. You can see the murky Thames just at the top of the image, as well as the snow-filled clouds and grey sky. It’s funny, the building has been finished less than a year and already I feel like The Shard has been there for longer.


For more photos of The Shard, read Metro Girl’s blog post on the building’s inauguration laser show.

Or for a review of Silent Disco at The Shard, click here.

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Stunning December sunset over Buckingham Palace

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

See the light: Sunset over Buckingham Palace on December 7, 2012

Yes, December means Christmas, so it’s a very exciting month. But Christmas aside, for me as a ‘hater’ of winter and the cold, I’m kinda ready to press fast-forward onto March because I hate-the-cold (have I mentioned that already?). However, yesterday I looked up and was blown away by the stunning sky. I just don’t think you get this kind of light in Summer, it’s so seasonal. I happened to be near Buckingham Palace at the time and got this stunning shot before the sun went down.