Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Trip to Camden Town and London City - With Santacon Too !

Well the year is nearly over and this would be my last trip to London for now.  A little bit of Christmas shopping was to be embarked upon, along with some sight seeing in the City to see the Christmas decorations sparkling in the night time.  What we were not expecting to see along the way were Santas.  Many, many, many Santas.  Now, if your little ones are reading this with you, can I explain that these are being interviewed to work in the North Pole next year in the real Father Christmas' workshops!  To the adults- this was one massive pub crawl!!!!  So as I take you around our visit this time, you may see quite a lot of Santas' in different shapes and guises along the way!
Just a quick hop onto the tube to Camden Town from Kings Cross and we joined the crowds.  Yes, people were saying that we were mad to go Christmas shopping in London, so seeing the Mad Hatter as we came out of the tube station really didn't help!!
Camden Town is full of markets, individual unique shops and friendly staff - unrushed and very happy to please.  Yes, it was full of shoppers but we didn't feel as though we were being pushed along, instead we were able to take our time and handle things at our leisure.  What is also so different is that the signs for the shops are accompanied by huge examples of the wares they are selling inside.  So instead of seeing a typical barber shop red and white column, you can see boots...
in fact anything from a distance.
As we walked along there were more and more Santas walking along to Camden Lock.  Santacon was obviously in full swing!
Now to some I suppose Camden Town can look a little shabby with its individual style, so if you are into sleek and shiny High Streets then Camden is not for you.  However, if you like things that are a little different and especially if you have teenage kids, then this is a MUST see.  Miss Teen and her friend Miss B felt totally at home and were happily soaking up the young, vibrant atmosphere and were surprised at just how long the stallholders spoke to them and let them try things on without getting all huffy.  It was a new experience for them.

My happy places though were capturing the ghost signs on the sides of old shops...
... taxi cabs outside good old fashioned fish and chip shops...
... lamp shops...
... boots...
... dresses...
... candles...
... necklaces... (a favourite for Miss Teen and Miss B - the stallholder was amazing with his knowledge of TV shows and film).
Then there was the food, and what a huge choice there was.  All freshly prepared and cooked.  Yes there is the typical fast food places, but most people head to the stall holders where cocktail sticks are handed out to try the different flavours of the world.  Even Octopus is freshly cooked and served.
We went for the Turkish option with succulent chargrilled chicken, perfectly cooked rice, fresh salad and a flat bread!  Perfect!  For dessert we went along to some more stalls and spotted this one with oozing cakes.
I truly wanted that sticky toffee cake but passed, however Miss Teen and Miss B enjoyed the brownie pops.  I was allowed a little taster and they were heavenly!
Lunchtime here is very busy but again we didn't feel that we were being rushed along, everyone just taking their time.
But hey, do you want to see where all the Santas went?  They were at Camden Lock...
Streams of them, all very merry.
One had obviously already been down a chimney!
Another had already been to one of the corset shops.
The atmosphere was fantastic and the girls were so happy to be part of it.
But to keep on track we needed to get back over the bridge.
Passing this great looking shop called All Saints where you can just see all the antique sewing machines in the windows
Can you make them out?
Time was knocking on so we needed to say a reluctant goodbye to Camden Town.  I feel that this will be a regular trip for my daughter now!
Another tube journey to Charing Cross and a short walk to Trafalgar Square next.
When I was younger I used to have a regular Christmas trip here with my Nan and Grandpa, just to see the Christmas Tree which is a gift from Norway.
The lights were on as the sun began to set over London town.
Including the star at the top!
Yes, you guessed it.  Santacon was here too!
If I was prepared I think we would have stayed to see the whole square full of Santas, which is what happened later on.  But we needed to walk to Westminster before our train back.
We walked past Downing Street on the way.  Long gone are the days when you could stand next to the famous front door with a policeman!
Westminster was full but we managed to get near the railings of the Houses of Parliament.
Then along to Westminster Bridge to see the London Eye at night.
County Hall looks beautiful when it is lit up.
London at night is my favourite time to see this magical place.
Everyone dashing here, there and everywhere!
It was now time to say goodbye to the Thames...
And let the ghostly carriages pass us by!
Sorry, couldn't resist, the photo could have come out A LOT better but it was a quick turn round to see them going past me.

And so dear readers, if you are still with me after this mammoth post, that was my last trip to London this year.  Obviously plenty more being planned for next year.

I hope your festive plans are all in full swing now and you are enjoying your weekend - take care out there!

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