Hind’s Head for Lunch

Sharon’s birthday today, so we had pre-booked lunch at the Hind’s Head in Bray, just west of London, not that far from Heathrow and Windsor castle. We had open offpeak tickets so we didn’t have to get any particular train, but had planned to get the 10.54am. We were there early and managed to get the 10.27, but only just as the platform seemed miles away from the main concourse and it took us a while to find it.

Interestingly enough, Great Western Railways don’t run electric trains on these lines, even though a lot of the line is electrified. Train was a rather ancient diesel electric with no aircon, ie, nothing “great” about it. Positively ancient compared to the fantastic Virgin train to Manchester.

Once in Maidenhead we just took a taxi to the small town of Bray, that cost £10. The village is very small, but quite a lot of traffic with three of Heston’s restaurants here. Since we had over an hour before we were due at the Hind’s Head for lunch we called in at Heston’s other pub, the Crown. We sat outside on a really nice lounge under a huge Oak tree drinking cocktails.

We moved to the Hind’s Head after doing the tourist thing and taking lots of photos outside the Fat Duck restaurant (tried to get a booking there but it was all booked months in advance – my wallet probably thanked me as well!)

Drinks again before lunch upstairs just soaking in the atmosphere of the old building and the old but exquisite furnishings. Pity it was extremely hot outside for the UK, 30c, this place really needed to cooler for the atmosphere).

Lunch was phenomenal, I had the 3 course menu and Sharon had the 4 course, so we really got to sample 7 different Heaston dishes. The entire meal with drinks was £144, considering the quality of the food it was excellent.

We took another cab back to Maidenhead station, then train back to Paddington. We then hopped on the tube to Covent Garden where I popped in to look at the London transport museum.

Coffee with Nelson and Wellington

On Tuesday I was awake early so thought I’d look for a coffee in Angel. Even Costa & Pret were closed, so the odds were not looking good. Walking down to the end of the street I found an Italian Cafe, run by Italians, so I thought I may have struck coffee gold up here in Angel. The only other customers were 5 or 6 police officers having breakfast. Unfortunately my initial excitement was misplaced as the coffee was average.

After breakfast we headed down to St Paul’s Cathedral for the tour. It was £17 per head,  but considering you can climb the internal stairs for a fantastic view over London, its money well spent. We did the guided tour which took over 1.5 hours (probably 40 minutes more than what was really needed). You can’t take pictures inside the church or crypt unfortunately, as there are some marvellous pieces of architecture inside that is worth photographing. Down in the crypt are the tombs of Wellington and Nelson. Amazingly some of the flags from the battle of Waterloo are just hanging there and will do until they disintegrate over time. No attempt has or will be made to preserve them. Christopher Wren who built the cathedral as well as most of the churches in London post the great fire. The cafe for the cathedral is in the crypt also.

After coffee I climbed the 528 steps all the way to the top of the dome and the view is spectacular. It was a hot clear day. You also get an opportunity to view the internal structure as you ascend the iron spiral staircase. Not for the claustrophobic though, narrow passages, lots of people and small spiral staircases.

We then headed down to the Churchill War rooms, but the queue was massive and we had limited time before we had to get ready for the Globe Theatre, so we will do that another day. After getting ready we headed down towards the Globe and grabbed some mexican for dinner just opposite Borough Market. The play inside the Globe was Romeo and Juliet with an interesting modern bent, think Robocop meets the Village People. The seats we had were excellent with heaps of leg space. After the show we walked along the Millennium bridge on the way back to the apartment.