London Cycle Tour and Pump

I had booked myself on a cycle tour of London whilst Sharon & Emma were going to see the Harry Potter theatre plays. I was worried this morning I wouldn’t be able to do the bike tour due to the rain that has descended on London, but it turned out fine and didn’t rain at all whilst we were riding.

It was a royal tour so got to see all the royal households and parks around London, learn more about the history of them and the antics of some of the current and past inhabitants. The parks are beautiful to cycle through and the tour didn’t spend much time at all on the road. It turned out to be relatively small tour with only 4 of us plus the guide.

we cycled past the Australian war memorial

My next tour wasn’t until 6:20pm so I had a few hours to kill. I’d read online that the government had finally replaced the historic pump monument on Broadwick St (it had been taken out a few years ago for street repair). A quick google indicated it was a 10 minute tube ride away, so off i went. I got there and was super disappointed to find it wasn’t back in its place where I expected it would be.

Decided to head across the road and visit the John Snow pub and drown my sorrows with a few G&Ts. I couldn’t believe such an important part of London’s history and the history of investigative science was being ignored.

Ordered a G&T and started chatting to the bartender about the history and the fact the pump was gone and he pointed out it was actually there, but not in the place it had been, it was just outside the pub on the left. This is actually much closer to the historical location where the pump had been in the 19th century.

Thankfully it’s there and John Snow can rest is peace. It’s one of my most treasured history / science stories. At the time no one wanted to believe him that the water from this pump was polluted, but the evidence was irrefutable after he drew his historic map. It was after this that people started to realise placing cesspools near drinking wells was not a fantastic idea.

the red marker where the original pump stood

Here I am signing the guest book. Mention John Snow when you are ordering a drink and they will ask if you wish to sign the book.

If you are into history, throughout London you will see these blue plaques on the outside of houses where famous people in history lived.

Black Sheep of the Family

A lazy morning today, don’t need to be anywhere till 11, so I had a chance to have a bit of a wander and hunt for some good coffee. You could say I hit gold, black gold (no Texas Tea though).

Right above the exit from St Paul’s tube station is Black Sheep Coffee. It’s the best I’ve had here in London on this trip. I think I’ll probably be visiting here again tomorrow. A real friendly bunch of baristas who were up for a chat whilst they made my coffee too.

Here is the store. It 2 Cheapside, but at double the price of home, so it’s not really on the cheap side.

Whilst consuming my cup of coffee goodness I went for a wander around the block. Saw a building that will bring back fond memories for one of my blog readers

Just past here I walked under a sign, is the universe trying to tell me something ?It’s actually a realestate agent, I don’t think (hope) the universe wants me to become a realestate agent. However it did answer one of my questions, how much would it cost to buy a flat in the Barbican across the road ? The answer is between £600,000 and £1,000,000 of the Queens finest. However don’t forget kiddos that this is London, “Buying” property is not quite the same as home. Freehold property, especially in central London is rare and you are essentially paying a princely sum to become a long term tenant.

The Barbican is a very interesting building, it’s so fugly, but you just can’t look away. Apparently it has some awesome features, it sure is close to everything, but if I’m spending a cool million quid on a pad in London I want something more like this

A little further down the road I noticed this. Now hopefully this is what the universe is really trying to tell me

Of course the odds of that are about 10 Bazillion to one, but unless you actually have a ticket the odds are zero. So here goes…..

Famous Buildings and their Coffee

Ever since my first visit I’ve wanted to go up to the Sky Garden inside the Walkie Talkie building on Fenchurch St. They offer a number of free viewing times, but I was never lucky enough to get a time as they sell out quickly. This year I just bit the bullet and booked breakfast their in one of the restaurants, which gives you a pass into the gardens included. Not exactly cheap as breakfast was £60, but it was a worthy experience. Unfortunately the weather didn’t play nicely for us. On a nice day the view would be amazing as it looks right down on the Thames, Tower bridge, London Bridge and the Tower. The coffee and the breakfast was OK, but in reality you are paying for the location not the food. My tip would be, if you want great food and a great view, book into the Duck and Waffle a few streets away. The food was better, cheaper and the view was just as amazing.

Pancakes were nice

Coffee in the Walkie Talkie

After breakfast we headed over to the London Mithraeum which is a ruin of an ancient Roman temple of worship under the Bloomberg building in central London on Walbrook St. Entry is free but it’s best to book in advance. I love Roman history and to be honest I wasn’t really expecting this to me much, but it was spectacular. When excavating the foundations they found an amazing amount of artefacts all very well preserved in the wet soil. Finding timber and leather from Roman times is extremely rare.

Some of the items found on site :-

Underground :-

Next stop was the Gherkin for a coffee, in the afternoon we went over to the Victoria and Albert museum to look around and have a quick look in the Science museum. The rain came down really hard whilst we where there and got caught up in Tube delays on the way how as Liverpool station had some flooding issues.

Coffee in the Gherkin

Coffee products at the Victoria and Albert museum shop

The V&A museum, science museum and

Natural history museum are all in the one area near South Kensington station. There is a walkway under the street that connects them all together. You can access it from the station, just turn right after existing the Oyster card readers

Here is the tunnel entrance, it’s marked, but not exactly obvious

West to East

After the underground toilet coffee on Monday we walked over to Hannover Square, which in the mid 18th century was the place you wanted to live in London,_Westminster

it’s just a little park now and not a lot of the old grand houses survive. Presently it’s surrounded by building and road works so not that enticing from the outside, If you weren’t really interested in the history of the place you would probably have avoided it. There are some awesome looking cafes in this part of London too.

Looked around Leicester Square and of course couldn’t miss the Lego store.

In the evening we did a Jack the Ripper walking tour. It was cold, dark and wet, so in essence the perfect depressing weather to do a tour on such a depressing subject.

I wouldn’t say I learnt anything new about the Jack the Ripper case, however the tour covers all the predicable things they should, the murders, the other murders beyond the canonical five as well as the investigation, all of which happened before advances in science and investigation which would have helped solve the case. The tour covered the myths and conspiracies around the case and there was also a big focus on what life was like in this part of London in the later 19th century (spoiler alert : terrible) but you don’t need to do a tour to work that one out.

Where we walked on the tour

Have a read here on Wikipedia about the sleeping conditions offered for 4 pennies and less.

The company we used was

Coffee on the Throne

When researching a holiday destination I always check out atlas obscura for weird and wonderful places that appeal to my warped sense of mind.

The Attendant Cafe popped up when I was researching London and I thought this place is a must visit for me. I was literally busting to go there. Almost a Scott trifecta combining my love of coffee, love of plumbing and potty humour.

The cafe is built in a disused underground toilet. It truly is built like brick shithouse, because that’s exactly what it was.

What else can I say about this place? Firstly it’s In Fitzrovia one of the most poshest part of London. You don’t have to be flush with cash to visit here, but you will have to spend more than a penny.

I was worried the coffee might be a bit shit or piss weak, but it was pretty good.Food wise there wasn’t a massive selection. I was hoping for a piece of chocolate log or a brownie, but settled on a almond croissant.

If you need to go, the Attendant can be found at 27A Foley St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 6DY.