London, United Kingdom
It was another overcast and cool morning as we headed out early to Portobello Markets. We had planned on visiting the slightly less trendy but very popular Borough Markets instead but our research revealed that these were partly closed as part of a pre-Olympic upgrade. The Central tube line was closed for maintenance so this made our journey to Notting Hill Gate quite challenging and rather lengthy. We realised after many tube changes that, had we know about the closure, we could have walked there far more quickly!
The guide book said to ‘follow the crowd’ on exiting Notting Hill Gate station and, this we did. We thought it was rather busy on our way down to the markets but this was nothing compared to the tide of humanity we encountered on our way home. The markets are made up of hundreds of stalls lining the very lengthy Portobello Road. The guide book also said there would be loads of antiques and this was true too. Mark though, if he was editing the guide book script, would write ‘junk’! We did pass some rather trendy and expensive clothing shops before we hit the ‘antiques’ though. The route evolves from being one filled with antiques to some rather ordinary clothing stalls and cheap tourist trinkets to then one of food and some green markets before reverting back to more bad clothing. Well, at least we can say we’ve seen Portobello Markets and can tick that one off the list.
We headed back to the tube station and took a more direct route back to Oxford Circus. From there we walked down Oxford St and wasted quite a lot of time in one of the sport stores. We wandered back home for lunch and stopped to print off our Edinburgh flight e-tickets off at a local internet cafe on the way.
Mark had been keen to do one of the London Walks on this trip, most notably, the ‘Jack the Ripper’ walk. These are usually held at night but there was one scheduled for Saturday afternoon. We had also wanted to fit in some theatre whilst we were here but seemed to have run out of stamina, and time, to do all of these things. So, in the end, we decided on taking the 3-5pm walking tour. This left from Tower Hill tube station so we made our way down there, with a short detour via Victoria Station to purchase our Gatwick express rail tickets that we needed for the next day. The ‘walk’ was guided by a gentleman called Peter and he took us through the winding back streets of East London all the time describing the grizzly work of this deranged individual. The murders, most likely 6 in total, were committed during a relatively short 3 month period throughout the year of 1888.
The walk finished up in the east area of London known as Spittlefields and Mark and I then shared a beer at the 10 Bells pub, the favourite haunt of Mary Jane Kelly who was Jack the Ripper’s last victim.
From East London we headed back to Central London and Oxford Circus to find somewhere for dinner. We ended up heading back to the Crown and Two Chairmen as we realised, after this wandering, that this was indeed the best pub for both atmosphere and food near our apartment. Sadly, they were booked out for dinner but we had a drink in the bottom bar area that was absolutely packed with folk from all ages cheering on a rugby match. We ended up wandering through some more lanes around the area before settling on a very trendy sushi restaurant, just around the corner and only about 200m from our apartment. We had a lovely meal and then headed home for our last night before venturing off to Edinburgh the following morning.