Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Last year I wrote a couple of posts about my trip to the UK at the end of August/early September (see here and here).

Whilst most of the two weeks was spent up in Yorkshire visiting my family, I enjoyed a couple of days in London with my daughter, Mlle, before she headed off to Portugal for a wedding and I headed up north to Harrogate.

Once we had both recovered from jetlag and revisited old haunts in North West London, we had about half a day to fill in and decided to head into central London and play tourists in a city that both of us know so well. I lived in London for 9 years in the 80’s and early 90s and Mlle lived there for nearly 6 years before the onset of the pandemic brought her back to Australia in March 2020.

Covent Garden used to be our go-to place in the 1980s before the old East End was revitalised. It’s always packed with visitors but somehow that never seems to bother me as I’m always fascinated by the bric-a-brac stalls, cute shops and eateries and the general buzz in the air. I would say, however, that it does help to know where you’re going and, as always when travelling, keep a close watch on your bags and valuables!

It was just as well I was limited by baggage restraints as I could have easily filled a couple of suitcases with all the things I wanted to buy! I still managed to acquire a pretty antique ring with a gorgeous soft green peridot stone (nearly lost a week later when it fell unnoticed off my finger, only to turn up unexpectedly on the floor). Fortunately it survived the trip and is now safely back home in Perth. Apart from the ring and a few old postcards I settled for browsing and window shopping. I would have loved to have brought back some of the dainty bone china teacups and saucers that I found amongst the old collectibles and one or two of the beautiful silver platters, but I had to be practical.

We spent most of our time in the Apple Market, which you can read about here. Originally it was the home of the Covent Garden fruit and veg market but it now offers an outlet for local traders selling crafts, homemade jewellery, prints and paintings and on Mondays (the day we visited) antiques and collectibles.

Afterwards we wandered around the colourful streets checking out some of the shopfronts before wandering down towards Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

I hadn’t seen Big Ben since it had been renovated and restored with the beautiful gold and Prussian blue paintwork reflecting its history (apparently this was the colour scheme used in Victorian times). Having been used to seeing the tower surrounded by scaffolding on previous visits it made for an impressive spectacle, especially as a backdrop to the grey storm clouds gathering overhead. Excuse the angle of some of the photos, which make it look as if we were visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa rather than Big Ben! We were dodging between traffic and throngs of people trying to take photos.

We wandered around Horseguards Parade too, not realising that we were on the brink of the end of an era with the Queen’s passing only just over a week later. It seems pretty surreal in hindsight.

You can find all my London posts over the years now collated here.

Copyright Β© 2023 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose

6 thoughts on “On the Tourist Trail – Covent Garden and Westminster London

  1. Heyjude says:

    I have been thinking that it is time for another visit to London. Covent Garden looks like my sort of place, I like to browse, but not necessarily buy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always love visiting Covent Garden πŸ™‚ It is of course very popular but in fact there are so many quaint little arcades and alleys you can always get off the main square if it’s too busy. I enjoy the walk down to Trafalgar Square past St Martin’s In The Fields too. I try just to browse but always end up finding something to buy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. restlessjo says:

    Hiya, darlin! I was just thinking this morning that I should message you to check you were ok, and here you are! Years since I was in Covent Garden but it’s always a treat, so thanks for taking me back. And doesn’t Big Ben look smart? All set for the coronation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo I was thinking the same – has been a while just got caught up with life and here we are in March. All good though – will message soon. Have always loved Covent Garden – went there so often when lived in London and it’s been a few years since our last visit. Always feel very at home there – so enjoable to have a good browse. Big Ben looked wondreful – I hadn’t realised all the refurbishment had been completed and it really looks sparkling with the impressive new paintwork. Am sure it wasn’t planned but how incredible it should have been completed in time for the Queen’s funeral and now the upcoming coronation! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gilda Baxter says:

    I also lived in London in the late eighties and early nineties, such a shame our paths never crossed.
    Covent Garden is such a lively and fun area, one of my favourites in London. I have not been to see the new refurbished Big Ben, sounds like they have done a great job.
    I am glad you have not lost your new ring πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Gilda we were obviously there at the same time – parallel lives! Covent Garden is, as you say, such a fun and lively area to visit. Big Ben now looks resplendent – far more colourful than previously. I was very happy that I didn’t lose my ring too – hope all is well and I’ll come by and catch up on your travel news πŸ™‚


What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: