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London Calling

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This picture story was submitted by Laura Brady of BoltonOntario

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I was very lucky to be invited to a conference in London, England recently and so, naturally, built in a little free time to explore.

The CoventGarden Tube Station
The Covent Garden Tube Station

A night out in busy Chinatown near Covent Garden lived up to expectation. Well, except for the warning that we were being recorded for police purposes. 

Giant pagoda in Chinatown

The meetings I was at were part of the Accessible Publishing Conference put on by the DAISY Consortium, co-sponsored by the RNIB, and taking place at the Google St. Giles offices which sported this spectacular view. The London Eye is clearly visible but you get bonus points for picking out Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

I’m not sure if there is anything more British than a store that sells only umbrellas and sticks. I have this vision of a line around the block of really posh dogs waiting to peruse the selection of £100 sticks. Pictured below is the shop of James Smith & Sons Umbrellas and Sticks, established 1830.

I explored Windsor Castle and the village around it for a morning. I took some pictures from inside the castle and was told in no uncertain terms that I would be tossed and imprisoned under the Secrets Act if I took anymore. I won’t include the interior pics, just in case Scotland Yard knows where I live.

The photo below will give you a sense of where the Windsor Castle sits in the landscape.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Would it even count as a visit to England if you didn’t stop by Stonehenge? This was the first time I’d been to see the stones. It was an overwhelmingly staged experience — visitor center, bus to the site, tightly controlled access, etc. But, despite all that, it was extremely cool to see Stonehenge in person. I experienced a frisson of delight despite myself. 

I went for a pub lunch in the village of Lacock in the Cotswolds. It’s a unique place because the inventor of photography, Henry Fox Talbot, bought and donated the village to the Royal Trust which means it is, essentially, frozen in time. It is a popular location for filming; its credits include Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and a couple of the Harry Potter films. It is an utterly charming place.  The cottage below might might look familiar to Harry Potter fans — it was used for the site of Harry’s family home.

My last stop was in the ancient Roman city of Bath. I was exhausted from touring and disappointed to be in this fabled place at night. That said the Bath Abbey was awe-inspiring. I couldn’t take pictures of the interior but did sit there a spell listening in on choir practice which was just what my tired body needed. 

The Roman Baths have been closed for some time, but I couldn’t leave without this quick picture. And the one final shot for the road of your author enjoying London’s vibrant pub life. 

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