I’m finally posting about my trip to London with my client Larry Taunton and Fixed Point Foundation, right before Christmas last year. You can see images from our trip to France last summer here. Traveling with Larry is a treat because he is so knowledgeable and it’s always a fascinating history lesson. Larry’s assistant, Mary Laura, and my friend and assistant, Emily traveled with us.
We walked miles and miles all over London, day and night. We worked a lot, and in our spare time we ate, shopped and went to shows. I LOVED London, even more than I thought I would. It’s beautiful, bustling, interesting and full of history.
My favorite highlights from this trip? Seeing Les Miserables for the first time ever on the London Stage, High Tea at Fortnum & Mason, climbing 528 spiral steps to the top of Saint Paul’s Cathedral for a 360 degree view of London, walking around Oxford University and taking in its amazing architecture, Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill and Covent Garden (as mentioned above), shopping at Harrods, experiencing debates at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, and watching the SEC Championship game and eating London’s version of BBQ (not bad AT ALL) in a sports bar near Tower Bridge.
I hope you enjoy the images! And, if you are interested in taking a tour of England or a European tour with Larry (which I highly recommend), be sure to contact Fixed Point Foundation to find out more about the tour experiences they offer.
We rode the train to spend a day in Oxford. Larry was meeting with his friend, author and Oxford professor, John Lennox. He also spoke to a group of Lennox’s students. Oxford was one of my favorite days on our trip. There’s so much history and tradition and the architecture is incredible. And, there are lots and lots of bicycles…some of them turquoise with baskets. I spent the end of the day there walking around by myself, camera in hand as the sun went down. Later than night we all gathered for dinner. It was perfect.
This archway was my very favorite spot in Oxford…the light, the shadows, the coats of arms on the ceiling, and peeking through were the bicycles leaning on the fence of the famous round, domed Radcliffe Camera building. So, I kept coming back to it different times of the day to shoot it in different light, from different angles. One of these will be framed in my house.
The Eagle and Child is the famous pub where “The Inklings” writers group, including C.S. Lewis, R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and Hugo Dyson would gather to read and discuss manuscripts. At one of those gatherings in June 1950 is when C.S. Lewis distributed the proofs for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Mary Laura, Emily and I ate there for lunch. They could have probably hung out with those writers back in the day, since they are well read, smarty pants. I was just there for the food.
Above: Photo above by Emily Kicklighter
Above: Authors Larry Taunton and John LennoxAbove: Author and Oxford Professor, John LennoxAbove: Author and Oxford Professor, John Lennox
The Oxford Museum of Natural History
This beautiful museum was founded in 1860 and has quite the display of dinosaurs under its roof. On June 30, 1860, this building hosted the “Great Debate” of Creation vs. Evolution between Henry Huxley (Pro Evolution) and Samuel Wilberforce (Pro Creation).
Westminster Bridge, Thames River, Big Ben &
The London Eye
The view from the Westminster Bridge is just stunning. Definitely one of the best vantage points in the city. Our soundtrack for the day came from a bagpiper playing on the bridge. It was incredible.
Westminster Abbey & Parliament Square
The famous Abbey where William and Kate were married, was incredibly beautiful and ornate. I stood and stared at it a while…and imagined photographing a wedding there…maybe even a royal wedding. A girl can dream!
I also enjoyed seeing all of the statues in Parliament Square, especially Winston Churchill’s statue. It is the only statue that has an electric current running through it so that birds will not perch on it and leave their deposits.
One of my favorite movies is Notting Hill, which also happened to be my very favorite area of London. We only spent an afternoon there, but I certainly could have spent at least a full day shopping Portobello Road Market. Vendors lined the streets selling vintage cameras, vintage furs, vintage silver, vinyl records, fresh flowers and so much more. Also lining the streets were picturesque colorful buildings and flats. There truly wasn’t enough time for me to take it all in, which means I have to go back!
My favorite movie is The Holiday, so traveling to London, brought some of that movie to life for me. Remember Iris’ (Kate Winslett) line about finding that book for Jasper in “that little place in Covent Garden”? We went to that quaint and charming spot.
It pretty much blew my mind. That’s all I have to say. You absolutely must have this shopping experience if you are in London and you must make a purchase there. My purchase was a wallet. Merry Christmas to me!
Picadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square
These areas of London were bustling all day and night with locals and tourists, and boasted the best Christmas decorations in the city. Angels, ornaments, and stars were lit up at night and hung over the streets. This year, the enormous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was a gift that traveled all the way from Norway. Surprisingly, Buckingham Palace wasn’t decorated for Christmas at all…maybe a politically correct statement? I was disappointed.
Above: Photo by Emily Kicklighter
Above: Roommates! Mary Laura, Emily and me. London nights were cold, but we bundled up and walked the city every night. Walking or riding a bike is my favorite way to really see a city. You miss so many of the details, speeding past them in a taxi or car. (iPhone photo)
Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason
My first time to experience Afternoon Tea was at Fortnum & Mason, a world renowned tradition in the luxurious department store, which was established in 1707. And by tea, they meant lots of tea, and sandwiches, and pastries and desserts. It’s a good thing we walked so much this trip!
Buckingham Palace & The Horse Guards Building
Our hotel was one block from Buckingham Palace, which we passed every day as we made our way to our appointments and shooting. The palace and gates are truly a site to behold, along with the number of people that gather outside it each day in hopes of seeing the changing of the guards.
The Tower Bridge is often mistaken as “The London Bridge” from the nursery rhyme. It was my favorite bridge because it’s trimmed in turquoise. And apparently this London bridge IS falling down, because it it was under construction.
Above: Shooting on the Tower Bridge. Photo by Emily Kicklighter
I loved all the British Pubs, with interesting and Royal names, pretty fronts and unique signage. However, I didn’t love British food. The eggs were a weird orange, and the bacon was Canadian Bacon. Not a fan. I liked French food so much better!
Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park
Speaker’s Corner was quite the eye opening experience for me. Hundreds to thousands gather to hear open debates on religion, a long tradition in London. The debates were heated, but peaceful. I found myself wondering why public debates like this in the United States are often so violent. We have the freedom of speech in our country, yet it’s often not peaceful or respectful. Larry spoke on the true meaning of Christmas and then participated in a debate with a Muslim leader.
Highgate Cemetery and West Norwood Cemetery
While in London, Larry took us to two cemeteries. Highgate Cemetery, where Karl Marx is buried, and West Norwood Cemetery where Charles Spurgeon is buried. Two powerful men who left two very different legacies that impacted the world.
Saint Paul’s Cathedral
As I mentioned above, we climbed 528 spiral stairs to the top of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, where Charles and Diana were married, for a 360 degree view of London. It was quite spectacular. The interesting thing to me is on one side, the architecture is very old and on the other side is very modern buildings.