London: 1 February 2010

Today was one of those days that just called to be taken off work, so I slept in, played some Xbox 360, then headed out for a wander. I was only going to pick up a few things from the shops but it ended up turning into a full blown photo walk.

I started in Sloane Square. Sloane Square borders Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea and is an extremely wealthy area. The square is part of the Hans Town area designed in 1771 by Henry Holland Snr. and Henry Holland Jr. Both the town and square were named after Sir Hans Sloane, whose heirs owned the land at the time.

Partridge’s is an appointed Grocer of the Queen. They have a lot of great quality stuff and lots of foodstuffs from overseas. It’s expensive, but not excessively so, and I always like popping in on occasion to grab a few things that I can’t get elsewhere, like certain types of Barilla pasta and Manner wafers from Austria for example.

The Saatchi gallery is also in the area. It started 20 years ago but only opened in its current location in 2008. It is a free gallery that has constantly changing exhibits, and aims to bring contemporary art from around the world to the widest possible audience. It’s a great gallery and always worth a look if in the area.

Sloane Street links Sloane Square with Knightsbridge. Before heading onto Sloane Street, which is where all the shop front photos below are, I walked through a few of the narrow streets in the area. There are some amazing residences here – some of the most expensive properties in London. Imagine having a proper house and a garage in Zone 1! Oh well, one can dream.

Knightsbridge needs little explanation. Harvey Nichols, Harrods and some world famous shopping awaits visitors to the street. The building/s under construction are part of the ‘One Hyde Park’ development. It’s a revamp of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, plus some amazing apartments where an ugly 1960s tower once stood. If I could live anywhere in London, this would probably be it. Imagine waking up in this location, with sweeping views across Hyde Park from your window. Again, one can dream.

Just through Park Close is Hyde Park. To say that the winter keeps people away is an understatement and, while the park is certainly still well used, it is rather quite compared to the summer. Still, there is something very right about walking through such a park in London in the middle of the winter.

The Serpentine Gallery, which holds various small, free exhibitions. I had completely forgotten about the current exhibition which I had wanted to see, so I was lucky to stumble upon the gallery today. Design Real was the name of the exhibition, and it focuses on ‘real’ items all conceived in the last decade: mass-produced products that have a practical function in everyday life. Very cool.

Walking across the road is Kensington Gardens, which is really an extension of Hyde Park. The Royal Albert Hall is across the road, and in the park itself directly across from the Hall, is the Albert Memorial, which was built to remember Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.

Finally I ended up on the other side of Kensington Gardens, and at Kensington High Street.

Time to get something for dinner! Whole Foods Market is great and is two stories full of organic foods. It is, in sticking with the theme of this post, more expensive than the average supermarket, but I like to come past and grab a few things every now and then. Unlike the unattainable goal of owning one of the homes discussed earlier, something like being well of enough to shop at a place like Whole Foods Market all of the time is perhaps a more attainable goal 🙂

Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.


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