If you find you have any time to spare in central London, one of the best and easiest ways to occupy yourself, is to simply wander around aimlessly. Aimless wandering is by far one of my favourite pastimes and one which is vastly underrated. I love not planning where I’m going and armed with my camera ( which is always an iphone btw ), a pair of comfortable shoes and a biscuit ‘for later‘, I couldn’t be happier. I veer off well trodden routes and I explore inconspicuous streets, alleys and passages. I look for clues and spy long forgotten windows, grand facades, humble doorways and hidden gardens. I find London endlessly fascinating, and inexhaustibly inspiring.
However, many London areas have become rather saturated on our insta feeds; Notting Hill has social media fashionistas pavement-lining for their pink door, pink blossoms and pink shoes shots. Belgravia’s streets are bursting with instagrammable flower fronted shops, and then there’s that Mews with the bicycle and it’s basket…I’m not disputing the prettiness of all these places, especially if there’s a wisteria, cherry blossom or small cake involved, but personally I prefer finding hidden historical nuggets that most people sprinting past in chiffon and kitten heels would overlook: Why has that door got such a tiny letterbox? How many years of boots have worn this flagstone down? Why has that window been bricked up? Did Charles Dickens see what I’m seeing, and what’s that piece of amazing 1960’s public art doing there ?! I like finding wall plaques, not just the blue ones, but ones down dark passages holding the closely kept secrets of the walls. I like chancing upon an unassuming Magnolia or ambivalent Acacia…who planted them and why? I suppose I like finding atmosphere; feeling a real sense of history. Obviously I take lots of pictures, I can’t help it, but they are usually pictures which resonate with the sense of how the place makes me feel, rather than a projection of how I want to be seen in a place.
Over the past few years I’ve got to know the area of St James’s really well. There’s still masses I have yet explore but it’s become one of my favourite central London places, particularly since Soho has become so overrun with demolition and new builds. St James’s never feels swamped by tourists ( apart from on Piccadilly, obviously ) and there is SO much rich history sitting in it’s streets, shops, restaurants, cafes and clubs. It always has a completely different atmosphere to the crazy touristy bustle just a couple of streets away…it feels like a precious jewel. And this is the reason I wanted to offer some photo walks of the area; I want to introduce people to beautiful corners of a part of London you may not have considered before. There’s a limit to how much I’ll be able to show you in a couple of hours, so I would definitely encourage you to stay in the area for the day. You’d be able to explore the shops, parks, galleries, cafes, restaurants and also maybe see a film or go to the theatre later. I would love my photo walk to be the start; the entrance into a whole atmosphere and experience of St James’s and a way of being able to share a place I love.
I am offering 2 FREE photo walks, both starting at 11am, one on Saturday 29th June and the other on Saturday 6th July. We will meet in St James’ Market by the Pavilion ( which is opposite Aquavit ) 10 minutes before we head off on my pre planned route. I will lead you to some great photo opportunities and also share some of the area’s history as we go…and there will also be a mid-walk treat! The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus and buses run down Haymarket or along Piccadilly ( No’s: 6, 14, 19, 38 and 139 ). If you would like to join me, please make sure you register on the event page HERE
The images below show a selection of some of the places I will take you to on the photo walk as well as some interesting details in unusual places… You can read more about the St James’s area on a few of my previous blog posts here – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and one about the oldest perfumer’s Floris here