Sunday, 31 March 2013

Urban Wandering: Tate Britain to Tate Modern

Normally I am forced to do my urban wandering alone, as it's usually after work, or during a lunch break. However yesterday I was delighted to be able to share this with my wife, as we made our way up to London for a day out, primarily to visit the Bigger Splash exhibition at the Tate Modern (hurry, it finishes on 1st April) but also, inevitably, to partake in a bit of a drift. Originally we had planned to travel up to London by train, but given that there were bank holiday works on the Reading to Paddington line, this would have meant taking the Reading to Waterloo line and doubling our journey time. So, somewhat reluctantly we drove up instead. The motorway was really bust up to Heathrow, but after that I don't think I've ever seen the London roads so empty during the day. We found a free parking space near the Tate Britain and started our wander from there toward the Tate Modern.

Typically we would crossed over to the south bank of the Thames and followed the river, but both having read and been recently inspired by Psychogeography and also Edgelands, we decided to navigate our way through the streets, almost as the core flies, towards the Shard, and from there make our way to the gallery. Not really having explored Lambeth before, this wander was of immediate interest. As with most of my recent wanders however, the weather was overcast, only allowing for the briefest of photo opportunities, and even then unfortunately they come across a bit dull and lack-lustre. The first photo is of a ghost sign on Borough High Street and reads, The Monster Ready Made and Bespoke Clothing Establishment on the left-hand side of the wall, and on the right-hand side reads Albion House Clothing Company, Branch Establishments, Paris Antwerp and Ghent. I assume this is an old sign, by the word "monster" makes me think that perhaps it's not as old as it initially suggests. Any thoughts anyone?

Ghost sign on Borough High Street, London SE1
Ghost sign on Borough High Street, London SE1

As we drifted along Borough High Street, our attention started to turn towards lunch. Desperate to avoid any of the branded coffee shops and restaurants, we instead ducked into Borough Market where there was so much good looking food on offer, we found it hard to make our minds up. Eventually we decided on a Cajun fish and prawn wrap, which we ate on the hoof as we strolled around the market.

Entrance to Borough Market, London SE1
Entrance to Borough Market, London SE1

I can't say I'm a regular visitor to Borough Market having only been there a few times, but I always find the architecture impressive.

Borough Market, London SE1
Borough Market, London SE1

With our bellies full, well not too full as we were already planning mid-afternoon tea and cake, and a dinner, we continued our walk towards the Tate Modern. Actually we ended up walking almost to Tower Bridge before we realised we had gone too far and had to back track slightly, but all was not in vein as I was rewarded with another (grey) photo opportunity, this time at the Hays Galleria.

Hays Galleria, London SE1
Hays Galleria, London SE1

By the time we arrived at the Tate Modern, we'd already walked a good few miles, so I was really hoping that the exhibition was firstly, captivating enough to take my mind off my aching back and legs, and secondly, not too busy. Glad to report it ticked both the boxes, with some great artwork by Jackson Pollock, David Hockney and plenty of others whose names escape me (although my wife was making notes).

Post gallery walking took us back across the river, and into a tea shop near Neal's Yard, where we treated ourselves to tea and cake, before heading off through the sleet, towards Soho and into Fitzrovia, where we sought refuge in a pub before venturing out to dinner in a Moroccan restaurant for the evening. All in all a great day out, and we returned home satisfied but exhausted.

    

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