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At night one can appreciate the splendour and beauty of Regent Street.  When the lights come on, the complexion of this grand street changes.  The contrast of the grand white architecture contrasted with the dark night sky is simply magnificent.  What is even better is there is little pedestrian traffic so you can appreciate the curved buildings more than when you’re dodging the daily pedestrian commuters, tourists and shoppers.

Many years ago I confused Piccadilly Street with Regent Street for some odd reason.  I’d race up Piccadilly thinking I’d arrive at Liberty in less than five minutes only to find myself at Green Park and far from where I wanted to be.  There is a lesson to be learned when navigating the streets of London on foot – use a map or know where you’re going.  I did neither in my early years.  I can now get from Point A to Point B with my eyes closed.

Since my London book project began, I’ve learned when to zag instead of zig to end up where I need to be.  Thank the street gods for that.  Learning to navigate is not at all difficult.  I often say I am not a fan of public transportation.  The reason for this is because I miss out on London by being on a bus or underground.   The sounds, sights and even the smells of London make it remarkable.  So, stay on foot, walk a bit more and discover London the way it should be discovered.

That said, Regent Street is a good example of starting at one point of London thinking you’ll end up where you want to go, but really end up at Point C.  Always look on the bright side – there are great shops along Regent Street to keep you entertained.  You might also think about these interesting facts about Regent Street :

:: Regent Street was one of the first planned developments in London.  It was intentionally constructed by the government as a commercial business area.

:: Regent Street was given its name in honour of Prince George (later King George IV), who funded most of the construction.

:: In 1850, Regent Street shops stayed open until a whopping 7 pm making it one of the first late-night shopping events in the city.

:: Over 7.5 million people visit Regent Street every year.  The street is over a mile long and the shops along it employ about 20,000 people.  Regent Street also contains room for over 400 small offices and 750,000 square feet of large office space.

::  Due to its status as a fashion Mecca, and its length, Regent Street is also referred to as the “Mile of Style.”

::  Open since 1881, Hamleys toy store is the oldest operating business on Regent Street, having opened originally in High Holborn in 1760. The oldest continually operating store perhaps goes to Liberty, which opened six years before in 1875.

The video above includes a night scene of Regent Street.  The lighted pavement in the foreground is brilliant.  Below are a few images of Regent Street.

LONDON AT NIGHT
REGENT STREET – LONDON UK
REGENT STREET – LONDON UK

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Destination:  London

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London has a lot of secrets.  Did you know?  Often when I am out and about with my camera in the city, I wonder what the scenes, sights, smells, and sounds would have been.  I can thank Charles Dickens for this as his works provide such vivid descriptions for us to devour today.  Then, I am thankful for modern sanitation, and sewers.  True that.

As I have trundled (and sometimes stumbled) the streets of London at night, I come across certain bits that may not entirely be secrets but overlooked.  For this post, I am taking time to highlight these areas as they are worth finding, especially if you love London.

One thing I have noticed via Instagram is that many of the “superstars,” in this microcosm of the internet, focus mostly on the obvious.  Many photograph London as well.  Almost all miss these “secret” areas as they probably do not live in the city to have time to find them.  This is all perfectly fine.

What are my Secret London spots?    Pickering Place off St. James’s Street with a fantastic sundial in the middle.  This is thought to be the smallest open square in London.   Passing through to the square you will also find a plaque commemorating the site of the Texas Embassy as England was the only country to recognise Texas as a Republic.

ST DUNSTAN’S IN THE EAST

St Dunstan’s in the East (Between Tower of London and Monument) is my favourite place to escape the noise of London.  Step in the remnants of this bombed church (now a garden) and London goes away.  If there is a magical idyllic space in London, this is it.Any guess where this is?  I admit this is not a secret place at all – Threadneedle Street, and part of the majestic Bank of England building.  Did you know the first London buses connected this area to Piccadilly Circus?

St Olave’s Church Yard.  Officially the church is in Hart Street, but the entrance to the churchyard can be found while in Seething Lane.  I love the skulls above the arched entrance.  The church survived the Great Fire of London, and “Mother Goose” is buried here. The Smallest Police Box in London.  Any idea where this is?  Today this answer to a trivia question is used by the sanitation crews of Trafalgar Square.  You can find this at the Southwest corner of Trafalgar.

​​Holborn Viaduct.  Take some time to explore this area, above and below, as you will see fantastic examples of Victorian architecture.  This is a bit off the beaten path, so easily missed.

Cardinal Place London

Cardinal Place in Victoria.  What is interesting about this somewhat new addition to the Victoria area is not the building but some of the night photography that can be captured here.  Westminster Cathedral is in view while inside Cardinal Place.  The area is again undergoing a transformation with the extensive work being done at Victoria Station and new construction. Broadgate.  Many people are aware of the Broadgate area, but this square at night is easily unseen by most.  The square floor lights up at night and changes colours.  All that is missing is dance music.  Do be aware security guards might run you out if you spend too much time here with a camera.

The heart of London is the Thames River, so it is only natural for London’s bridges to be a highlight for any visitor (and Londoners)  Each Central London bridge has its own character and design.  Some are opulent, some simple and some stately.  Which is your favourite bridge crossing the Thames?

When thinking of London bridges, immediately Chelsea Bridge, Westminster Bridge, the Golden Jubilee Bridges, Waterloo Bridge, London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and Tower Bridge come to mind.  These are my favourites.  A new pedestrian bridge is in the works to connect Nine Elms to Pimlico and I’m delighted to learn the “Garden Bridge” is an expensive idea that will not happen.  London is just fine without a garden on the Thames.

Only since 2012 and the Summer Olympic Games some of the bridges have been lit with colour.  At first, the illuminated hues were appalling to my eyes; now the coloured bridges tend to be Disney-fied versions of their former selves.  London, you’re trying to be something you’re not!  I say let the bridges “speak for themselves.”

Anyone of the bridges is a super place to explore with your camera as there are so many images that can be captured.  If I could give one bit of advice for someone who asks, “where is the ideal place to photograph London,” my answer would be – choose a bridge or a few.  Spend a lot of time on each one.  Click away.  I especially love the glow of the city at night.  As a photographer myself, I can think of no better bridge than Waterloo Bridge, which connects the West End to the Southbank.  

From Waterloo Bridge, you’ll have incredible views of the London Eye, Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, Big Ben, Palace of Westminster, Golden Jubilee Bridges, the Royal National Theatre, St Paul’s Cathedral, and of course, the City of London.  Quite honestly, you could spend a couple hours on the bridge if you’re a photographer.  If you are only wanting to soak in London’s spectacular sights, Waterloo Bridge should be on your list of things to do.

I’ve spent many an hour on and under so many bridges in London, from west to east.  I know them and know them well, though one bridge is blatantly missing.  Do you know which bridge?

Have a look at the video above which includes London’s bridges from Albert Bridge to Tower Bridge and almost everything in between.  Find your favourite and then go explore London via the Thames.

Included below are a few of my favourite images of the bridges in London:

 

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The last of my favourite London bridges, though this is not to say there are no other beautiful bridges in London.  There are, and I will explore these later down the river, as it were. 

Tower Bridge is iconic, and I would venture to say the most photographed bridge in London, day or night.  No visit to London is complete without Tower Bridge on your list of things to do.   If you are into London Night Photography, be sure to add this bridge to your must photograph list.    The views looking westward are indeed brilliant with City Hall, More London Estate, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, the City of London, and last but certainly not least – The Tower of London, in full view.

More than this, there are fantastic spots to photograph Tower Bridge itself.  Walk around City Hall, and the More London Estates.  There are numerous opportunities for various perspectives.  Also, try Butler’s Wharf area by the old Design Museum location and St Katherine’s Docks on the opposite side of the River Thames.  Also, the far north end of the Tower of London (down the steps) is a nice area as well.  The north side of Tower Bridge is in full view and you can also include the Tower of London in your photo.

Do plan to spend some time here, and take your time.  The distances from one area to the other are not terribly far, but a hike. Additionally, plan to step up, and step down, as there are a few staircases you will need to negotiate.  Needless to say, walking from one place to another to capture every possible perspective of the bridge is a good workout.  If you’re carrying heavy camera equipment like I do, the workout is even better.

If you would like to see the drawbridge in action during the day, it is entirely possible.  Try your luck, or to be sure, have a look at the Tower Bridge Exhibition website for the timetable.    

Visiting London’s bridges is a splendid way to explore the city and to be rewarded with unique views.  Throughout this London travel blog, I include Chelsea Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Golden Jubilee Bridges, Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, London Bridge, and the Millennium Bridge.  Not including Cannon Street rail bridge, can you name the two bridges in Central London I’ve omitted?  Albert Bridge is indeed missing, but coming soon, so don’t include this as one of the two I’ve missed.

Below are a few photos of Tower Bridge and the views around the area.

For visitors, this is the place to descend upon or meet your friends.  It is a familiar place with much activity throughout the day and night.   For Londoners, Piccadilly Circus is an area to avoid.  

The layout of Piccadilly has changed drastically over the years as the city becomes more pedestrian friendly.   The vibe remains as vibrant as ever between the flashing lights of the advert board, never-ending traffic and loud voices between bits of laughter.  

After a serious look and a quick think, there isn’t much in Piccadilly Circus except a statue that was once a fountain and a massive advertising sign.   Piccadilly is the gateway to Theatreland and Soho.  It is also is a gate to Leicester Square.  There really isn’t much more to the area except Piccadilly Circus is a point where hoards of tourists congregate.  I would suggest that today it is a grand meeting point, an overcrowded place to have your lunch and appear in a hundred photographs all at once. A place to revel in the excitement and bewilderment of tourists just passing through on their way to somewhere, anywhere else.

Often I will be out with my camera into the wee hours or awake in the wee hours.  During these way off-peak hours, Piccadilly Circus is deserted.  Seeing a moving car is even rare.  The lights still flash as if to entertain the crowds though there is no one to be entertained.  This is a definite must stop if you looking for a good place to photograph London.

It is the quiet time’s everything seems a bit surreal in London.  To have one of the most populated cities in the world all to myself is odd, but odd in a good way.  It’s during this time my love for London grows beyond measure.

Did you know the Statue of Eros really isn’t Eros?  The official name of the centrepiece is the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, named after the great Victorian philanthropist Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. It was financed by public subscription, which is clearly a testament to his charitable work.  The Statue of Eros isn’t actually a Statue of Eros. As mentioned, the Earl of Shaftesbury was more of a humanitarian than a lothario so in that context it may not surprise you to know that the statue represents Anteros, the god of selfless and mature love, not his twin brother Eros, the god of frivolous and romantic love. It was the first London statue to be cast in aluminium.  And there you have it – an interesting fact about Piccadilly Circus you probably didn’t know.

Included below are a few of my favourite Piccadilly Circus images ::

LONDON AT NIGHT

Destination : London

This post is when and where I talk about laundry.
If it weren’t for my laundry and walking to Pimlico Launderette, I wouldn’t have a reason to walk along Ebury Bridge Road even though it’s near where I live.

The first time I viewed this scene I stopped and watched in awe.  No doubt my eyes opened super wide.  There she was.  A derelict Battersea Power Station standing in the background of a myriad of rail tracks.  The constant flow of trains arriving at and from Victoria Station simply add to a classic London scene.  The trains are modern but this scene could easily be one from the early 1900’s.  

I rushed to the launderette, dropped off my laundry, then rushed to Ebury Street to pick up my camera before returning to this very spot.  I didn’t want to budge away from it.  

Both trains and Battersea Power Station are fascinations of mine.  Now the two married and I couldn’t get enough.  From that day until the major redevelopment of the Battersea began this was my favourite view with my camera.  No telling how many photographs of mine there are from this very spot – both day and night.  There’s no doubt there are hundreds of images from this view at Ebury Bridge Road.

Today, Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms are undergoing a major, major facelift.  I’m pleased to know the power station will remain for many years to come.  For me, it’s a symbol of London and her early might and a time none of us should forget.  The development around the area I’m not too fond of.  What’s happening is very much “out with the old and in with the new” sweeping away locals and bringing in homogeny.  This sort of gentrification is taking place all over London and I’m unsure this is a good thing in the long run.  For a world that is preaching diversity, we are being served a homogenous life.

To arrive at this destination, travel to Victoria Station Underground.  When you leave the station, make your way to Buckingham Palace Road, which is on the north side.  When you are on Buckingham Palace Road walk westward (away from Buckingham Palace).  Victoria Station will be direct to your left.  There are three cross streets you will encounter.  At the third cross street (and traffic light) turn left.  Cross over using the pedestrian crossing which is at the traffic light.  After you’ve crossed the road, keep left and walk a few hundred yards – you’ll be walking up a slight hill.  You’ll soon reach the spot where you will have the view in the video.  I’ve also included a couple of photographs that include the view from Ebury Bridge Road.  The photos are below.

Map Showing Ebury Bridge Road Location

Destination:  London

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The fun of exploring London is winding through the many curved streets and narrow alleys.  There is a bit of mystery and suspense, especially at night.  By the way, GoPro is not that great to use at night.  In fact, GoPro is horrible in low light situations.

Without giving away future London destinations, I will simply say there are many alleys throughout the city I will share in the future.  From Brydges  Place off St Martin’s Lane (shown in the video in this post) to The City of London to Mayfair, Fleet Street, St James’s,  Bishopsgate, the top of Tottenham Court Road, and more, there are areas that will take you from 2019 back to Dickens’ days.

The key is to let the imagination run wild.  Be bold near dusk then meander through London’s alleys during the night.  The narrow passages will make you feel confined with nowhere to go.  The visual lines created by the layers of bricks add an illusionary tension during your stroll.  
But, don’t stroll.  Walk fast.  

Who is at the end?  Whose shadow is on the pavement?  Is there anyone besides you in the alley?  The glaring light at the end of the alley is a wee bit blinding, if not also mesmerising.  The narrow passage coupled with your fast movement gives a sense of mystery.  Is anyone lurking behind you?  How can you escape?  Can you escape?    I love London for this very fact.

The video included in this post shows what it’s like to walk through a darkened London alley at night.  Check back soon as I will include an entire tour of interesting alleys throughout the city. 

If you’re visiting London for the first time, explore any one of London’s alleys.  Streets in London are narrow.  They were never meant to accommodate modern day traffic.  The narrow alleys are a reminder of London’s past and well worth discovering.

Destination:  London

London is like Disneyland for photographers, especially night photographers.  

Almost 60% of the population leaves London after working hours making the city all the more easy to navigate, and photograph. Additionally, if you use a tripod, (which I don’t) you can set it up without being in the way of other Londoners.  Londoners are not so patient when their passageways are blocked.

It is safe to say London night photography has made me an eternal night owl!  I was not always this way.  I used to be a 9 o’clock sleepy time kind of guy.  

I have spent years, months, and numerous hours capturing London with my camera for an upcoming book. I know the city well.   To help you in your own quest to find the best places to photograph London at night, I have compiled the list below.  In later posts, I will expand on what you’ll find at each stop.

20 Best Places to Photograph London
(In No Particular Order)
Piccadilly Circus 
Streets of Soho
Covent Garden
Trafalgar Square
Parliament Square
Westminster Bridge
Victoria Embankment
Albert Embankment
Golden Jubilee Bridges
Southbank / The Queen’s Walk
Waterloo Bridge
The Shard
London Bridge
Old Billingsgate
City Hall / More London Area
Tower Bridge
Greenwich
Primrose Hill
Square Mile – The City of London
Hyde Park Corner

London is not short of photo opportunities so the list could go on.  The one issue I notice with visitors to London is they try to do and see everything in one short trip.  This is not possible because London offers so much in one small area.  It’s true.  My best suggestion is to make a list of the things you want to see and do, then take each day as it comes.

Also, make a list of what you want to photograph.  As I’ve photographed the city, I categorised London into areas – east, west, Soho, Westminster, etc…  In each category, there are numerous sights I wanted to capture.  By making such a list, the task of photographing London becomes manageable and you’ll end up with images you’ll love.  You don’t need to rush.  You can take your time and explore interesting perspectives.  The list works.  In fact, I still use the method because I’m not finished photographing London, nor do I think I will ever be finished.

Where are your favourite places to photograph London?

Below is a gallery of my favourite London night photos.

A video with the familiar sights and sounds of a journey on the London Underground.  This ride takes you from St James’s Park to Victoria on a District Line train.

There are many sounds you could remember from using the Underground.  Who can forget the infamous “Mind the Gap?”  There is also the announcement declaring the next stop, which in this case is Victoria Station.  There is also a whizzing sound when the train gains speed after leaving a platform or the screeching metal on metal sound when trains negotiate a curve.  On the sounds of travel page, you can listen and download the sound of the London Underground.

Years ago I rode the London Underground exclusively for anywhere I’d go in the city, yet when I hit the pavement above ground, I couldn’t navigate without a map.  I’d be on the streets clueless about direction.  The Underground might be convenient, except it doesn’t teach you London’s Point A to Point B to Point C.

When I began my London photography book project in earnest, there was no choice but to walk above ground.  Only then did I put London’s boroughs into directional perspective.  Moving around by foot made perfect sense and I learned how one area connected to another.  I may not know the street names because I navigate by landmarks.

Today, I can walk around the city with ease and – AND – take the shortcuts when necessary.  The map is now etched in my mind.  I know London better than most Londoners.  It really is liberating to know London.  As much fun as riding a tube train might be, try to limit your use of it and see if you, too, can learn to explore London by foot.

Funny how a ride on the London Underground led me to this post.  I appreciate the engineering marvel deep below London, but it doesn’t help when you really want to know how to get around.

Included below are images are taken from inside a London Underground train (old and new)  ::

 

 

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More London Riverside is great fun to explore with your camera.  You’ll find plenty of photo opportunities if you love modern glass architecture and pavement.  Situated on the River Thames with Tower Bridge in full unobstructed view, More London will keep you busy with your camera for hours.  The Tower of London, The City of London and H.M.S. Belfast are in full view offering you even more ways to capture this great city.  Is More London Riverside one of the best places to photograph London?  Oh, absolutely.

More London also named London Bridge City, is a privately owned development on the south bank of the River Thames, immediately south-west of Tower Bridge in London.  The southern exit is on Tooley Street.

It includes the City Hall, a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, office blocks, shops, restaurants, cafes, and a pedestrianized area containing open-air sculptures and water features, including fountains lit by coloured lights. The Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel opened in September 2006.

More London is 13 acres (53,000 m2) in size and has planning consent for 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) of mixed-use space, of which up to two million square feet will be offices, accommodating up to 20,000 people. The buildings were designed by Foster and Partners architects and some are still under construction.

Where is More London Riverside?  How do I get to More London Riverside?
More London Riverside GPS Coordinates ::  51.5056821, -0.0832896