England Grand Tour (2021): Day 11: South Bank to East End

Bank Holiday Monday got underway with another complimentary breakfast, thanks to Bruce’s status with Hilton. This time, we both decided on a lighter, more continental approach to the first meal of the day. A little later, we walked to Holland Park tube station in brilliant morning sunshine, and travelled to London Bridge via the Central and Jubilee lines. From there we walked eastwards along the South Bank, past familiar sights such as HMS Belfast and City Hall, while across the Thames we could see the buildings of the ‘Square Mile’ and the Tower of London, all enhanced by superb weather.

We crossed Tower Bridge – something we’ve both done countless times – and on this occasion, pressed on into the East End. Our first port of call there was Old Spitalfields Market. There has been market activity on this site since the 17th century, and from 1920 to 1991 it operated as a wholesale fruit & veg market. These activities then moved to New Spitalfields Market in Leyton, leaving the original site available to relaunch as a popular, mixed-use retail market. After having a good look, we pressed on northwards to BOXPARK Shoreditch, which made an extremely popular venue for lunch.

Even after a satisfying lunch, the accent remained firmly on food: we headed towards Liverpool Street Station and found the new London branch of Italian food and drink retailer Eataly. This proved to be a fascinating place to look around, and we managed to get some good photos without annoying people. After our visit, we were ideally positioned to return to base directly on the Central Line.

Later, after a chance to rest, we made a horrendous two-bus journey to Vauxhall: both segments were very slow due to heavy traffic, and both vehicles were full of anti-maskers. On arrival, however, all anxieties dissipated as we enjoyed relaxing drinks outdoors in front of Above the Stag, a small but very popular LGBT theatre. This was followed by a somewhat disappointing dinner of Korean Ramen just around the corner, followed by a delightfully easy journey back to base on the Victoria and Central lines.