Sunday, 17 August 2014

Riverside Trail - Books About Town and Southbank Festival of Love

Erbie and I jumped on a bus down to London Bridge midweek in search of the Books About Town benches on the Riverside Trail. Books About Town runs from 2 July until 15 September all over London. There are 50 benches by local artists and famous names to celebrate London’s literary heritage. As Erbie and I had enjoyed searching out the elephants on The Elephant Parade back in 2010, (see older posts) we thought we’d try and find the books too. There are 4 trails with maps on the website Greenwich Trail, Bloomsbury Trail, City Trail and Riverside Trail down by City Hall.
Here are some views from the bus!

Deckchairs in Finsbury Park for city workers
Scaffold tree 
At London Bridge station you are directly under The Shard which has 360 viewing galleries, at a price, having just been to the viewing galleries in Centre Point for FREE we weren’t up for doing this today. Still it is an impressive London landmark.

The Shard in the clouds
A different view of The Shard
 And so down to the river, we walked along towards Tower Bridge past Hays Galleria.
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Detail of The Navigators, 1987 sculpture by David Kemp
The Navigators, 1987 sculpture by David Kemp
There is plenty to see and do beside the Thames before we even get to the book benches, such as HMS Belfast, which has an interesting looking roof bar above the entrance.
Her Majesty’s Service Belfast
Upper Deck bar at HMS Belfast

Cormorant at low tide on the Thames
And the river always has great views for me anyway, Here is HMS Belfast with the Gherkin and Tower 55 in the back ground and then the other direction is Tower Bridge. We continued along The Queen's Walk up to the Tower of London to find the book benches around City Hall.

HMS Belfast with The Gherkin

Tower Bridge

Building near City Hall

City Hall sculpture

City Hall

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Riverside restaurant
We walked up to the Design Museum as I also can’t resist a museum shop, and to see Eduardo Paolozzi’s Head of Invention sculpture just in front (he also did the mosaic walls at Tottenham Court Road next time you’re there have a closer look and of course the 1995 Newton sculpture in the Courtyard of the new British Library at Kings Cross).

Eduardo Paolozzi’s Head of Invention outside The Design Museum

Eduardo Paolozzi - Head of Invention
I liked this clever window design for an opticians on Maguire Street.

Eye Test window

City Hall on the Thames
And so back to City Hall and the book search begins in Earnest, I have to say Erbie spotted them all before me. First we found Alex Scheffler’s bench for Julia Donaldson, she of Gruffalo fame and many more besides. I’ve just ordered The Scarecrow’s Wedding for Erbie’s birthday.

The Scarecrows Wedding Book Bench

Book bench #1
Room on the Broom

Stick Man and the Mouse
Bench #2 Clarice Bean by Lauren Child

Lauren Child book bench

Bench #3 - Dr Seuss, this is a lovely one.

The Cat in the Hat

Dr Seuss book bench, City Hall

Dr Seuss book bench, City Hall
 Lewis Carroll - Through the Looking Glass book bench #4

Through the Looking Glass book bench

Count the chess pieces
 How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell - Book bench #5

Detail from Dragon bench

Around London now there are also several ping pong tables, here's one near City Hall and a rather nice tree sculpture titled Evergreen by David Batchelor 2003, I've also spotted them in City Hall, have you seen them anywhere else. Erbie and I chased the ping pong ball around on the floor for a while. 

Central London ping pong and tree sculpture
Information can be found in unexpected places in London!
 Book bench #6 The Librarian from Discworld by Terry Pratchett.

The Librarian

Detail from the Librarian book bench
We jumped on a Thames clipper and boated down to The London Eye to save our legs. 

View whilst disembarking the Thames Clipper.

Under The Eye

The London Eye
And so to the Southbank for the Festival of Love which runs throughout August with pop up restaurants, exhibitions, a beach, slides, fountains and gardens to explore. 


Erbie didn't want to go on this ride, doh, but happily agreed to the carousel.

New ride
Old ride
Carousel at the Southbank London 
Erbie in a Dragon Car, not tall enough yet to ride a horse.
 Festival of Love southbank, the festival is based on seven kinds of love using words from the Ancient Greeks.

Philautia: Self-respect. Agape: The love of humanity. Eros: Romantic and erotic love. Storge: Family love. Ludus: Flirting, playful affection. Pragma: Love which endures and Philia: Shared experience.

Here we have the Sliding Gate to represent the ups and downs of family life, I watched the ups and downs of Erbie for an age.

Family slide Southbank

Family slide Southbank 
We went through the tunnel of love to find the The queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden which was looking a little jaded after the recent heatwave.
Temple of Agape
Here are some views from the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof gardens.

View down to the beach
Queen Elizabeth Hall roof garden
View from roof garden 

Windows in the cafe
Next time we'll take a bucket and spade.

Life's a beach
Follow the yellow staircase up to reach the roof garden and cafe above Queen Elizabeth Hall. If you have a skateboard fanatic in your family one of the few remaining skate parks in London is just below. 
Yellow staircase
Festival Pier, now at high tide which certainly comes in quickly on the Thames. Only a couple of hours earlier we could see the shoreline! We walked back across Waterloo Bridge and up to Trafalgar Square, just a short walk away as the crow flies. We noticed one of the bridge outposts is being used as a skateboard grave.

Festival pier, high tide
Skateboard graveyard on Waterloo Bridges 2014

All photos by me on my Blackberry - #SHodgkinson2014

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