urban75 blog

An early Christmas London walk – baubles, gas lamps, ice rink, South Bank and ICA art launch

December is still several days away, but the Christmas frenzy is already in full flow around central London, as the shop tills start to ring out their seasonal fanfare.

The length of Oxford Street was exceedingly quick to get the festive makeover, with these illuminated baubles already in place by the middle of October. I rather like them.

In the Getty Gallery in Eastcastle Street (just off Oxford Circus), there’s an excellent exhibition celebrating the work of rock photographer, Michael Putland.

Entitled, “A Life in Music 50 Years on the Road,” there’s some wonderful images to be seen, including striking photos of Bowie, Jagger, Springsteen, The Who and the Clash. The exhibition runs until the 29th November, so you’ll have to look sharp.

Alms box, Soho Square, W1.

The rather tasteful Seven Dials decorations.

Gas lamp, Covent Garden.

Telephone boxes and Christmas lights, Covent Garden.

Rainy street, Covent Garden.

Gas lamp outside St Paul’s Church, also commonly known as the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden.

Designed by Inigo Jones as part of a commission by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, it first opened its doors in 1631.

Impressively large Christmas tree at the west end of Covent Garden.

Mahoosive baubles inside.

Street traders on the southern flank of Covent Garden.

Model of a bus decorated as a beefeater outside the London Transport Museum.

Flamboyantly large illuminated reindeer.

This recently refurbished cafe certainly makes the most of the building’s association with the great Victorian author.

Somerset House, off the Strand, hosts a large ice rink in its courtyard every year.

With the rain pelting down, the outdoor dining area was deserted.

I walked across Waterloo Bridge and headed down to the South Bank.

Umbrella held up against the evening drizzle, South Bank.

A lone browser checks out the secondhand book market under Waterloo Bridge.

Skateboard park on the South Bank.

Earlier this year, campaigners successfully fought off a campaign to move the skate park upriver.

The delightfully over the top Christmas Tree Cafe outside Southbank Centre.

Running until Friday 26th November is the World Press Photo of the Year 2014 exhibition. There’s some stunning work there, although some of the war scenes are quite disturbing.

Empty Clore Ballroom. I had a fantastic time here four years ago at the Duckie party.

Break dancers rehearse downstairs.

Full on festive sales by the River Thames.


The final stop was at the ICA galleries for the private view of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition.

There was some interesting work on show, but the place was far too rammed to really take it in.

This year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition will remain open until 15th January 2015.