London is a frenetic city, so for those of us that need to seek out a little time with our thoughts and not have to wear headphones then the place to be is down by the river. The Thames, despite what people may think is actually quite clean now and it also has some wonderful quiet little places along its banks that a person in need can retreat to.
Just South of the heart of London across from The Embankment tube station and Charing Cross Rail Station you can cross the river and walk along for about ten to fifteen minutes, past the Royal Festival hall, past the skateboarders under the Hayward, past the booksellers and the BFI and The National Theatre, slow down your pace and where the path widens, walk nearer to the riverside and if the tide is out, you will be able to look down onto the shingle. Just before you reach Gabriels Wharf, you will find a gate and some steps down onto the sand. This is your access to freedom from the treadmill, the manic life that Londoners and it’s visitors have to lead, here you will find a little bit of calm.
If the tide is all the way out, you may well find some interesting things along the sand line, if you just want to sit, then pull up a metro paper as a seat and lean back against the wall and close your eyes and listen to the sound of the water as boats go past, creating small waves to lap against the shoreline. It is a wonderful place to sit and watch the sun go down, the sunlight falling on the buildings and St. Paul’s is perfect for shooting with any camera. Sometimes during the summer you may well find that the beach has an interesting sculpture or two created from sand, these go far beyond the usual sandcastle you may find. There is also the possibility that you will not be alone enjoying the beach…but then who doesn’t enjoy a little party?
Cafés are close enough to get ice cream, snacks, or hot drinks to take down there with you and there are also toilets nearby in Gabriels Wharf at the back on the left.