There is a fairly new eleven story office building on Cheapside called One New Change that has an observation deck on the top floor (along with a restaurant and bar). Though it wasn’t the clearest day, we thought we’d still have a good view of parts of the city. We took the Tube to St. Paul’s and One New Change is just a few blocks walk from the Tube stop. It is a mixed use retail/office building with some high end retail on the lower floors and when you take the elevator up to the top, you get a view of it’s neighbor, St. Paul’s Cathedral, which sits imposingly directly across from it. Even though the observation deck is on the eleventh floor, St. Paul’s still towers over you as you look across to the river.
The present Cathedral, the masterpiece of Britain’s most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, is at least the fourth to have stood on the site. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and services began in 1697. This was the first Cathedral to be built after the English Reformation in the sixteenth-century, when Henry VIII removed the Church of England from the jurisdiction of the Pope and the Crown took control of the life of the church.
The view of St. Paul’s across from us was taken at the level of the observation deck, so you can see how much taller the cathedral is than the office building. Though it may look cold, it was in the low 60’s, but it was a bit windy. We were there midday and it was free and not crowded, though I imagine on a weekend evening, that would not be the case. The restaurant hostess looked cold and lonely. When One New Change was built, the major construction concern was that it not damage or endanger the relatively shallow foundations of the cathedral. In 1935 an Act of Parliament was passed to control works within a prescribed area, known as St Paul’s Depths, to protect St Paul’s Cathedral from further damage.
From One New Change we headed out to explore Borough Market. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century. The present buildings were built in the 1850s. A market that originally adjoined the end of London Bridge was first mentioned in 1276, although the market itself claims to have existed since 1014 and probably much earlier and was subsequently moved south of St Margaret’s church on the High Street. The City of London received a royal charter from Edward VI in 1550 to control all markets in Southwark. However, the market caused such traffic congestion that, in 1754, it was abolished by an Act of Parliament.
There’s such diversity in the food offerings here with raw as well as prepared foods, local and from around the world. I couldn’t tell that there was a particular form of organization when it came to what kind of food was located where. Maybe that’s an advantage, it encourages you to explore.
There was a stand preparing huge dishes of pallela next to a fish monger and across from that, a green grocer.
While it was well after 1pm, it was really crowded with shoppers and anywhere and everywhere you could sit or stand, there were people eating. There are some sit down casual dining restaurants as well as a pub.
We retraced our route a bit and headed over to near Southbank to have lunch ourselves at one of our favorites, Ned’s Noodle Bar. We’ve been coming here for over 20 years. Nothing fancy, but excellent food.
One last stop for the day was Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly Street. While famous for their afternoon tea, we were simply shopping. They’ve already started decorating for Christmas (their main display windows are not yet ready) and though it is Thursday in late October 2021, the store was busy with people shopping for Christmas.
Yeah! We both received our French “Pass Sanitaire”- necessary to be able to eat in restaurants or bars in France. It only took a month.