Day 14

Today I planned to go to Angel and continue where Day 13 ended but the Northern Line had its own plans. What a clever, clever Northern Line. It knew just what I needed.

St. Pancras Station

Twice upon a time, in the same pub (two years apart), I met a stonemason who was working on the gargoyles of St. Pancras station. Learning about the outer workings of this building made me feel that much closer to it. Since moving here, it has maintained its place in my top three favourite buildings in London. Stand in front of it for a minute and you won’t have any reason to wonder why.

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Please note the PERFECT blue sky behind this stunning building. Yep. It was that kind of a day – in late November! We have had the most perfect autumn I could ever ask for. I can’t remember a time I was so satisfied with a season.

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King’s Cross Station

Harry Potter fans, I really hate to break it to you but you probably looked at that building above and thought it was King’s Cross Station.

Yeah, no.

They lied.

Can’t blame them though really, can you? When you see St. Pancras and King’s Cross side by side it’s plain to see which is more cinematically and aesthetically pleasing. So much so that a year ago I wouldn’t have taken a minute to mention King’s Cross really. Its street-appeal was pretty lacking.

Not any more!

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Take a gander at the new King’s Cross forecourt. There is SO much more room for travellers and pedestrians to enjoy this fantastic space. Oh yeah, and there’s no more big, plastic extension covering up the great view into the arches of the station.

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I’m a huge fan of this space. I particularly love how they’ve added seating options so you can hangout outside. On a day like today, there’s nothing better I can think of doing than basking in the warm sun while people-watching.

St. George’s Garden

The best secret I discovered today has to be St. George’s Gardens. It was one of those perfect London experiences: you’re walking down the street, heading to one place when you just happen to notice a small walkway off to your left…you catch a tiny glimpse of green…there’s no one else around…and as an explorer, you have no choice but to follow your curiosity until that teeny patch of grass reveals itself to be this.

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A massive, hidden park that also happens to be a cemetery. Perfection. Does it get any more London?

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I kind of love cemeteries. Growing up, they freaked me out but not in the spooky, ghosty way. I just hate the thought of being in a box under the ground (even worse above ground like these ones where you’ll never even get eaten by worms and redistributed), and it always felt so disrespectful to walk on dead people so I was always overly conscious of where I stepped.

In London, you have to get over that because you’re walking on dead people all day long.

Now I love cemeteries. I go for runs in the one by my house (no better way to feel alive). I find them incredibly peaceful and comforting. Just so long as I don’t end up in one. Ever.

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This grave caught my eye for obvious reasons. St. George’s claims to be the first cemetery with a recorded body snatching. Considering that was nearly 300 years ago, it’s highly unlikely that scenario explains the state of this tomb.

There’s only one other possible explanation then.

The zombies are here.

Victorian Transvestites

St. George’s is one of several intriguing spaces in this neighbourhood.

Just next door is Regent Square, home of Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park – aka Lady Stella Clinton and Miss Fanny Winifred Park.

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According to the square’s board, the pair were arrested in 1870 outside of the Strand Theatre for being seen dressed as women while winking and smiling at the men in the stalls during the show. At the trial, they dressed in outrageous getups, Lady Stella sporting a cherry coloured silk evening dress with white lace. As you’d hope, they were acquitted to huge cheers from the public galleries, Lady Stella waving to her adoring admirers in the stands while Miss Park wipes a grateful and heartfelt tear from her eye onto her perfectly manicured hand (this last part may or may not be my interpretation of the events). What I wouldn’t give to be there for that one.

On the other side of St. George’s lies Brunswick Square Gardens, the newest addition to my garden-visiting rota. It’s got heaps of space, gorgeous trees and plenty of seats for afternoon sun basking.

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The garden is also the home of this incredible tree which is listed as a Great Tree of London. I had no idea such a thing existed but there’s a whole list of Great Trees around the city. Much like the protected views of St. Paul’s, I now feel like another challenge lurks in my future.

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While it was a remarkably sunny day, it was still borderline freezing. I hopped from sun patch to sun patch, attempting to thaw my hands out. Somehow, I think this couple snatched the best sunny spot of all though.

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Just around the corner from Brunswick Square Gardens, along the north end of the Brunswick shopping centre is the Marchmont Community Gardens which feels uncannily like the High Line in New York City (only about 1/1,000th of its length). 

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For a small space it had a great assortment of colour and plant life. It’s times like these I can see why Canadians love their red maple leaves. Such a great colour!

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Meanwhile, inside the mall, you might just be lucky enough to experience the unmistakable aroma of Christmas in this fabulous market.

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Until Next Time

Well, that’s about it for today. I had a great time wandering around this neighbourhood and hunting out its hidden spots. Very glad indeed that the Northern line spoiled my plans for today’s walk.

See you next time!

You can find the map for today’s 7.38 mile walk here.

178 days until the Congestion Zone Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.


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