South Bank, Tate Modern, & County Hall

We returned from our trip to the Cotswolds for another couple days of exploring in London.

My horrible cold had reared its ugly head again overnight, and I awoke feeling groggy and queasy. We had reservations for breakfast at Dishoom and went ahead with the plan, but I had an appetite only for a small bowl of porridge, although it was quite good. Mr. Chuckles ordered the chili cheese toast which he reported was excellent.

We rested for a couple hours back at the hotel and fortunately I started to feel better by around noon. I was able to muster up the energy to go for a walk across Westminster Bridge to see if we could view any of the Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where she would Lie in State for the next four days.

By now, major crowds had descended in the Westminster area. We were at least able to see some street art in Graffiti Tunnel near Waterloo Station and take a nice walk along the Westminster Bridge which had been closed to traffic, but other than that couldn’t find anywhere to get a view of the procession.

We weren’t about to fight through crowds to catch a glimpse of a coffin, so we turned around to cross Jubilee Bridge back toward the south bank. Along the way, we got a good view of the London Eye, which we had decided not to ride on this trip.

Appreciating art at Tate Modern

We stopped for a snack break at Snog for frozen yogurt and then went over to the Tate Modern. This gallery houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of international modern and contemporary art, one of the largest modern art museums in the world. As with most other national galleries and museums in the UK, admission is free and it’s a fun place to spend a few hours walking around.

Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall

We went back to our hotel for dinner at The Hoxtonโ€™s rooftop restaurant Seabird, and made use of my Amex Hotel Collections credit for a yummy meal of oysters, jamon croquettes, dressed crab, heritage tomato salad, and patatas bravas.

Then we were on our way to see Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall. Based on a short story by Agatha Christie, this play has been in production in London since 1953 when it opened at the Winter Garden Theatre. In 2017, the new production at County Hall started, with the play staged within a real courtroom.

Walking through Southwark on the way to County Hall.
County Hall.

The plot is centred around a court case when a young man is charged with the murder of a wealthy older woman. We got seats in the galleries which were a cramped fit, although the view was still good even in the back rows. For a higher price, you can sit right in the courtroom stalls and there are VIP seats on the jury bench where you participate in an interactive component of the play. There is a crazy twist ending that I won’t spoil for you, but suffice it to say that the show was very entertaining.

As we exited County Hall at around 10 pm, we saw a massive queue that had formed along the street. This was the line leading up to Westminster Hall for people to pay their respects to the Queen during her Lying in State. In the following days, we would see this line snake over 4 kilometres all the way to the Tower of London, with reported wait times of nearly 20 hours! That is some true devotion to the Monarch.

We certainly were not interested in participating in this so we weaved our way past the crowd toward our hotel. The next day would be our final one in London, with a few more items to check off our bucket list.