Great day out: View from the Shard

We had an interesting day out in London yesterday. We have been ploughing our way through Mr Shoestring’s birthday vouchers before they expire!

One of them was a Virgin Experience with a trip up the Shard, London’s tallest building, in case you didn’t know, and afternoon tea for tea at Brasserie Blanc near Tower Bridge.

Three afternoon teas in a row gave me a good comparison point, so I shall start there. They were all very good. However, I was a little disappointed with the sandwiches  at Brasserie Blanc. They looked very fancy, with the ‘filling’ presented on top rather than in the sandwich. This meant you tasted the bread and butter more than the combination of ingredients oddly. I want my sandwich fillings in my sandwiches please, Monsieur Blanc!

The fillings were themselves a little odd for my taste, although Mr S really liked them. The smoked salmon was good, as was the Parma ham. However,  slices of golden beetroot on one and cucumber and tomato on the other made me feel I had the garnish but not the ‘meat’. There was not much flavour or excitement in either.

Other than that, it was a lovely tea, with an excellent selection of sweets and cakes and a nice glass of sparkling wine.

 Crumbs of comfort

As with the other two teas, we couldn’t eat all of the cakes and took some home. Brasserie Blanc seemed to have no boxes and they gave us them in a plastic bag, which meant after the afternoon in London they looked like this…. it’s a small detail that made all the difference!

The best one by a mile was at Greyfriars in Colchester. Everything was perfect, from the food, the decor and the service. Plus we took our extra cakes home in a sensible box!

The Shard was interesting but scary. So high, I could feel it vibrating! It was busy too. We were lucky with the weather and the views of the city were excellent, but I wouldn’t rush back. I prefer to keep my feet on the ground! With hindsight I would have preferred to pre-book the Shard directly and had some street food rather than going for the afternoon tea.

One of the best parts of the day was walking from Liverpool Street to the old Spitalfields Market. This is a really interesting and diverse market, full of lovely clothes, artisan products, food, cards, books and jewellery. It would be lovely for Christmas shopping and didn’t seem overly expensive.

We also came across a street festival in Bermondsey, which was bustling with people and music. I love these kind of community events.

We walked our little feet off and were glad to get back on the train home. We booked the tickets in advance with Greater Anglia. The cheapest way was to purchase them was as a single each way rather than a return.  It was only £10 each way from Colchester to London.

If you like heights it is worth adding the Shard to your bucket list. If you go, pop into Spitalfields on the way for lunch!

4 thoughts on “Great day out: View from the Shard

  1. What a wonderful day you will have had, Jane, but oh, the Shard! I’m not good with heights! Way back in 1967, when we spent a week in London, staying with friends, we went up the then Post Office Tower (not sure what they call it now) and that was bad enough! I like the views but not the feeling of being up high, and a building swaying in the breeze. Of course they have to have a bit of ‘give’ in them, otherwise they’d snap, but the feeling is awful. We have been on the Big Wheel in Torquay (now dismantled for another season), and I was fine in that, but husband wasn’t to keen!
    It’s good to compare afternoon teas. Wherever we have had afternoon tea there has always been just one little niggle, on one seems to get it perfect (except me of course, ha ha!) Either the bread it too dry, or they are over-filled so the filling squelches out as you bite, or the scones are simply far too large so you’ve no room left for the cakes or pastries. But all these teas looked good, Jane, although like you, I prefer sandwiches to be sandwiches and not things parked on top of a slice of bread.
    Margaret P

  2. I’ve never felt the Shard vibrating! Was it particularly windy?
    As a Londoner I’ve been able to get a special unlimited access annual pass for the last 2 years for just £20 – a bargain when you think that just one visit costs more than that!
    So whenever I have time to kill, I pop in. Standing on the upper, open top level during a minor thunderstorm was an amazing experience, as was sunset on the winter solstice last year!!

    Last month I was annoyed to see they’ve bunged a shop counter right across the south facing windows! The whole point of going up is to look out of the windows. I don’t know why they moved it – it was against the internal wall previously, and hopefully is only there temporarily!

    Did you check out the loos with a view? 😀 Very surreal! Just hope the Walkie-Talkie employees don’t have any telescopes trained on the 68th floor! 😀

    DD ate at the Shard with her boyfriend’s family for his birthday a couple of months ago (she also had the pass last year) and was unimpressed with the food, and even less impressed with the cost!! They paid for 4 of them what we paid for 11 guests at a swish local Indian restaurant for her 18th a couple of weeks ago – and we had leftovers for the next day! 😀

    • Julia, I think it was me. I seem to be super sensitive. It wasn’t that windy! Just not my thing as I am a coward

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